In A Potter's Workbook, renowned studio potter and teacher Clary Illian presents a textbook for the hand and the mind. Her aim is to provide a way to see, to make, and to think about the forms of wheel-thrown vessels; her information and inspiration explain both the mechanics of throwing and finishing pots made simply on the wheel and the principles of truth and beauty arising from that traditional method.

Each chapter begins with a series of exercises that introduce the principles of good form and good forming for pitchers, bowls, cylinders, lids, handles, and every other conceivable functional shape. Focusing on utilitarian pottery created on the wheel, Illian explores sound, lively, and economically produced pottery forms that combine an invitation to mindful appreciation with ease of use. Charles Metzger's striking photographs, taken under ideal studio conditions, perfectly complement her vigorous text.

“No other book has the specific focus of this one. Clary Illian addresses what are perhaps the most difficult and probably the most important aspects of pottery making: the questions of shape, structure, form, and forming. The practical exercises are particularly valuable, as are the discussions of learning to see as well as to make.”—Val Cushing, professor emeritus of ceramic art, State University of New York College of Ceramics at Alfred University
“…I would highly recommend Clary Illian's A Potter's Workbook.”—Warren Frederick, Ceramics Technical
“What is the heart of the matter in pottery making? To call into being an object and to ask the object to have qualities that evoke in the viewer a sense of rightness, beauty, or vitality is to tinker with the divine. Making pots offers a constant challenge to search for the mysterious underpinnings of the physical world itself.”—Clary Illian in her introduction to A Potter's Workbook

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Publication Details

Publication Date
124 pages
Trim size
45 drawings
220 photos