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Arbuckle CERAMICS booklist

Suggestions for reading in relation to studio practice


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Art thought
    Ceramics Decoration Design

Art/craft ideas, philosophy, aesthetics, and psychology

Art And Fear: Observations on The Perils (And Rewards) of Artmaking

Bayles, David & Orland, Ted.

Thoughtful, readable short book that deals with blocks and fears that creative people face. Everyone in creative pursuits should read this.

Art And Visual Perception: a Psychology of The Creative Eye
Arnheim, Rudolf

The Art of The Maker
Dormer, Peter

About the role of craft (i.e. skill) in art-making. Very helpful, inspiring

Conceptual Blockbusting, A Guide to Better Ideas, 3rd Ed

Adams, James L.

Helpful guide to expanding your thinking and creative problem-solving.

Objects and Meaning: New Perspectives on Art and Craft
Fariella, Anna

Shop Class as Soulcraft: an Inquiry into the Value of Work

Matthew Crawford

Crawford grew up on a commune, got a PhD in Philosophy, and quit a thinktank job to open a vintage motorcycle repair shop. Provocative look at contemporary culture and connection between brain work and hand. My local library has this as a downloadable audiobook. Sort of an update on Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Good info about why smart people find problem-solving with a manual component (e.g. ceramics) a lifetime challenge.

The Culture of Craft
Dormer, Peter, ed

Excellent book on the issues surrounding hand-made items and their implications by thoughtful authors. Highly recommended.



The Nature and Art of Workmanship

David Pye

Woodworker Pye talks about quality, design, and one of my favorite ideas: the difference between the workmanship of risk (handmade) and the workmanship of certainly (machine-made).


Functional Pottery

Hopper, Robin

A thorough treatmend of how to make good functional forms. Includes design issues, functional considerations, good historic and contemporary resources, helpful tech info.

Making Marks: Discovering the Ceramic Surface

Hopper, Robin

A good catlog of the many methods of manipulating surface by a master.

Ceramics - Materials and Glaze

Ceramic Faults and Their Remedies

Frazier, Harry

Helpful tech reference. Wonder why is cracks, why it has matte patches in the glaze? The answer is in here.

The Potter's Dictionary of Materials and Techniques
Hamer, Frank and Janet

This is like the bible for materials info. They will tell you more than you wanted to know about everything from cracks to cristobalite. My go-to book when I have materials and process questions. If you only have one tech resource, this might be the one.

Ceramics - Majolica/Tin Glaze

The New Maiolica
Matthias Ostermann

Very thouough, useful book to learn more about international majolica methods and considerations by the late Matthias Ostermann, a master in the field.

Daphne Carnegy

Handbook by English majolica potter.

Ceramics - Throwing

Phethean, Richard

Well-illustrated contemporary resource for learning to throw. Pottery Making Illustrated had an excerpt on throwing bowls from this book. This article is not online, but you find other things from this author on their site.


Decoration and Ornament

Flight of Fancy, the Banishment and Return of Ornament

Brolin, Brent

Re-issued as “Architectural Ornament: Banishment and Return”. Brolin is an architect whose mother-in-law was ceramics designer Eva Zeisel. He writes in depth about the ideas surrounding ornament, from a time when it was valued to a time when it was considered in poor taste to like decorated things. A good material culture read.Revealing about where ideas suirounding ornament.


The Sense of Order: a Study in The Psychology of Decorative Art
Gombrich, Ernst

Informative book about thinking and analysis of how man perceives pattern, the meaning of ornament, and more.



Rawson, Philip

Part of Rawson’s series of art appreciation subjects. Excellent information about looking at pottery. wordy - buy your own copy and highlight the gems of information. Includes ideas about concave vs. convex forms, implied completion, memory traces, and meanings of color and reflectivity. Everyone should read this, prefereably with a buddy to talk about it, and in small chunnks.


Design Language

Tim McCreight

Comes in a pocket-sized text version or a larger Interpretive Edition that has illustrations. Design terms and definitions. I find this a resource  to which I return. Prods my thinking.

Principles of Form and Design
Wong, Wucius

Wonderful thumbnail guide to design principles with illlustrated examples, e.g. reflection, rotation, etc. Makes a lot of visual sense. Helpful when you're looking for ways to organize space.

The Designer's Eye

Brolin, Brent

A book not possible before Photoshop. Challenging design resource. Brolin, an architect, takes an image if a building, changes a detail, and gives you a few sentences below about how the change impacts the visual reading of the piece. Someone needs to do this for pottery. Basically a picture book, but will engage your eye and thinking about design.





Linda Arbuckle
Last updated March 20, 2013