Monthly Archives: July 2011

Ceramics News Briefs International

Newspapers of Hong Kong. Source - Wikimedia Commons

The ‘Cucuteni 5000’ ceramics fair in Iasi, Romania, Digital Journal — Oh, my, this work is so beautiful! Traditional designs, styles and glazes, as seen in the pic… This is the 28th year the festival has taken place, but it has a long history. “The pottery making tradition in Romania dates back thousands of years to a mysterious people archaeologists named ‘Cucuteni’.”

Roseville ‘Gardenia’ vase has roots in Ohio, New Orleans Picayune — The story of Roseville pottery, with tips for collectors. I hadn’t known it was named for the Ohio town it was originally made in. Evidently, there are two levels of value for the pottery…

Paid for in bowls, China Daily — The first thing I wondered when I read the lead was whether these people were being fleeced… However, the idea that antique pottery is being traded for new bowls is okay, though, if it’s being collected for museums, as is the case. The discussion about the “celadon water dropper” is quite interesting.

Signs of early settlements found on Lauderdale barrier island, Orlando Sentinel — This story is quite intriguing and it is accompanied by a video of archaeologists at work. Evidence of prehistoric Tequesta Indians and European explorers has been found.

Northampton archaeologists find man who could be 1,600-years-old, Chronicle & Echo — Archaeologists have found the remains of what they think may be a Roman in Northhampton, England. “A small piece of pottery found alongside the crouched skeleton was used to date the burial to somewhere between the years 43 and 410.” The shard is  apparently the only piece of pottery at the find, but it is so small, not much can be judged by it. The Romans built kilns wherever they established colonies, but who knows if this shard is from one of them. The story’s link to pottery is weak, but it isn’t everyday that a Roman is found…

Is Porcelain Dental Work Fragile?, The Huffington Post — A dentist questions the durability of this popular dentistry material, then answers his questions… I didn’t realize that porcelain crowns could be stronger than regular tooth enamel. However, I know my gold crowns are built to last!

Phillips de Pury & Co. Announces Highlights From September London Design Auction, Art Daily — News about an upcoming auction described as “the most important group of Modernist ceramics ever to appear at auction.” Forty works from the Berkeley Collection will be auctioned off. “The Berkeley Collection is legendary amongst Museum curators and collectors alike.

HIPing – What Is It and What are The Advantages for Engineering Ceramics?, Azom — I like to carry articles on high-tech ceramics now and then and this one lured me in with its curious process of densifying ceramics to remove porosity, “thereby leading to improved mechanical properties such as strength and reliability.” Nicely designed info graphic, too…

Spotlight on: Retiring ceramics teacher Mary Humphrey reflects on 28 years at Ella Sharp Museum, mlive — A lovely tribute to a woman who has dedicated her life to our art form. It’s a Q and A interview, which gives us a clearer look at what makes Mary Humphrey tick…

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Open Directory ceramic blogs: Western to Eastern U.S.

From East to West; Go West young man; the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, the adages are many… Ancestors on my maternal grandfather’s side, people of Alsatian stock, journeyed west in a wagon train accompanied by friends of the family, leaving the territory that is now Kansas. Both the California Gold Rush and the Alaska Gold Rush made people scurry west. Then, rail lines traversed the width of the U.S., sealing the link between east to west in the United States. And so our own journey ends, as this is the last stop for ceramics blogs on the Open Directory. (To be fair, there is one more, in Spain and you can click here to see it.) Again, it’s a lovely thing to be able to see such a high concentration of ceramics blogs and I hope you enjoy perusing them… I am a little surprised that there are no blogs from the Northwest in this directory, given the abundance of potteries, studios and people who work with the medium in this neck of the woods. I don’t know what accounts for that, just as I don’t know why there were so many from North Carolina yesterday.


Anthony Foo

This Artist’s Life


Fine Mess Pottery


Hatchville Pottery


Pottery Blog: Emily Murphy


New Work


Potter’s Journal

Tara Robertson Pottery

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Open Directory ceramics blogs: Southern United States

The South has many connotations and distinctions, geographically, economically, historically, and culturally. While a number of states listed below are part of the Deep South, I am using the U.S. Census Bureau definition of ‘South.’  It can be confusing. More culturally accepted geographic divisions in the South often have nothing to do with state boundaries. For instance, I was born on the Florida Panhandle, which is part of the Deep South, as is east Texas. The reason for this is that the Panhandle continues to be influenced and populated by native Alabamans. At one time I had a thick Southern dialect, too, but it is long gone and, these days, only a smattering of Canadians detect any type of accent at all. But you didn’t come here for a geography lesson, did you? Well, I am continuing to cover ceramics blogs from the Open Directory. It feels good knowing these blogs are out there, featuring our favorite subject. Yet, in putting this page together, I was very surprised to see the wealth of blogs are from North Carolina. I do know that English, Welsh, and Scots-Irish ancestry figure strongly in people originally from this state. In addition, the Folk Arts have been kept alive in the southern states. You can still find fiddle and furniture makers, weavers, woodcarvers, and singers whose traditional repetoire can be directly traced to their English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish forebears. Africans brought their knowledge of pottery from their countries of origin. After all, it is a Universal medium. Whether the abundance of ceramists from North Carolina has anything to its traditional arts background, I don’t know, but it’s not a bad guess.


Webb Pottery Studio


Blue Starr Gallery

Contemporary Art Porcelain

Scott’s Blog


Pinkkiss Pottery

North Carolina

Alex Matisse; new one

Jen Mecca’s Pottery Blog

Joy Tanner Pottery

Potters Life

Ron Philbeck Pottery

Sawdust & Dirt

Stray Dog Pottery

Tom Gray – Seagrove, NC


Support Your Local Potter


Dan Finnegan – Studio Pottery


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Open Directory ceramics blogs: Commonwealth countries

While getting ready to add my blog to the Open Directory Project site, I started looking around and was thrilled to see that 38 ceramics blogs were listed. Most of the descriptions mention the blogger’s location, so, over time, I’m going to feature them all on JSCW. Ceramics bloggers listed below come from the only Commonwealth countries listed in the directory under that blogging category. Soon, mine will be on that list, under Canada! It’s nice to learn of about others in the community. (Next up will be ceramics bloggers from the  Southern United States.) Please have a look-see….


Australian Pottery

Euan The Potter


Dragonfly Clay

Musing About Mud


A Devonshire Pottery



e2r Ceramics

Hannah McAndrew – Slipware Potter


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The beauty of restaurant ware

We loved a tiny antique store just off Higgins Avenue in Missoula, Montana and bought a few things there during our salad days. I found a 1920s bathing costume for Mark, which he still wears today. It was then that we started collecting restaurant ware. We are very fond of the first thing we found — a set of cups and saucers from the 1940s, white with an intricate burgundy pattern near the rim. Since then, we acquired our plates, white with burgundy edges, and a couple of mugs. We were hooked on restaurant ware.

I really can’t explain why I find the restaurant coffee cup so compelling; perhaps Prof. Steve Aimone’s explanation is the best one. It is an American art form that harkens back to a simpler era; it is a craft to which one relates in a very intimate manner. Moreover, the coffee cup’s sturdiness is somehow reflective of the comforting nature of what it contains.MoVRCC

As I used our dishes, I came to wonder how they could be so durable, but I guess they had to be, didn’t they? Cookie slamming plates filled with hash and eggs on the counter; Wanda buzzing around with plates and cuppas for Fred or Stanley… Then, there’s Larry, the dishwasher, slapping plates from the busboy’s tub onto stainless steel counters. It made more sense when I read an eHow article which explained that restaurant ware was made from “high-fired porcelain…similar to bathroom lavatories and commodes.” I guess it does feel like my bathroom sink…smooth, dense, and strong… In the same article, How to Collect Western Restaurant Ware, Linda Richard, lists the biggest producers in their heyday: Syracuse, TEPCO, Homer Laughlin, Buffalo, Wallace, and Jackson, along with “Mayer, McNicol, Sterling, Walker, Scammell and Shenango.” A couple of Richard’s sources are quite fun to look at and they could easily incite buyer mania: The Restaurant Ware Collector’s Network, EraPhernalia’s Restaurant Ware, and Potteries of California’s Wallace China. When I saw EraPhernalia’s site, my heart went pitty pat. Such a gorgeous collection! Hands down, I like the oldies the best…from the 30s and 40s. Some from the 50s… For a short primer, Restaurant ware —  a retro classic to collect is a nice read. In addition, Amazon sells Jo Cunningham‘s 5-star book about Homer Laughlin china. Which reminds me…about a year ago, I had a yen for modern dishes. Wish fulfilled, I received some for a gift and thought, yes, it’s time for a change. But guess what? They are too wide for our cupboards! Our house is 100 years old, our cupboards half that, still old by today’s standards. (Built to last…before particle board.) And plates were smaller then. I’ve since decided it’s best to stick with what we have and what we know… Another charming site is The Bees Knees!


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Robin Hopper: Three decorative techniques for ceramics

Otto showed me a book he bought when he was at his annual ceramics retreat at Metchosin. Robin Hopper’s Making Marks: Discovering the Ceramic Surface is one of the most beautiful and exciting books I’ve seen in some time. Joan had told me about it when she was advising me about books to add to my Resources section, but I had yet to see it. Making Marks covers everything and anything you’d need to know about decorative techniques and pigmentation. The examples and art work he’s chosen to illustrate his book are incredible. That said, it made me think of Robin Hopper and today I’m posting his instructions for three techniques, two on video and one in print Slip Dotting, Mocha Diffusion and Painting on Porcelain Canvas. We are so lucky an artist of his caliber is only a ferry ride away, on Vancouver Island.

The video below is partly entitled Mocha Diffusion and Hopper refers to it briefly, but that technique is not demonstrated in the video. If you would like to know more about it, click here. MIY Ceramics and Glass has printed Hopper’s article about the technique from the Ceramic Arts Daily post.

I looked up the ‘porcelain substrate’ Robin Hopper uses for canvases in the video below and decided that if I were to pursue this form, I’d have to make my own. The material he uses is very expensive. If I was to go the DIY route, would first make porcelain paper clay by adding bits of toilet tissue to porcelain to strengthen it while working with it, as taught by Pauline. Once I finish my current projects , I’ll pursue this because I want to see how thin I could roll porcelain out on my own. How see-through I can get it. I’d start out with the slab roller, then finish with a rolling pin. It’ll the next step in my clay draping experiments. Back to the next video, though… Watching Hopper paint and draw on porcelain canvas is a real treat. I enjoyed watching this video because he’s very clear about what he’s doing: explains and demonstrates each step and discusses the materials.


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Goblets just asking to be filled on a hot summer day

It happened all at once: Hot Summer Nights, Dog Days of Summer, A Real Scorcher. Humid heat breaking through a La Niña July. Market umbrellas open, barbecues sizzle, and we work up a massive thirst. What we need are mondo goblets to quench ourselves. Iced tea, h2O, Sangria, lemonade, what have you, but please put it in something big and fun! A big ceramic goblet stays cool in our hands and is pleasing to the eye. The funkier the better….

Andy Nasisse Ceramic Art — Incredible imagery, marvelous designs. These would be like drinking from sculptures….

Fruity Goblets — We can only wish with these ultra specimens! A feast for the eyes: Carmen Miranda meets Fred Flintstone…

Cheeky Tiki — These Cheeky Tahiti goblets are a must! Mai Tai, lounge lizard music, rumba!

Umbria Fruttiera Wine Goblet — This is lovely piece from “a small hill town near Assisi. This small, family factory has been making ceramics for generations.”

Nature’s Adornments — Billed a medieval stoneware goblet. This appeals to me because it holds a lot of liquid and it will stay cool to the touch with iced beverages.

Katie Scully Ceramics — This lovely porcelain vessel is glazed a soothing color and it looks like it would feel good to hold.

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