Ceramics News Briefs International

Princess Mariam Orbeliani

Georgian Princess Mariam Orbeliani (1899–1947) reading the newspaper "Iveria"

I want to give you a quick little update about the blog before I move on to other news. First things first: I have figured out how to change fonts within a blog post! It might not sound like much, technologically, but it has affects the overall design and feel of the blog, in addition to readability. Next…while I have yet to learn how to change fonts en masse on the CSS style sheet, knowing how to change them within a post gives me wider latitude, as I can use more of my design skills. I’m using ‘Georgia’ for this post. That font is part of my original WordPress ‘2010’ theme but it got lost somewhere along the way. I like it because it’s very rounded and has serifs, which makes it easier to read. I have also installed Google Analytics, another coup, though I have yet to learn how to actually use it. Plus, I now have code that will enable me to centre Flickr slide shows, but till I figure out where to place the code, they will remain flush left if they are small to medium size. (Large ones fill the dimensions of the main column, so that’s fine.) Also figured out hyperlinking of text with code, too. Slow and easy wins the race and that’s the JSCW news…

INDIA: Forgotten beauty: Death of the potters’ era, The Express Tribune – A simply beautiful feature story about a former pottery and locale in India, the Peshawar pottery. Its owner, Abdul Rauf Seemab “also had hookahs in his shop that he brought from somewhere else…but the prized pottery he made himself.” Not a whiff of the area’s former grandeur remains, but Shah Wali Qatal was once a place of “prominent personalities.”

ENGLAND: New Spode History Centre to open in Stoke on Trent for Spring 2012, Culture 24 – The Spode Museum Trust plans to open a visitor centre at Stoke-on-Trent’s former Spode factory site, thereby preserving its ceramic heritage. “With the factory’s closure in 2008 a vast archive of documents and a collection of ceramics dating back to the 18th century – one of the largest and most important in the world – were moved into storage elsewhere.”  The trust will open a two-year exhibition beginning in the spring of 2012, the first step.  The new centre will focus on the Spode factory, Industrial Revolution working conditions, how the factory affected the community, and the artisans working there.

CANADA: Feats of clayThe Sun – “Many people don’t have the space to do ceramics in their homes,” said Lenny Larson, one of the owners of Ceramic Services in Ontario. “And there aren’t many places that sell ceramic supplies. People come here from all over to get what they need.”  Lenny Larson and Ken Wagner started the Ceramic Services company 18 years ago. They began by building kilns for industry and institutions, in addition to home studios. Last year, they began renting out studio space for a monthly fee. What will that buy you? The use of wheels, kilns, racks and tables…. They also have a monthly raku firing.

ENGLAND: Ancient cooking pots reveal culinary cues, European Commission CORDIS – Scientists from the United Kingdom, Denmark, and Germany have tested ancient ceramic vessels from northern Europe and the Baltic areas. They are trying to tell whether “residues originated from land, sea or freshwater organisms. The researchers assessed the ceramic pots from 15 sites dating to around 4 000 BC, a period in which the region’s domesticated animals and plants began to emerge.” Led by the universities of York and Bradford in the UK, the team’s findings show that “humans had no qualms about using the advent of farming and domestication to their advantage vis-a-vis fish and other marine resources.”

CZECH REPUBLIC: Slavonice: a South Bohemian renaissance town off the beaten track, Radio Czech – And now for a delightful bit of armchair traveling! Picture a town with white walls and red tile roofs full of history and art…You are in southern Bohemia, along the Austrian border. Think of an artist’s colony complete with a famous destination, the Maříž ceramics workshop. “Maříž ceramics are generally very colourful, there are lots of animals painted on our goods,” says Marta Tůmová. After you visit it, you can take in the galleries, some with Chagalls….

ENGLAND: Flow Blue: A celebrated ceramic, Cincinnati – It is amazing how time changes the worth of something. The type of pottery reported on in this story was mentioned in an earlier blog post, The mystery of Blue Willow Pattern china, in which author Jonathan Gash was quoted as saying “the lowest quality has the familiar misty blue outline.” The article I’m writing the newsbrief for doesn’t make transferware out to be anything it isn’t, except here and there. For example, it states, “The quality was high, the cost was low, and the resulting pieces were sturdier than similar imported goods from China.” This is stretching it a bit…


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