Tag Archives: Ceramic Art and Pottery

World Libraries: ceramics in the stacks

Dunfermline Carnegie Library

Dunfermline's Carnegie Library, Scotland. First library Carnegie built, in his birthplace, opened August 29, 1883.

To me, a public library is a measure of a place. When I move somewhere, I check out the holdings to see how much they have invested in the citizens who live in the area. If there are few holdings, it says something about a community. Listed below are links to holdings in some of the great libraries of the world. I’ve used the keyword “ceramics” in my searches, so click on the links to see what I’ve found… I don’t know the languages, but the links will take you to the holdings that came up for the keyword “ceramics” in English, en Anglais, auf…, etc.  Sometimes the search box is just empty and you have to fill it out… If you are lucky enough to know the languages of the countries listed, be my guest!

Biblioteca Nacional de España, Madrid

Biblioteca nazionale centrale di Roma, Italy

Biblioteca Palafoxiana, Mexico (www.bpm.gob.mx, link was down)

Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris

Delhi Public Library, India

Greater Cairo Public Library, Egypt

London Public Library, England

National Library of China, Beijing

The National Library of Korea, Seoul

New York City Public Library, USA

Russian State Library, Moscow

Sydney Public Library, Australia

Tokyo Metropolitan Libraries, Japan

Toronto Public Library, Canada

For the adventurous, click here!

Biblioteca Palafoxiana

Biblioteca Palafoxiana (Palafoxian Library) in Puebla, Mexico. Oldest library in the Americas, built in the 1600s.

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Open Studio Report, 3-29

STUDIO: It felt so good to be back in the studio again after a week’s down time because of a sore throat. I missed my projects and the conviviality of my studio mates. At this point, I am officially behind on my bird house and may miss spring nesting this year. If that happens, it’s okay, as it will still look nice hanging from our wide-leaf maple tree, but I’d rather it be done and up. Also, after I started undoing the wrappings on my project, I remembered I hadn’t looked up the dimensions for the hole in the bird house. Skipped that step and made the ball-shaped knobs that will go on the bottom and top and repaired a crack with homemade paper clay, slip and tissue bits. Think I’ll bring the project home and work on it over the week, as time is of the essence. On Tuesday, I also started experimented with draping and folding some terra-cotta. Rigged a temporary mold of odds and ends and worked with  a 1/8″ thick terra-cotta sheet, but even that was too thick. Now, I must investigate techniques for increasing malleability and rolling out very, very thin….

Bisquing: I finally placed my wheat tile and oil lamps on the Cone 6 firing shelves, so next week I can make a mold of the tile and start drying it. Maybe, just maybe I’ll make the mold this week. Ge a jump on it…

Plans: I liked the effect of white underglaze with Shino over it, so think that is what I’ll do when I glaze the original wheat tile next week…will look golden and beautiful with the wheat motif. Also, I’m going to start making smaller, thinner tiles, ones that will dry faster and cost less to mail. Beforehand, I will start developing some more Arts & Crafts motifs. Time, time, I am going to start dividing my time differently: working at home more. The focus of Open Studio time will change, be devoted more to things I cannot do at home: using the slab roller, glazing and firing. I want to pick up the pace a bit and I love working at home, so I look forward to these changes.

HOME: Today, I made three ‘trees’ tiles and a slew of brown sugar medallions. At least one of the tiles will become a “Snowfall,” but I’m not sure about the others. It’s spring after all! For the medallions, I used Cathy Camley’s suggestion for forming a nice rounded edge: place plastic over the clay, then push a cutter down over the plastic and the rolled clay. Works very well!

Plans: I also booted up etsy.com and will sign up for it after I finish this post. I am considering either joining a team or forming one. More on that later, but first I’ll join on my own. This week, I engaged WordPress‘ Happiness Engineers for a guided transfer from .com to .org. I had so wanted to go with Laughing Squid for a hosted service because it’s an indie that supports the arts. However, I am not a techie, it’s not a WP option for a transfer, so must forego it. Instead, I am going with Blue Host, which has an A rating with the Better Business Bureau. I am also ordering my greenhouse kit today, so am very excited about that. That got me thinking about clay garden markers, but one thing at a time….

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Drinking chocolate from bowls

The first time I drank chocolate out of a bowl was in Calgary during Spring Break 1989. My friends and I traveled up in a rented car. The population back then was 700,000 and to us it was the Big City, as our university town in Montana was much smaller. I remember the Calgarians saying, “You came here for Spring Break?” Followed by, “Why aren’t you in Florida?” We had a lovely time, though, taking the light rail from the university to downtown, shopping, dining, and taking in the Canadian atmosphere. And it was cold. We didn’t care, though! We’d driven up over the Rocky Mountains, through Banff, and out onto the prairies and we were there to have fun and a well-needed break. It was during one of those frosty, early spring days that we ended up in a bohemian little cafe in the downtown core. We’d been looking, seeing, and enjoying all things downtown, were tired and needed to rest our dogs. We all ordered hot chocolate and, to our surprise, big steaming bowls of chocolate were placed on the table. It was so exotic to me! We cupped our cold hands around the warm ceramic bowls and sipped. It was sheer heaven… We were bathed in the rich aroma as we drank it down. It’s one thing to drink cocoa from a narrow mug and an altogether different experience to feel the steam waft around you and take in the scents from a wide bowl. Some time later, after I moved to Canada, I bought my husband a chocolate bowl for Valentine’s Day. It’s a lovely ceramic bowl…fluted, of white clay…decorated with a mosaic pattern on the outer rim. If it wasn’t for the French Canadian influence, I would probably have yet to have experienced such a lovely tradition. Bowls filled with steaming cocoa… It’s early spring, I just got back from Whistler where my friend took us to a lovely crêperie run by French Canadians, Crêpe Montagne. I had their mixed berry crêpe served with crème anglaise. Delightful! The village was full of students on Spring Break. Snowboarders, skiers…and this year there was plenty of snow, compared to last year during the Olympics. It all reminded me of the sojourn to Calgary many moons ago. So, I’m back home and am thinking of bowls of chocolate…

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Draped and folded porcelain

I’m thinking of making some draped or folded porcelain vessels to replace slipcast flower pots. All but one of my African violets are in the wrong kind of pot. They need two-piece nesting vessels, the outer one glazed, the inner one unglazed. Water is poured into the outer bowl and the moisture leaches through the porous middle pot to the plant roots. I want the vessels to have a somewhat constrained, yet haphazard feel…to combine sculpture with function. I looked at some pieces by artists that are shown online. Some of the techniques used wouldn’t be appropriate for my purposes, but I’d like to use a folded, paddled form, something similar to the piece shown above. An elegant vessel by Mary Rogers, it is called Folded Porcelain Bowl. From Derbyshire, England, Rogers’ work is incredible and I’d like to feature her at some point. Some of her pieces have a marine biological feel, which also appeals to me. Next, I found Carol Barclay, a Rochester, New York artist who drapes porcelain. Drape molds are available commercially at this U.S. art supply store, but you could make your own with plaster, too. Here’s a link for rectangular wooden drape molds from Tucker’s Pottery Supplies online store in Ontario, Canada. Barclay’s “Gathering Bowl” is quite nice. I think I like hers best as sculptural forms only because I can then concentrate on the draping. Finally, some folded porcelain vessels that have a more clean-edged, modern appeal. By Danish designer Karin Blach Nielsen, these delicate pieces called “Snack Bowls” are made from molds made of folded paper. I like the asymmetry. Blech Nielsen creates dinner sets and one-off pieces of porcelain and stoneware. Here’s a link to a serving dish with a filigree pattern.

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