Can you imagine what it would be like to learn from one of the best potters in the world? To have them sit next to you and share their years of experience and know-how one on one? Most of us can only dream of such an opportunity as timing, distance and finances often keep us from realizing such a dream. That’s changed.
The advantage of DVDs is that we can all experience the intimate workshop experience. With Tom Turner’s Two Day Workshop DVD, you’ll have the opportunity to learn, to absorb and to revisit the workshop experience of one of the world’s truly Master Potters over and over again, gaining more depth with each viewing.
Runtime: 5+ hours
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Tom Turner has been a ceramic artist for nearly 50 years. He has conducted workshops for more than 35 years throughout the United States and Canada. His immaculate work is featured in more than 30 books published in 5 countries and is in numerous museums including the national Museum of American Art at the Smithsonian, the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, the American Museum of Ceramic Art in Pomona, CA, Arizona State University, United States Embassies, and the Taipei Fine Arts Museum in Taipei, Taiwan.
For the potter seeking direction
This 4 disc DVD set documents a two-day workshop Tom conducted at the North Carolina Pottery Center in Seagrove, North Carolina in May of 2005. Along with the workshop was a mini-retrospective of 34 of his favorite pots from his permanent collection spanning 1970 to 2004. These pots document his best work from different studios, different periods of time, and different processes he used during those years.
This incredible DVD set goes beyond the basic ‘how-to’ video to document the vast knowledge of an established and highly respected Master Potter and his many years of experience. The DVD set contains information for the beginning as well as the professional potter. Tom’s workshops are a two-way give and take with the audience, and questions from the participants bring out lots of valuable information. The two full days have been edited to just under 6 hours on the 4 discs.
What’s on the DVDs
Disc 1 Introduction and questions and answers
- Wedging and kneading; mugs, cups and importance of raising a cone
- Throwing small bowls and letting your way of moving the material determine the form
- Throwing a lidded jar and the relationship of parts for a visual and physical fit
- Throwing a tea pot
- Throwing sections to be joined later, allowing larger pots to be made
- Discussion of line blend glaze tests
Disc 2 Working on pots at different stages to take advantage of “point in time”
- Discussion of glazes
- Correlation of decoration and design
- Discussion on the hazards of our glaze chemicals
- Stamping and paddling to create texture for glazes to dance on
- Trimming the mug and attaching a handle
- Fluting using different tools for different effects
- Trimming a cup attempting to follow the interior line or form
- Discussion of oxyprobes, firing in reduction, copper red glazes, and refiring pots at different temperatures and atmospheres
- Trimming a bowl and carving the outside for texture
- Bowl design and the audible aesthetic of porcelain
Disc 3 Trimming a lid in a chuck and observing the beauty of the lid by itself
- Trimming and assembling a teapot, along with complex decoration.
- Joining pieces to create larger pots, or pots that can’t be thrown in one piece
Disc 4 Making and applying bird finials and how decoration must visually fit the pot
- Slip trailing, coggle wheel, and multiple lids to show different decoration, character, and visual correlation
- Footage of show and discussion with 8th graders and adults viewing the show
- My favorite pots from 1970-2004 chosen from my personal collection
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Review by Don Pilcher, retired professor of Ceramic Art at the University of Illinois- Ceramics Monthly – March 2007
It’s not everyday we see a person with over 40 years of experience sit down and let it all flow. But in this 6 hour presentation Tom Turner shares his wealth of knowledge in exacting detail and covers every aspect of the potters’ art. Because he speaks so well (no ums, ers or ya’knows) he is fully understandable and easy to listen to. He has complete thoughts expressed in complete sentences within full paragraphs – yet truly extemporaneous. The material is dense in some places so you may need to take notes. It seems he has never forgotten anything he has learned or from whom he learned it. As he gives credit where it is due, he weaves a nice little history of much of American ceramics and studio pottery.
If it is technical information you seek, here it is. But Turner spends just as much time on meaning as he does method and the entire DVD is richly illustrated with examples of work in progress as well as completed pieces, these last his personal collection of the past four decades.
To say Turner is thoroughly in command of his processes and materials is no exaggeration. His motto might be “tightenupamerica,” but he is quick to point out his way is just that and not necessarily suited to others. What any viewer can extrapolate, however, is that there is no detail in pottery that can’t provide a payoff. For example, he polishes his lids in order to secure the fit AND improve the audible tone when they sit.
More about Master Potter Tom Turner
Tom received his undergraduate degree in art from Illinois State University in 1968. He taught crafts while in the Army and then asked to establish a ceramic art program for the College of Architecture at Clemson University in 1971, and taught there until 1976 when he resigned to work full time in his studio. He received his M.F.A at Clemson in 1973, then had a succession of studios in Florida (1979-1982), Medina, Ohio (1982-1986), Delaware, Ohio (1986-2004) and now in Mars Hill, North Carolina (2005-present). He has worked with high-fired porcelain for more than 35 years.
Tom has taught at leading craft schools in the country including Penland, Arrowmont, The Archie Bray Foundation and has conducted more than 125 workshops in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Georgia, Pennsylvania, North and South Carolina, Florida, Virginia, Tennessee, Louisiana, Washington D.C., Oregon, California, Colorado, Texas, New Jersey and Michigan. In addition, he has been a visiting artist at Illinois State University and The Ohio State University.
Major shows have included Young Americans 1969, which toured the U.S.; the Marietta Crafts National 1974, 1977, 1981; The 33rd Scripps College Invitational; Functional Ceramics at Wooster, Ohio 1978, 1981, 1983; 35 Artists of The Southeast, which toured for two years; New Directions: Fiber and Clay, touring for three years; 20 American Potters, which toured the world and became collections of American Embassies; The Emergence of a New Tradition: American Porcelain, at The Hand and Spirit Gallery; and American Porcelain: New Expressions in an Ancient Art, shown at the Renwick Gallery of the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, and then toured the United States and the world. The Covered Jar in the exhibition is part of the National Collection of Fine Arts. He has also exhibited in over 150 invitationals and over 50 juried shows.
His work has appeared in Craft Horizons, American Craft, Ceramics Monthly, Studio Potter, The Washingtonian, House Beautiful, Southern Living, Ceramica (Spain), Ceramic Review (England) and in numerous books.
A letter to Tom from Bill Miller from Charleston, OH.
Thank you for creating a video that is truly the next best thing to being at the workshop itself. The production quality is outstanding. The video and sound are exceptionally clear and one can’t help but feel as though ‘you are in the room’.
Your relaxed laid back style of presentation and method of working is a pleasure to watch. Your love and knowledge of porcelain clearly shows in everything you create and discuss in the workshop. I can’t comprehend how you can remember so many details when answering questions. Your expertise is unmistakable.
The last disc which spotlights your favorite pots is the perfect signature for the workshop. I have admired your work for many years and would have to describe it as simply exquisite. Your pots as with all art will affect everyone differently. For myself they show the purity and a certain sensual smoothness which porcelain best portrays. I immediately want to touch them.
As someone living somewhat isolated and who is almost completely self taught through books, workshops, videos, and simply having a love for clay, this production is the perfect learning tool for me. I’m sure I’ll watch it repeatedly and the next time I’m taking notes.