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Criticism and Aesthetics

Looking for informed criticism on contemporary ceramic art? Look no farther. Our archives contain some of the best writing on ceramic art including timely exhibition reviews and highlights, insightful topical essays and artist profiles – all with gorgeous full-color images of some of the most exciting work in ceramics. If you are passionate about clay, learn about the cultural, social and aesthetic issues directly related to studio ceramics right here. And don't forget to download your free copy of Emerging Ceramic Artists: New Pottery and Ceramic Sculpture to see work by the latest and greatest new talents in the ceramic arts field.


These Michael Kline bowls were designed to stack neatly in a cupboard.

10 Questions to Ask When Designing Pottery for Use

Posted On December 18, 2013 16 Comments

Today, Robin Hopper, who wrote the book on functional pottery (quite literally – he is the author of Functional Pottery: Form and Aesthetic in Pots of Purpose), is back again today with ten questions that every functional potter should ask themselves when designing pots for use. Post these in your studio so you remember them every time you make a new pot!

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Bonus Monday Pottery Video: Ayumi Horie’s Match Striker in Action

Posted On June 20, 2011 54 Comments

Ayumi Horie returns to Ceramic Arts Daily today with an example of her marketing genius: a “match striker in action” video. No doubt inspired by her “pots in action” photos, which she collects from her fans and displays on her website, this video shows a plethora of ways a handmade item can fit into, and enhance the everyday. As usual, this video oozes with Ayumi’s wit and great style so I thought it would make the perfect pick me up for a Monday. Enjoy!

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Nick Joerling Shifts Gears: A Potter Takes a Risk and is Rewarded by the Results

Posted On February 21, 2011 7 Comments

Why would a potter change a very successful, established body of work in order to move in another direction? That’s one of the questions Nick Joerling was asked in the March 2011 issue of Ceramics Monthly. In today’s post, we’ll share the interview and show you examples of the old work and the new.

Wheel Throwing Video: It’s all in the Details – Design Considerations for Wheel Thrown Mugs, Cups, and Saucers

Posted On May 21, 2010 27 Comments

In today’s video, an excerpt from his DVD Form and Function: Ceramic Aesthetics and Design, Robin Hopper discusses the importance of good design on handmade pottery and demonstrates throwing a cup and saucer with these considerations in mind. Watch the video!

This piece is inspired by a traditional bronze or cast iron Japanses kettle form.

From Concept to Reality: Evaluating the Development of Influences and Ideas in Your Ceramic Art

Posted On May 3, 2010 19 Comments

In today’s post, I decided to turn to our good friend Robin Hopper for a good example of how to examine one’s work from concept to reality. Robin traces the development of some of his own works, considering the integration of form, development of imagery, and processes of final surface enrichment.

Lush Mug, 3 1/2 in. (9 cm) in height, thrown porcelain, fired in an anagama, 2005.

Kick Your Work Up a Notch: Announcing the Ceramics Monthly Master Class!

Posted On March 8, 2010 16 Comments

Today’s post is a sample from our new section Ceramics Monthly Master Class. Simon Levin  explains the importance of critiquing your ceramic work, a skill that is often stressed at the college level, but is good to learn and practice at any stage of the game. Simon explains his “Suck Factor” method of gauging a piece’s success and gives some sample critiques on his own work.

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Critical Care: The Art of Self Critique

Posted On March 1, 2010 11 Comments

I use one tool everyday, on every pot or sculpture, whether I made it or not. This pervasive tool is critical analysis, and I use it to assess the pot I am currently throwing, the work I made yesterday and the work I made years ago.

Chateau Bud Vase, 6 1/2 in. (17 cm) in diameter, designed and introduced in 2008 by KleinReid.

The Industry of Making Pots

Posted On January 20, 2010 1 Comment

In balancing the challenges of making and marketing, many potters have turned to industrial business models and processes while maintaining a high level of quality in design and production.

Andy Brayman, Gold Lined Cup with Concealed Decoration, 4 in. (10 cm) in diameter, porcelain, 23k gold, platinum, 2007.

Perfection, Repair, and Use

Posted On December 9, 2009 0 Comments

With the cup moving from the table to the shelf, the focus of ceramic production has shifted from utilitarian to decorative. The art market’s continual search for perfection has stripped bowls, cups, and plates of their personal history. Utilitarian objects carry the story of their use in chips and stains that are deemed imperfections by collectors and investors.

Large plate, 19½ in. (50 cm) in diameter, stoneware with celadon glaze, by Shinsaku Hamada.

Three Generations of Hamada Potters

Posted On December 8, 2009 1 Comment

Of all the well-known Japanese ceramic artists of the past four hundred years, men like Raku ware’s Chojiro, the Kyoto designers and decorators Ninsei Nonomura and Kenzan Ogata, and the innovative and technically brilliant Kozan Makuzu, by far the most famous and influential has been the twentieth century folk craft (mingei)  movement potter Shoji Hamada (1894-1978).