On the Cover: Jen Mecca’s salt and pepper shakers, wheel-thrown and handbuilt porcelain, fired to cone 8, 2012.

One of the greatest things about working in clay is that it is fertile ground for distractions. You can only imagine how hard it is to spend every day in an office filled with creative materials! From reviewing articles for future issues of PMI, watching the next issue of Ceramics Monthly come together, getting daily ideas and tips from Ceramic Arts Daily and Ceramic Arts Daily Forums, to reading press releases for shows, new books, and a steady stream of ceramic art magazines from all over the world, there’s no lack of distractions.


I’ve often admired those potters who have created a “body of work,” Many of them—Jason Bige Burnett, Posey Bacopoulos, Courtney Murphy, Ursula Hagens, Sarah Jaeger, Margaret Bohls, and scores more—have graced the pages of PMI, revealing signature techniques that make their work universally recognizeable. In many cases, these professionals have worked for years perfecting techniques, not to be unique, but to pursue a goal of creating work that flows from within. Admirable, but, alas, I’m not one of them.

Every time I get into the studio, usually after an issue has gone out, I either look at some of the random sketches I’ve made in a sketch book, think about trying out a new form or decoration from the magazine, try to remember what it was my daughter thought would be a great gift for her for Christmas, or just stand there for awhile, looking at the mess I left when I was in the studio last. Yes, the studio is a haven of possibilities and the ultimate source of many interesting distractions.

Lucky for all of us, not everyone operates like I do in a studio. In this issue, we feature the work of talented, goal-oriented artists like Alice Drew making silkscreens with, of all things, a Thermofax machine (yes, they’re still around!), Billy Lloyd throwing and trimming pots to industrial standards, Nick Ramey creating quirky vases, and Jen Mecca elevating salt and peper shakers to center stage. The interesting thing about this issue is just how diverse the techniques are—throwing, handbuilding, image transfer, trimming, altering, slip decoration, and sprigging.

Whether you’re a potter who focuses on a particular style or enjoys a constant diet of interesting detours, we’re sure you’ll enjoy this issue. I’m just not sure where to begin. Hmmmmm. Maybe my kids would like some of those salt and pepper shakers for Christmas? Squirrel!

               Bill Jones, Editor


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In this issue

Going Thermal 

by Alice Drew


Alice Drew used to create intricate drawings on her pots but found the effort difficult and tedious. When she was introduced to an old ThermoFax machine, it was just a matter of time before she figured out how to transfer her artwork to the ceramic surface. 


A Vase with Personality

by Nick Ramey


A vase can sit quietly, waiting for flowers, or it can invite the flowers in for a quirky party. Nick Ramey shows you how to throw and alter a cylinder then remove darts to refine the shape. 


A Stage and Its Characters

by Jen Mecca


Handbuilt salt and pepper shakers are interactive pairs and perfect forms to individualize and dramatize. Join Jen Mecca as she demonstrates her technique for creating highly imaginative salt and pepper shakers elevated to the stage. This would be an ideal gift idea for any occasion.


Material, Form, and Function

by Billy Lloyd


A studio potter and designer shares his technique for making lidded jars that are all about clean lines and function. With a desire to imitate the look and feel of industrially-designed functional ware, Billy Lloyd reveals his techniques for throwing then tooling forms to create crisp, sleek pieces that belie their rustic origins on the wheel.

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In the Mix: Orange and Red Glazes

by Linda Bloomfield


Add a little color from the hot range of the spectrum. Linda provides guidance and recipes for a variety of temperature ranges. Excerpted from Colour in Glazes.



Tools of the Trade: KilnLink

by Bill Jones


Ever wish you could know what your kiln is doing while you’re away? Developed by Skutt, KilnLink is the latest technology in kilns.



Supply Room: Thermo-Fax

by Alice Drew


Finding a Thermo-Fax machine isn’t the easiest thing to do, but Alice Drew provides pointers on how to get one and where to look.




Tips from the Pros: Trim and Fit

by Maggie Connolly


A lot of potters struggle to get great fitting lids for their jars. Here’s are some tips from Yingge Ren of northern Henan, China on her successful technique.



Instructor’s File: Replacing Kiln Elements

by David Gamble


Sooner or later you’re going to need to replace the elements in you kiln. David Gamble shows you he changed the elements in his kiln so you can see just exactly what you may have to deal with. Do it yourself or call in the expert? This will make it easier to decide.


Off the Shelf: Majolica Decoration and Ceramic Decals

reviewed by Sumi von Dassow


Read Sumi’s reviews for Majolica Decoration and Ceramic Decals


Pottery Illustrated: Chinese Vessel Forms

illustrated by Robin Ouellette




To purchase this back issue, call 1-800-340-6532. 

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