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A Short Guide To Ceramic Art

Jun 25, 2008
Taking up pottery as a hobby seemed easier when I was a young child, but proved to be something that never interested me. Now, it seems there is nothing more that I want to do than mould a clay into a funny shaped bowl or a unique looking plate. The best part is when you paint and design the dish at the end. The whole process of pottery is completed in a slow, relaxing motion, with steady hands and plenty of patience.

For people who are new to pottery, this is simply the art of creating dishware and adding to the ceramic arts collection. Even though on some famous Hollywood movies pottery is seen to be a romantic activity and a rather easy one at that, it is in fact a difficult art form and very romantic. As cheesey as it might sound this art form is in fact a very old technique and works on promoting a very relaxed approach to creating masterpiece dishes.

Historically pottery was believed to have started in 29,000 to 25,000BC whereby they were hand built and fire in a bon fire. The highest temperature reached from these fires is speculated to have reached around 900 degrees Celsius, which is enough to manipulate sand, crushed shell, grit and bits of pottery from old dishes. The earliest known pottery was of the Gravettian figurine, which is now the Czech Republic.

There have also been some earthenware excavated in China which date back as far as 10,000BC. There have also been vessels found in Japan that date back 10,500BC, which depict much of the Japanese culture on the designs. There have been much evidence of pottery being developed in ancient India, Africa and South America - these were developed independently. Some of these can be seen in local museums, depicting their culture and historical events.

There are three different types of wares earthenware, stoneware and petunste (otherwise known in the West as China clay). The latter of the two, was specifically a Chinese invention and was commonly used in Chinese Porcelain. It is believed that the Chinese people had invented porcelain soon after the Han period, between 200 BC to AD 220. This was a popular type of ware amongst the European for its refined white body and form.

Earthenware has been used for centuries, with the techniques of making earthenware virtually unchanged. This is a blend of clays put together, which is baked in the oven to harden. This is then glazed over to give it a smooth and shiny finish. Stoneware is a much more preferred type of ware for domestic uses and sets into a tough dish once placed in a kiln.

Potters have honed their pottery techniques over the years, beginning with glazing techniques. Glaze was once used as a decorative substance rather than a way of smoothing out the ware once made. This made it watertight and easier to handle. There soon followed coloured glazes. Famous pottery masterpieces have maintained a strong reputation for ceramic arts, these include Pate-sur-pate (Paste on paste) by Marc Louis Solon, products and wares by Josiah Wedgewood, works by Frederick Hurton Read and the famous Minton collections.
About the Author
Anna Stenning is an expert on pottery having taken up lessons in her local town.
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