Another Random Book Review

As I continue to mend I’ve begun rummaging through my collection of books on clay, starting with the oldest and wandering from there. I enjoy the sometimes archaic language and the strong opinions that seem to have disappeared as we’ve gotten more ‘civilized’. The stronger the opinion the better, I say, whether I agree or not.

Birch’s Ancient Pottery by Samuel Birch is a 2 volume set printed in 1858. There are no photos, but it is illustrated with 100’s of fine lithographs and in some ways they make it easier to see the form of a piece.

Mr. Birch’s intro begins: “A work has long been required which should embody the general history of the FICTILE art of the ancients”…I had to look up ‘fictile’ ( It’s from the Latin word meaning to mold). I should have known that…now we all do!
He also writes: “In the application of form in art, the Greeks have excelled all nations, either past or present.”
In another of my favorites, The Book of Pottery and Porcelain by Warren Cox (also 2 volumes, copyright 1944) the author disagrees: “We, therefore, find at times a certain coldness in the art of the Greeks. It is though they prefer a straight line to a curve.” I believe the later to be true, but mostly I enjoy the differing views of the experts.

I’ve been playing around with some bead making and pendants for Nicky to turn into necklaces.
I do enjoy working on wee little things. Most of these are from stamps I’ve carved from fine white clay and biscuit-fired.

For those keeping score, I visited my surgeon today and he won’t be needing my company again for 6 months! Another positive milestone.

8 Responses to “Another Random Book Review”

  1. Incognito

    Interesting that I should look here today as I’m searching for some inspiration in building a chalice for my Fellowship. The photo of the piece on the Burch book is very much like an idea I’ve been toying with; I think it is a message to run with it and try it and see if it works.

    Thanks for that. And also thanks for the message about your health; it seems such a long time since I saw you last and am glad for your positive updates. Peace.

  2. Hollis Engley

    Good to hear you’re not being a lazy good-for-nothing in your recovery time. Work, work, work …
    Just came back from the Fuller Museum’s Warren McKenzie show. About 200 pots from all stages of his career, many lovely ones. Couple of Hamada pots, also, and a couple of Leach. Very nice show.

  3. Aaron Sober


    Glad you are feeling better and better. Also glad to be able to keep up with you again a little. Who said the internet was of no use?

    I whipped out Leach’s Potter’s Book today for a second. I prefer short doses of wisdom from the old masters, like shot of whiskey or a bat to the side of the head! Keep recovering…

  4. soubriquet

    Hey, have you got Bernard Palissy’s “Most Addmirable Discourses”?
    I have only a photocopied version, and only part of the book, but it’s a fascinating and humorous read. I must write a post about it, poor Bernard, desperately close to achieving his desired temperature, running out of stoking wood, so smashing chairs and tables in his house, then ripping up his floorboards to feed the kiln’s ever hungry maw….

  5. Elizabeth

    Dan ! Your pendants are wonderful and will work up inot some wonderful necklaces! It must feel realy good to get your fingers back inotthe clay, even if only for a little bit on,little things. Every little bit helps!!
    Elizabeth W.


Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)