Saturday, May 22, 2010

Best Ceramic Books; my choice.

Best Ceramic books; identifies my personal choice of ceramic publications that are most influential, inspiring and informative from a conceptual and creative angle. They are books that I have personally purchased and constantly refer to. They are reference material that I believe every ceramist should have close at hand, when writing papers about ceramics from a historical and contemporary perspective. But more importantly they are publications that provide insight into cutting edge ceramic statements; a collection of ceramic works and or views that provide insight into recent ceramic developments that are both innovative and creative.  

Magazines, online and or hardcopy, are always the best way to gain insight into cutting edge ceramic statements, but well illustrated books with insightful and well researched and documented text, often brings together ceramic art, craft and design statements within chapters; a well researched  and documented publication of current issues, trends and inspirational works. 

The first book I recommend is Confrontational Ceramics. 

Confrontational Ceramics is written by by Judith Swartz. I did a comprehensive review of this publication for Ceramics Art and Perception the accredit ceramic magazine. The review is available at On line library follow the link. This particular publication is most suitable for ceramists specializing in expressive ceramics (Fine Art approach). The publication covers a broad range of ceramic sculptures, murals and installations from all over the world. Curated exhibitions related to the publication has had an enormous impact on the viewers perception of the role of ceramics in a changing society.    
The second book I recommend is titled Fragiles.
This well illustrated publication mainly showcases utilitarian ceramics and glass produced by contemporary designers, designer makers and or ceramists, embracing ceramic ornament and or the  utilitarian function of products to express themselves. With Fine Art increasingly conceptual,  the Design Fraternity has capitalized on the gap in the market for one-of-a -kind inspired, 'couture like' design statements. They have turned to the out of work artisans and craftspeople, and in co-operation with Ceramic Factories, to produce their 'couture like' inspired 'Neo Sculpture' products - imbued with meaning and significance (work featured on the cover is by Hella Yongerius). This publication showcases a wide range of designer products embracing, for instance, ceramic transfers in a variety of design styles to compliment the innovative ceramic forms and shapes. 

The third book I recommend is titled Manufractured; The Conspicuous transformation of Everyday objects, by Steven S Holt and Mara H Skov. As our concept of luxury shifts, we pursue products with not just a utilitarian function, decorative function and or ritualistic function but also a one-of-a-kind expressive function. The question being asked is, "did the globalisation of the 21st century finally vanquish what the great machines of the previous century could not do to the crafts" The answer is no, the emphatic response is captured in the introductory chapter of this particular publication. 
Crafts has found a new purpose, to a select group, in a variety of creative fields - from art to design, music to theatre and cinema including literature. (Steven Skov Holt, Manufractured, page 11). Expounded throughout the publication in carefully selected chapters is the work of contemporary designers showcasing their latest innovative and creative responses to form follows a variety of functions, including; Ornamentation, Fabrication, Dissection, Infection, Fusion, Manipulation and Perception to mention a few. 
The designers and artists included in this publication capitalized on the discarded spoils, including cheaply manufactured products and services to imbue their creative sollutions with a new found meaning; far beyond what our material specific disciplines and traditions could ever have imagined. They realised their creative concepts in direct response to the same challenges we as designer makers and studio ceramists had to face. 

The fourth book I recommend is titled Breaking the Mould. This publication provides insight into new Ceramic directions, concepts and trends. Products of ceramic beauty have to function within a changing world - numerous Ceramic academic departments are closing down whilst the big manufacturers and brands are under serious threat. "Change is not an issue of morality but one of inevitability. One cannot cling to the romance of the past eras and expect to make a fresh comment in one's own time" states Garth Clark and his partner Mark Del Vecchio (quoted by Karen Weiis at Change is occurring on all fronts, in an ever growing knowledge economy. This publication provides aspiring ceramic artists with insight into cutting edge ceramics from a conceptual perspective. From installations to murals, including ceramic ornaments; embracing every conceivable technique and process to achieve the creative intent. 

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