[Clayart] About writing clay books

Dragonbelly Ceramics lisa at dragonbellyceramics.com
Fri Feb 10 22:49:32 UTC 2023

Over the past year, I've taken on the role as glaze tech for my community
pottery studio. In that time, I have collected a lovely library of glaze

Yes, there is glazy and other internet sites and I do use them, but being
able to flip through a textbook, take notes, and mark pages is far more
useful to me.

So thank you all for writing those books!

LJ Cohen

On Fri, Feb 10, 2023, 1:30 PM <vincepitelka at gmail.com> wrote:

> Mel's post about writing books got me thinking about this.  I have talked
> to a lot of other people in ceramics who have written books.  The only ones
> I have known personally who made good money off them were Susan Peterson
> and Robin Hopper.  But both of them put huge effort into writing many books
> in a time before so much how-to information was available online.
> I got into writing my book accidentally.  I have always prepared a lot of
> handouts as an efficient way to pass on information.  If you haven't done
> so, go to the "Documents and Handouts" page of my website and you'll see.
> My first full-time teaching job was at North Dakota State University in
> Fargo, and the Art Department was run on a shoestring budget.  I was going
> over to the Division of Fine Arts office every other day or so to copy
> handouts for my classes, and it was cutting into the Art Department
> budget.  The Division Director told me that the college bookstore could
> arrange to have the campus print shop print all my ceramics handouts and
> assemble them into a bound volume and the students would buy it for a
> nominal fee.  The students paid $7.50 for the collection of handouts with a
> nice cover, and they could no longer misplace individual handouts, and I no
> longer had to spend so much time copying and assembling handouts.  It
> worked out great for everyone.
> When I was hired at Tennessee Tech's Appalachian Center for Craft in 1994,
> I was teaching students from intro up to a far more advanced level than
> anything we had at NDSU, so I greatly expanded the handouts and created an
> intro and an advanced version.  From there it just made sense to redo the
> whole thing as a proper book, and ACerS published the first version of
> "Clay: A Studio Handbook" in 2001.  At that time ACerS was printing books
> domestically and would only do black and white images.  In 2014, Sherman
> Hall at ACerS talked me into upgrading the book and said that they would
> print color illustrations, so that made a big difference in the edition
> that came out in 2016.
> Mel is right.  You don't make much money on print "how-to" books in the
> age of the Internet, but creating the original edition at the turn of the
> millennium and redoing the book with color images in 2015 brought me
> enormous satisfaction.  Committed teachers like me, Mel, Linda Arbuckle,
> Bill Schran, Julia Galloway, and so many others. get obsessive about
> passing on good information.
> - Vince
> Vince Pitelka
> Potter, Writer, Teacher
> Chapel Hill, NC
> vpitelka at dtccom.net
> www.vincepitelka.com
> https://chathamartistsguild.org/
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