This is from “Ceramic ARTS NETWORK”  ROBIN HOPPER, Mike Gordon

The Ceramic Spectrum

The accepted standard for understanding glazes, underglazes, colored clays, and engobes, this book explores glaze and color making in a hands-on way that follows the empirical understanding used for...(Scroll for more.)

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Softcover | 256 Pages
Order code B079 | ISBN 978-1-57498-302-9

…thousands of years. The late Robin Hopper provides an impressive description of his extensive research into glaze, color, texture, and surface enrichment. It is the perfect practical complement to any glaze theory or process of calculation, including glaze calculation software programs.

The ultimate resource for color

The Ceramic Spectrum is mainly a story of personal discovery over a 45-year period, of playing with materials and fire and observing their interaction, of looking at colors and textures in nature and visualizing how to achieve them with ceramic materials, of looking at hundreds of thousands of glaze and color tests, always looking for the elusive or the unknown and sometimes being granted the unimaginable. Long-term interests in geology and ceramic history have also fueled this passion to understand and use elements of the earth to create objects of both usefulness and contemplation.

Hopper helps eliminate confusion for others through his personal experiences and observations with this medium. Pottery making is a continuum where one generation has learned from previous generations, some as a family pursuit and some through the inevitable seduction of material and process.

“For those who feel intimidated by chemical/mathematical formulation, it is my hope that in the exploration of this book it will be possible for the reader to find a new direction in the search for an individual idiom.” — Robin Hopper

The primary intent of The Ceramic Spectrum is not as recipe book, but to demystify an extremely complex subject. Although it has over 500 recipes, all of which work perfectly well and have been widely tested, they are given to suggest parameters in which these glazes develop, to show some of the variables that control both surface and color. This book aims to make available to the student of ceramics—whether beginner, advanced, or professional—an approach to the study of ceramic glaze and color development which does not rely on the use of published formulas, recipes or the mathematics of ceramic glaze calculation.

Glaze making is a process of creative thought. It goes back to the empirical methods, through intuition and observation of materials and fire, in use for nearly 5,000 years before the understanding of glaze formulation by mathematical equation and molecular weight of chemicals.

The aim of this book is to encourage personal curiosity and exploration of materials for glaze and color, so that anyone can develop their own glazes, without pain or anguish, and with a very exciting learning experience.

Ideal for a glaze course

The text is perfect as a course outline for either the individual or the group, where shared experiences tend to enhance and speed up the learning process. It should also be usable as a research tool for the understanding and development of colors, which may have previously seemed beyond reach.

Part One: The Basics

Robin Hopper is the consummate instructor. In the first part of the book, he provides you with a solid foundation so you’ll have the correct context to understand the complex world of creating the clays, glazes, and colors you want. Since his background is in the arts, he knows how to communicate his vast technical knowledge in a way everyone can understand it. He provides a brief technical history along with a classification of ware types, as well as an overview of kilns and firing.

Part Two: The Development of Glaze

With a good understanding of the basics, Robin delves into the realm of glaze calculation and what it does and doesn’t do, along with a discussion of the types of materials you’ll need. He also covers record keeping and testing procedures that will help keep you organized. The next thing Robin covers is all the materials from basic raw materials to frits, oxides and stains. You’ll learn important information about eutectics (the effect that combining materials has on melting points), and instructions on creating triaxial and quadraxial blends. In the final section of this critical part of the text, Robin discusses fluxes, flux variations, wood ash glazes, flashers, oriental glazes, as well as glaze defaults and their remedies.

Part Three: The Development of Color

Once you have an understanding of the basics of clay and glazes, you’re ready for actual color development, Here Robin discusses the materials you need for underglazes, glazes, and clay bodies as well as specialized items like underglaze pencils, pastels and watercolors. You’ll discover how to get color variations and develop specific colors unique to what you want to do. In addition, there are sections on opacification, textural variations, Egyptian paste, terra sigs, and patinas. No other book in ceramic art covers everything to the extent that this book does.

Part Four: Attacking the Surface

Once you’ve developed the colored clays, glazes, slips and underglazes you want, how you apply them can affect your final results. Understanding this, Robin provides instructions for brushing, dipping, pouring, spraying, stippling, spattering, sponging, trailing, applying multiple glazes, and glaze removal processes like resist and sgraffito. While these techniques all appear in his later book Making Marks, their mention here provides a great overview. Robin includes many images throughout the book both from his own work over the years as well as many noted artists.

About the Author

The late Robin Hopper was a potter, author, teacher, consultant and garden designer. He had been working in the field of ceramics in 1955. He had numerous one-man exhibitions and was the first recipient of the Bronfman Award, one of Canada’s most prestigious awards. He was the author of The Ceramic Spectrum and Making Marks, and created several DVDs featuring throwing and decorating techniques. Since 1972 until his death, he had been a full-time studio artist and, with his wife Judi Dyelle, operated ‘Chosin Pottery Inc., Victoria, B.C., Canada.