The Ceramic Spectrum
The accepted standard for understanding glazes, this book explores glaze and color making in a hands-on way that follows the empirical understanding used for thousands of years. 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 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.
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.
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.
"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