It’s almost a tradition by now: Richard Phethean for the third time opens our workshop season with his throwing course.

This is also the year when his very successful book about throwing, is being reedited by A&C Black, due for publication Summer 2012.

An excert from the Introduction of The New Ceramics: Throwing 

I enrolled at Camberwell Art College in 1971 and during my foundation year spent a week of making pots on the wheel under the guidance of Colin Pearson. His throwing demonstrations were captivating and mesmerizing, he was a great teacher and I was immediately hooked.

It is nearly four decades since that magic moment. I have made a career from making pots and teaching others to make pots. In 1979, in my first small studio in South London I took students for one-to-one tuition in throwing. It occurred to me that this was analogous with music tuition, where visits to a specialist teacher, for practical and technical guidance, punctuate hours of solo practice. These sessions taught me to identify the critical points in the throwing process to a student and in 1990 I was able to incorporate these in my first published book on Throwing. My aim was simply to produce a really solid practical guide.

This book aims to mix that important technical advice with a passion and enthusiasm for pots. Making pots, using pots and appreciating the form of pots. Whether you attend a regular pottery classes, are an enthusiastic amateur with a studio space of your own or are setting out on a career as a professional, there is a huge amount of pleasure to be had from learning to make, refine and finish pots made on the potter’s wheel.

Sections in brief:
• Preparation – equipment, tools and clay
• Basic Skills – analysing technique, throwing simple generic shapes, troubleshooting, finishing and refining
• Making domestic pots – examining the form, function and design of utilitarian pots and how to make them
• Advanced skills- increasing scale, manipulating, altering and distorting, composite and sculptural forms
• The artist potter – the thoughts and personal approaches of selected contemporary makers

The history of vessel making in this way is as ancient as civilisation itself. Many classic periods, in pottery terms, produced wares of such outstanding simple beauty, that they continue to inspire new devotees of the craft.

Today the approaches to throwing are as varied as in any field of the arts and crafts.
The spectrum spans the diverse use of clays glazes and firing techniques, from the delicate translucency of porcelain to the robust earthiness of terra cotta, from vibrant primary colour to subtle natural hues, and from the familiar homeliness of domestic ware to the dramatic impact of sculpture.
There are potters for whom the discipline of technical excellence is crucial to their working life and the quality their output, but there are others who have opted to exploit the expressive and accidental nuances of a freestyle use of the wheel who are unbound by the strict application of the conventions.

This book embraces and celebrates this diversity and offers encouragement to explore, experiment, expand and improve your throwing skills.