Monday, June 6, 2011

channeling my inner Mick Casson

pitchers and large bowls
I've been working for the last 2 1/2 months on an order for a baptismal font and pitcher, so, as usual, am doing a variety of large bowls and pitchers.  In the next several blogs, I'll show some of the ways of throwing larger pitchers--something I've learned from several potters over the years, but the images and instructions I remember and have tried, myself, most often come from a book I have that was written by Michael Casson, the English potter.  It's called The Craft of the Potter, and has some very practical information.  The pitcher whose pouring spout I'm finishing off, here, is one that is thrown in two parts, with the second part (a ring) being added after the first part has set up.  When the pitchers are dry enough, I will pull their handles.  More, anon.


  1. When I googled The Craft of the Potter it came up with quite afew videos on youtube, there must have been a series to accompany the books?

  2. Yes, though, if I am interpreting the Editor's note, the BBC's TV series came first--starting transmissions in April, 1976. She (the editor, Anna Jackson) goes on to say that the book was written as a result of the response received to the series. "In the programs we tried to help the viewer not only to make a pot, but to make a better pot, by referring to the finest examples of historical and contemporary work; some of our most notable modern potters, such as David Leach, Alan Caiger-Smith, Mary Rogers and Walter Keeler contributed by showing their techniques and by giving an insight into the aesthetics behind these techniques. ....Lynne Reeve, who appeared in the programs, has written the section on glazes from her extensive knowledge and research."
    The Library on Congress data says"Published to accompany a series of programs prepared in consultation with the BBC Further Education Advisory Council." 1977
    So--if you keep on googling, you'll no doubt find even more!

  3. Hey, Ann, love those pitchers...
    I wrote about Mick Casson and The Craft of the Potter on my blog, and found this post when I was looking at the searches visitors to my blog were doing on google... And it popped your post up.

    Back in the early seventies, I was in the ceramics studio of Westminster College, Oxford, my tutor was George Owen-Jones, and he told us that the BBC was making a series on studio pottery, and we should watch it. I did, I was fascinated to see and hear all those people whose pots I'd admired at the Craftsman Potter's Shop in London.
    Of course, I straightaway ordered the book, which I still have.
    Later in life I met quite a few of those people, including Mick Casson, who was as lovely in real life as he appears on the videos.
    I felt like an imposter, meeting a 'real' potter, but in fact, Mick greeted me as an equal, as a member of a family of folk united in a common love of clay.
    He put me at ease by telling stories of some of the mistakes and disasters he'd met with on the way.

    The BBC series, oh, I wish they'd just put the whole thing on youtube.

    My post is here:

    If you love the Mick Casson videos, might I suggest you'd find Isaac Button, an old country potter, just as fascinating.

    Now I'll go read a few more posts on your blog.

    1. Thanks for your comments and links! How interesting that you had a chance to meet Mick Casson, and talk with him! (and I apologize for not having gotten to my response to your comments, earlier--the season's business has kept me away from the more thoughtful aspects of computer work). I have, in fact, seen an English movie done about Isaac Button--shown at the Wooster (OH) Functional workshop by potter Cary Hulin, a potter in Holmes County, Ohio. It's wonderful!