The Birth of Ceramic Art
● In the early 1900s, factories had taken over
almost all aspects of production of useful
● As a result, in the 1940s & 50s, British potter
Bernard Leach (1887 – 1979) pushed for the
revival of handmade ceramics.
● This movement was known as the Studio Potter
● Leach had studied
with clay masters in
Japan and was
influenced by their
● In 1940, he published
A Potter's Book, which
emphasized the value
of handmade pottery.
● Leach set up a pottery
studio in St. Ives, England
with the help of Shoji
● Hamada was an
potter whom Leach had
worked with in Japan.
● Hamada later achieved
worldwide recognition for
his ceramic work.
The Leach Pottery Studio
● St. Ives became a place where potters were
trained to produce simple, straightforward pots
that focused primarily on function.
● Later Leach and Hamada travelled the world
teaching the fundamental principles of clay
● American & Canadian pottery in the 1950s was
heavily influenced by Leach and Hamada views.
● Voulkos was a talented potter and teacher
in west coast California.
● He met Leach and Hamada when they
toured the U.S.A. in 1952.
● He was inspired to become part of the
movement to emphasize the importance of
● In 1953, he met and was influenced by
artists involved in the Abstract
● Abstract Expressionism is a type of art in
which the artist expresses himself using
form and colour. It is non-
representational, which means that there
are no actual objects represented.
● Over the next decades,
Voulkos pushed the
boundaries of functional clay
● His work shifted away from
traditional forms, and he
began to make large
● The only purpose of these
non-functional forms was to
highlight the expressive
potential within clay.
Craft VS. Art
● Until Voulkos, the boundary between craft and art
had been clear.
● Voulkos' abstract expressionist pots blurred the
boundary between craft and art.
● A new concept: Ceramic Art came into being.
● A clay object could now be valued solely for its
sensory and aesthetic properties.
REFLECTION: UNIT 5
1) How did you come up with your idea for your Culminating
Activity? Why did you make this?
2) What techniques did you use to build your project?
3) How successful were you in shaping the clay into the form
you wanted? Were you able to smooth bumps and cracks?
4) Were you successful in glazing your project? Did you add
enough decoration? Did you use enough colours and
5) What parts of your project need improvement?