Clay Pop: Author Alia Dahl

Clay Pop documents the reinvention of ceramic sculpture by a new generation of artists.

A medium that has often been characterized as more craft than art, clay is now an exciting platform for formal and conceptual innovation. Traditionally diverged from engagement with popular culture, clay is now adding a new dimension to Pop Art.

Paralleling current concerns in painting, many of the thirty-eight artists featured in Clay Pop are also exploring issues of gender, race, and identity, using clay in novel ways to engage with social issues. Artists are employing the medium to create a personal narrative, pushing clay beyond the confines of craft and design.

Much of the new work is exuberant and figurative, expanding on how the medium of clay has been traditionally used. Glazes are especially colorful, reflecting a range of influences that encompass vernacular commercial imagery and artistic sources from African American assemblage to Walt Disney. Funk art from 1970s Northern California is a source, as is the work of Pop artists like Claes Oldenburg. Some of the artists also draw on artistic influences from the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.

Sections on each of the forty featured artists include a profile on their ceramic practice, images of their work, and a biography. The introduction describes the artists’ interconnected community while two longer essays place the work, mostly created in the past five years, in the context of the histories of Pop Art and ceramics.

Mastering Sculpture: The Figure in Clay: A Guide to Capturing the Human Form for Ceramic Artists (Mastering Ceramics)

Explore the human form in depth, from concept sketches and armatures to detailed instructions for constructing legs, torso, arms, hands, and head from clay.

In Mastering Sculpture: The Figure in Clay, renowned sculptor and instructorCristina Córdova teaches everything you need to know to replicate the full human figure using clay.
Start by developing meaningful sketches and reference points.
Then learn how to make and use an armature to create hollow forms that are safe to fire in a kiln.
Using patterns and slabs, you can move on to develop a full human form, head to toe.
Work along with the author to create a form about two-feet tall, or choose your own size: the patterns and instructions can work in a variety of scales.
Photographic demonstrations and diagrams cover the construction and articulation of feet and legs, the hip area and upper torso, arms, hands, neck, and head. Cristina includes supplementary tips and insights throughout to support the sculpting process and enhance naturalism. You’ll also find a brief section on general anatomical concepts and modeling strategies to facilitate accuracy and expression as all the components come together.

Whether you are a clay artist with limited experience in figurative sculpture or a figurative sculptor outside the world of ceramics looking for a straightforward fabrication strategy to create permanent compositions from clay, Mastering Sculpture: The Figure in Clay will expertly guide your way.

Listening to Clay: Conversations with Contemporary Ceramic Artists

An unusual book of interviews with 16 of the most important living
ceramic artists of Japan between the ages of 60 to 90, held with the
acclaimed art historian and ceramic scholar Louise Allison Court and the
long-time American collectors of Contemporary Japanese ceramics,
Halsey and Allison North, as well as interviews with leading art dealers
who helped Western collectors build comprehensive collections and
further the understanding of modern Japanese ceramics. It is a
fascinating document for whoever is interested in delving further into
understanding this particular aesthetic. It puts these artists within the
historic ceramic history of Japan and brings us closer to their working
and thinking processes and beliefs, as well as their dialog with the
international ceramic field. Many of the works of these artists can be
seen in the collection of the Metropolitan museum of Art on permanent

Wild Clay: creating ceramics and glaze from natural and found resources:

The ultimate illustrated guide for sourcing, processing and using wild clay.

Potters around the world are taking to the local landscape to dig their own wild clay, discover its unique properties, and apply it to their craft. This guide is the ideal starting point for anyone – from novices, improvers and experts to educators and students – who wants to forge a closer bond between their art and their surroundings.

Testing and trial and error are key to finding a material's best use, so the authors' tips, drawn from long experience in the US and Japan (but which can be applied to clays anywhere) provide an enviable head-start on this rewarding journey. A clay might be best suited to sculpture and tile bodies, throwing clay bodies, handbuilding and slab bodies, or simply be applied as a glaze or slip. The specific properties of found materials can create a diverse range of effects and surfaces, or, even when not fired, can be adapted for use as colorful pastels or pigments.

Beautiful illustrations and helpful technical descriptions explain the formation of various clays; how to locate, collect and assess them; how to test their properties of shrinkage, water absorption, texture and plasticity; the best ways to test-fire them; and how to adapt a clay's characteristics by blending appropriate materials. From prospecting in the field to holding your finished product, there is helpful advice through every stage, and a gallery of work by international potters who have embraced the clays found around them.

Brilliant Earth: The Ceramic Sculpture of Tony Marsh

The Long Beach Museum of Art is proud to present a companion book to the exhibition, Brilliant Earth: The Ceramic Sculpture of Tony Marsh. The catalog features all works presented in the exhibition along with installation images from the galleries.

back to top