Friday, April 27, 2007

Paul Lewing's China Paint & Overglaze

Paul REALLY knows his stuff. This is a great book. This book covers so much territory, it's a mini history of an area of ceramics that has not been addressed in such a contemporary way. With this book, Paul has created benchmark and a major reference as an example for others to use in this kind of research. It's a great resource not only for potters, but historians, china painters, antique dealers and collectors.

I know how long he has been working on this and the results are stunning. I'm savoring this book in bits in order to absorb the amount of information that is packed between the covers. Paul not only is tackling the subject full-on from the origins and progression of china decoration through cultures, there's a complete data dump of technical aspects; tools, chemistry and technique. Makes ya want to run, RUN to your studio and start working! (Big problem there, since I usually get my reading in while all tucked up in bed between 9 p.m. and 10 or 11 o'clock at night.)

Beside being a luscious book to look at, it's a generous one. The narrative is easy, just like talking to Paul, and completely comprehensible. He holds nothing back, giving everything he knows and he knows a lot. I'm so glad the publisher, The American Ceramic Society, splashed out in heavy-duty slick pages and beautiful color photographs.

You may need two copies. One to keep pristine in your house and one to paw over in the studio! Go to Paul's webpage at to order the book.


Sister Creek Potter said...

Jeanette, me again! Paul's book is pretty pricy--though I know he has a lot to offer. But since I am not interested in china painting is there enough on overglaze painting to make it valuable to me?
I am fond of Paul and I was glad to see your enthusiastic review.
Gay Judson

clayartist said...

Hi, Gay,
I haven't gotten to the overglaze part of the book yet, but there's about 75 pages of information and examples of overglaze. Various techniques are discussed such as stamping, silk screen, the painterly effect, decals, airbrushing, enamels, raised paste, lusters, and the mural process.

He gives you all the information about different approaches and on how to get there, but doesn't walk you through it like the 'do as I do' art books.

The book is 237 pages in total.

You might harangue your local library to buy a copy. They're usually interested in what their patrons want to have available.