The way we perceive art has an effect on how we interpret it. Often our experience of art & craft is not first-hand, but from magazines, television or from the Internet. We have become a visual society, relying more heavily than before on the still or moving image for our experience of news, knowledge or culture.
Much of what we know about ceramics comes from books or magazines. Some of these magazines are now available on the Net in an abreviated form (hey, they still want you to subscribe to their hardcopy!), translating the printed publishing medium into an electronic one. Of course, as you know, HTML (hypertext markup language) offers quite different possibilities of cross-linking references than the printed medium, and knows no geographical bounds. Actually there are also similarities between the two, with the print media now usually first scanning in the images that are then translated into print. With the Net, the last step has dissappeared, although anyone can reproduce it if they have a printer. There you have it -the hardcopy!
In the context of how we see images of ceramics, the international magazine Ceramics Art & Perception has a very appropriate name. It lives up to the standard implied, delivering articles that deal with ceramic art on a conceptual level, even when talking about the 'vessel'. It's international flavor can be seen in articles from all continents, even as far flung (for some of us) as Africa, eg. the article A Ceramic Safari in East Africa, by Reid Harvey.
The magazine Ceramics Technical deals with technical issues that concern the studio potter or ceramic artist, but it is not a dry technical paper, it blends interesting work with technical discourse to make fairly lively reading for the ceramist. Topics also cover 'Ceramics on the Net', and Virtual Vessels.
Pottery in Australia is the magazine of the Potter's Society of Australia. It offers a glimpse of the hardcopy with the article 'Glebe Pottery Studio' by Sue Buckle, which deals with setting up a ceramics studio.
The Minnesota Clay USA Spring '97 Newsletter offers an on-line gallery page, a glaze page, articles on White Earthenware, Recycling Clay and a Book Review. There are also links to the Fall '96 Newsletter and the Winter '96 Newsletter.
Germany is also strongly represented with the German language magazines Kalkspatz Töpferblatt, KeramikMagazin, and Neue Keramik.
More and more ceramics magazines are finding themselves on the Net. Will the Net replace traditional printing media, as some publishers are afraid of? There might be more and more ceramics appearing on the Web, but quality of image and the texture of the paper will stay with us for some time yet to come - it's hard to snuggle up with a lap-top in bed to do some late night reading...