Ceramics Today
Home | Articles | Featured Artists | Contact | Search
Book Review

Ceramic Extruding, Inspiration and Technique
by Tom & Jean Latka

I would hardly have thought it possible to write such a comprehensive book on the topic of extruding clay, but Tom and Jean Latka's publication "Ceramic Extruding, Inspiration and Technique" proves me wrong. This 140 page, full color, soft cover book deals with all aspects of the topic, ranging from a history of extruding to specific formulas for extruding clay bodies through to constructing your own dies.

Book Cover ArtExtruding is a technique that is well suited to clay and perhaps one that is not afforded enough credit, considering the wide gamut of applications it can be used for. These range from the pavement brick to the extruded pitcher or the constructed, multi-part, extruded clay sculpture. As the clay is extruded, it is compressed, giving it enough structural strength to withstand even stoneware firings. Various formulas are offered for plastic clays suitable for extruding and for different firing temperatures. There is even a formula for a kiln furniture clay, for those who like to make this sort of thing themselves.

One of the most important aspects of extruding is die construction. Dies can be purchased from commercial sources, but constructing your own will enable you to make shapes not available commercially and will widen the range of possible applications considerably. A chapter on dies offers knowledgeable and comprehensive advice on construction theory. How do dies work? How should they be constructed? How does clay flow through them? Next are how-to instructions for the potter. What kind of materials are suitable? How do you make a solid 'coil plus' or hollow die?

This is sound technical advice, but the book does not just tell you how to make dies and extrude clay. It also explains in great depth how to use the extruded material. Extruder projects show how to make platters, bowls, weave coils, attach extruded handles, make napkin rings, umbrella stands, work through tile projects and more. A gallery of extruded art offers full color examples of what can be done, ranging from the monumental wall piece to extruded animal sculptures and woven clay baskets. Final chapters on common problems and their solutions and studio safety deal with issues specific to extruding clay and a final chapter shares some of the authors' experiences establishing a business in making art.

This is a comprehensive book on the topic of extruding clay, and certainly a very useful one for the student as well as the established potter, who would like to delve deeper into this ceramic technique.

More Reviews

© Ceramics Today