Read/Listen: Food, A Love Story/

I am enjoying this account of Jim and Food. Real and insightful and totally relatable.

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“What are my qualifications to write this book? None really. So why should you read it? Here’s why: I’m a little fat. If a thin guy were to write about a love of food and eating I’d highly recommend that you do not read his book.”

Bacon. McDonalds. Cinnabon. Hot Pockets. Kale. Stand-up comedian and author Jim Gaffigan has made his career rhapsodizing over the most treasured dishes of the American diet (“choking on bacon is like getting murdered by your lover”) and decrying the worst offenders (“kale is the early morning of foods”). Fans flocked to his New York Times bestselling book Dad is Fat to hear him riff on fatherhood but now, in his second book, he will give them what they really crave—hundreds of pages of his thoughts on all things culinary(ish). Insights such as: why he believes coconut water was invented to get people to stop drinking coconut water, why pretzel bread is #3 on his most important inventions of humankind (behind the wheel and the computer), and the answer to the age-old question “which animal is more delicious: the pig, the cow, or the bacon cheeseburger?”

Food as health and the American ideal of skinny is skwed and endless. We must be body positive and happy America has to change. Listen to this episode.

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Research: Book Review//The Greatest Art Potter on Earth, 2013


Eugene Hecht’s George Ohr: The Greatest Art Potter on Earth is simply a big book in every sense of the term. The color illustrations are sumptuous, many and mostly full page. The book design is exceptional (look for it as a contender in CFile’s design awards in September). The scholarship is exceptional.

There is a wealth of new research between these covers and Hecht has done heavy lifting in correcting Ohr’s mangled history, separating truth from both Ohr’s penchant for exaggeration and the many, tenacious, beguiling but fictional legends that have been attached the the Mad Potter. I have to admit, I’m sad to see some of these legends debunked.

Hecht is also an academic like Lippert, a noted physics professor, but there is no sense of this in the work except for the impeccable structure, fastidious footnoting and other scholar’s tools used to good effect. He writes with color and vibrancy and sets off on his journey explaining Ohr with such enthusiasm that the reader cannot help but plunge headlong into his narrative.

Fascinatingly, without being patronizing or obvious, Hecht is able to weave subtle and occasional folk cadences in his own writing. A word here and a phrase there emerge quite naturally. This light but sophisticated country twang gives Ohr a voice throughout…

Research: Shards by Garth Clark


Breaking the ceramic arts up into incisive, historic, award-winning essays, “Shards” is an anthology of writings by Garth Clark, one of the most noted proponents of the medium. The writings in this volume span 25 years of Clark’s important career as a critic, historian and dealer in ceramics. The compilation is divided into two parts and features over 150 duotones of seminal ceramic works. Part one deals with artists and contains catalogue and exhibition essays that focus on individual artists–contemporary and historic, domestic and foreign. Part two is dedicated to issues, including American ceramic history and general history; criticism, theory, scholarship and semantics; function and design; and finally, the marketplace. This volume also contains, among many of Clark’s seminal works, six previously unpublished articles, several on artists and others confronting some of the field’s more controversial topical issues. Sure to raise hackles among ceramists, not least of all among ceramics’ many teachers, is the chapter “Ceramic Education and the Culture of Amateurism.” Artists and students alike will be compelled and delighted by some of Clark’s best and most recent musings on maverick artists like British potter Grayson Perry, widely collected and celebrated by the likes of Charles Saatchi and Damien Hirst. “Shards” is the most comprehensive grouping of Clark’s writings to date.

Read it!: On Bullshit

This little book is highly enlightening and entertaining. It defines and muses about all the bullshit we make and take. The little book begins:

One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit. Everyone knows this. Each of us contributes his share. But we tend to take the situation for granted.


A theoretical understanding of bullshit is worth this little read when dealing with art!

Kilner: Japanese Kiln Diagrams

I have owned The Japanese Pottery Handbook for many many years. Illustrated by Lucy Kitto it is a charming volume. It has the simplest and best summary of Japanese kilns I have seen. Take a gander.

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Kiln(er): Kilns are often overlooked and certainly lack an online presence. They are a fundamental and endlessly interesting bit of the ceramic process. Thus under “kilner” (what I am affectionately referred to by a friend and what really perhaps all ceramists could be aptly called) we will explore the wonderful back breaking, hair singeing world of kilns.

Read it!: The Microcosmos

I have a shirt proclaiming “Magic is just stuff Science hasn’t made boring yet”. Now that isn’t all true Science is awesome and a pillar of the ceramic jive.

It is perhaps, however, the artist’s role to look at the stuff of science in a new light. To see both macro and micro in what cultural artistic role and values all the dry digits and glitchy readings might lend to the human spirit, to aesthetic expression. The artist must take what is seen everyday and sway a shift in consciousness, force one to see what has not been seen before. Today try to actually see what you look at everyday. We are so often shackled with blinders of our daily living when indeed there is great beauty there.

This book, The Microcosmos, lends a hand to such an end giving us a sampling of such beauty that science provides.








Read It!: The Art of the Future


I’d like to challenge you to read one of Paul’s essays each week for the next 14 weeks! I’ll do it if you do it!

Download the essays for free from Mathieu’s website here:

Chapter One, that is Essay One is entitled The Classical Esthetics: The Constancy of Form. Mathieu writes it while in China rationalizing the presence of Greek architecture and goes on to make an example of Greek pots in rationalizing forms and the odd context we place them in. My favorite tid bit is as follows:

Art History has this tendency to reposition objects in time, dissociating them from their original context and thus their original meaning. The consequences of this mindset are still with us today in our evaluation of art works and art practices.

My initial reaction was, well ya, of course. But if you really ponder that one we begin to let it sink in the fonduing principles of esthetics disseminated by the ever powerful and validating Art History as even more peculiar. All the more reason to read on!

Do you accept my challenge?

Food Activism: Food Rules

When did wanting healthy food for the masses become activism?

Food a basic human necessity, a basic human need is no longer the mainstay in our grocery stores. This scares me.

Yet it is a reality we, the masses, largely ignore. It is something we just live with and so the situation grows more and more dire. Real food, organic broccoli, is more expensive than a fast food burger, pop and fries. There is something so terribly wrong with the system.

However, fear is not the answer. Eating is.

Food is touchy matter rolled up in identity and family, heritage and status. No one wants to be to be guilty, to be wrong especially about something so intimate and pride full as food. The positive love and joy of eating real food together and feeling good is the answer- even when no one wants to be at the dinner table and manners seem like distant relics of the past. People are pack animals so lets eat together. All it takes is mindful eating and taking joy in it.

Micael Pollan- Investigative journalist has dedicated much of his career to questioning food and our food systems. Rather than being opinionated he finds facts and makes insightful links. Food Rules is a sweet little tome illustrated whimsically by Marina Kalman.

Food is a pleasure to eat and for some like me at the heart of an artistic practice. Food is part of every single persons daily existence, it is high time we gave it some thought! This lovely tome is here to help.

Get it from the library, give it as the next gift you have to give, get it for your kid, add it to your cookbooks.

The inside of the Food Rules book flap tells us that the book began with Michael Pollan’s “hunch that the wisdom of our grandparents might have more helpful things to say about how to eat well than the recommendations of science or industry or government”. I think he’s right!









Food Activism: I have been dwelling more and more on our North American food crisis, an eminent monster ravaging our schools and streets and homes giving our children shorter lifespans and depleting our lands and cultures. But there is hope and it comes in the form of loving and sharing food- not a task so far from the core of all ceramic practices! I am excited to look at the links between craftivism and food activism- in our minds, and daily lives, at our tables, in our ovens and communities and on our computers.}