New Book Chronicles Urban Ceramics Movement

Our very own Editor at Large Katie Treggiden has written her third book. Urban Potters: Makers in the City, published by Ludion (and distributed in the United States by Abrams) explores the contemporary urban ceramics movement in six cities around the world – London, Copenhagen, New York, Sao Paulo, Sydney and Tokyo.

The book features 28 rising stars of the studio pottery world. Treggiden says in the introduction to the book, “My hope is to tell a more inclusive story of clay, recognizing the diversity of its craftsmen – and women.” She certainly achieves that in the New York chapter, in which all seven potters are female.

As well as an introductory essay that explains the perhaps unexpected urban nature of the contemporary studio ceramics movement (“the contemporary ceramics movement, and indeed the birth and growth of ceramics, are in fact inextricably tied to urbanization” says Treggiden), each chapter gets its own introductory essay too, telling one of the many stories of the heritage of studio pottery in that city.

In the introduction to the New York chapter, titled “Escape and Experimentation”, Treggiden tells the stories of Eva Zeisel, Ruth Duckworth, and Marguerite Wildenhain, all of whom came to the US to escape from Nazi Europe, and how their experimental styles inspired generations of ceramics artists to come, from Peter Voulkos to the potters included in the chapter – Helen Levi (whose hands appear on the front cover), Josephine Heilpern, Nina Lalli & Jennifore Fiore aka Mondays, Natalie Weinberger, Romy Northover and Shino Takeda.

London, Copenhagen, Sao Paulo, Sydney and Tokyo are explored in the same way, and in fact during this year’s London Design Festival, London is explored in more depth in a specially curated exhibition of the London-based potters in the book, alongside a series of workshops, demonstrations, talks and film screenings to be held at contract carpet brand Milliken’s London showroom. If you’re in London for design week, you can register for workshops here and here and for the launch event, complete with talk and book signing, here.

The combination of in-depth essays and profiles of contemporary ceramic artists make this a book that will appeal equally to those who are new to pottery and to those with their own practice who want to learn more. It is more than just a coffee table book, although certainly beautiful enough to be left out on display. Urban Potters is out September 19th but you can pre-order your copy on Amazon now.

Jaime Derringer, Founder + Executive Editor of Design Milk, is a Jersey girl living in SoCal. She dreams about funky, artistic jewelry + having enough free time to enjoy some of her favorite things—running, reading, making music, and drawing.