cover image The Beginner’s Guide to Hand Building: Functional and Sculptural Projects for the Home Potter

The Beginner’s Guide to Hand Building: Functional and Sculptural Projects for the Home Potter

Sunshine Cobb. Quarry, $24.99 trade paper (176p) ISBN 978-0-7603-7476-4

Ceramicist Cobb (Mastering Hand Building) marries form and function in her masterful debut, a look at “the mysterious and magical world of clay.” She begins with an overview of best practices for posture and breathing at the wheel, as well as stretches to warm up one’s hands for working clay. Once the preliminaries are out of the way, on come the projects. There are 16 of them, equally divided into sculptural and functional sections, and ranging from handheld to heftier items: “Creatures” offers a fox sculpture perfect for a cottagecore aesthetic; “Mobiles” pieces together raindrops and clouds for a darling ceiling piece; and “Candelabra,” the star of the sculptural section, is an intricate challenge. Cobb posits that “beauty can impact our daily life,” and that sentiment is reflected in her functional projects: a rustic scoop for measuring ingredients, a citrus reamer (“use your hand size... to help inform the handle shape”), and a match striker to complement the candelabra. With ideas ranging from beginner to advanced, this inimitable guide is one for the long haul. (Sept.)