Monday, May 4, 2009

Clear as Mud

Michael Cardew (1901-1983), the potter seen in this clip, was one of England's best-known potters. He began studying the craft while at university, and ran his own studio in the 1920s and '30s, producing practical pieces for home use. He moved to Ghana in 1942 to teach the craft, and in 1945 opened a pottery (a ceramics factory) there. In 1950 Cardew relocated to Nigeria, where he became senior pottery officer in the Ministry of Trade. After a lifetime at the potter's wheel, making a bowl is second nature for Michael Cardew. He starts by kneading a hunk of brown clay to remove air bubbles, then positions it on the spinning wheel. He drives his thumbs into the clay, creating a depression in the centre. With intense concentration, Cardew pulls the sides up and out to create a bowl shape. The process, known as throwing, is the focus of this clip from the CBC series Hand and Eye.

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