In fact seeing Mrs C's last Ladybird posting was what reminded me that my collection is yet another thing that can go into the studio when it is finally finished (which is meant to happen this week - **EXCITED SQUEAL!**), so...
People at Work - The Pottery Makers
"The shapes of many of the pots we use are basically the same as they were hundreds of years ago. However, to produce all the pottery needed today, much quicker methods must be used.
This book shows how pottery is made in a modern factory and will help to answer many of the questions that lively children will ask."
So, says the introduction to this sometimes rather dry and incredibly detailed tome from the "People at Work" series printed in1969. I was one of those "lively" children and this is one of my favourites, for several reasons:
I remember being really impressed with how good the pictures were. They look like paintings but of photographic perfection and I dreamed of being able to draw as well as the people who illustrated the Ladybird books. I never have been able to. The illustrations are by John Berry, who I believe illustrated many of the People ar Work series.
I love ceramics, I love delicate old limoge teacups, Poole Art Deco, old grocery jars and pots, modern Danish china... the list goes on. I could start a whole new blog strand on my ceramic collection. My mother's side of the family are from the Staffordshire and my obsession with ceramics comes clearly from that side of the family, it is something that my friends tease me about. (Yes, collecting is a bit of an obsession in itself!)
I have learnt to use a potters wheel. Everything I made was in the US and when I shipped it home to the UK it all got broken. One day when my children are a bit older and less demanding on my time I will take it up again.
But mostly, I loved the way this book did not talk down to me. I'm not sure how old I was when I got it, but, it is one of Ladybird's "Easy Reading" books. The amount of information packed onto each page, is incredible. I love making things and I was fascinated by The Pottery Makers and ploughed through the book until I understood what all the different people in the process did and how you made pots.
I understood the book because along with incredibly accurate pictures of the modern mechanised process of the potters art there is detailed text. It introduces the young reader to the manufacturing process and technical terms like; pug mill, slip, jigger, biscuit firing.
Pride in British manufacturing might is evident; "Today, the finest bone-china in the world is made at British potteries in Staffordshire, Derby and Worcester." And it's, of course, comments like this that date the book. It is clearly believed in this book that the "lively children" of a manufacturing super-power need to know and understand the details of the manufacturing process. That their children's future was bound to it and that they were capable of and expected to understand it. And within my lifetime that has completely been turned on it's head.
And Here are the other Ladybird Tuesday posts this week:
Things to Make
From Being Mrs C
The Story of our Churches and Cathedrals
From Lemon Layer Cake
And a couple of vintage Ladybird sites:
Vintage Ladybird - The official Ladybird Vintage site
The Wee Web - The definitive guide to Ladybird Books, 1940 - 1980