Excellent starter book, clear text and photographs,
This review is from: The Complete Potter: Throwing (Hardcover)I confess that in my 30-second browse of this book at the library, I was not that excited about the book. Most of the photos are black and white and the book is very short. I decided to check it out anyway because I could, but I was sure that I would prefer the other book that I was looking at (Joaquim Chavarria's "Throwing Techniques") because of it's much better "shelf appeal" with glossier pages and color photo's. I read both books cover to cover and the Phethean book is much much better.
The pictures although not glossy, are very clear, and the text is clear and reinforces the pictures. In addition, he shows a color photograph of a completed piece that relates to the technique just demonstrated. He uses examples that are manageable for beginners and this book would nicely supplement a class at a local studio. (Chavarria's book is not teaching what most beginner classes in this country would teach.) Phethean also uses appropriate sizes of clay for a beginner. Some of the pieces he works on in the book are large to get a better view of what is being done, but he gives folks sound advice about slowly increasing the amount of clay. He also gives a table listing an appropriate amount of clay to use for a number of common pieces.
The techniques demonstrated in the Chavarria book are very cumbersome and advanced, I have taken many throwing classes and never encountered some of these techniques. The text is awful, and the authors' attitude is that you must do exactly what he says to master throwing. Consequently most of his text concentrates on where each finger should be and it is difficult to follow.
Phethean has a much more relaxed approach saying that finding what works is personal, he uses pictures to show the position of his hands, but uses the text to describe what the student should be accomplishing with each movement.