Synopses & Reviews
The clay beneath our feet is crucial to the computer and space industries, bio-technology, publishing, and a wide range of manufacturing processes. The potter's wheel was the very first machine. With the invention of pottery came cooking and storage vessels, ceramics, the discovery of alcoholic beverages, the oven, clay tablets for the first written communication, irrigation for agriculture, vast trade networks, plumbing, sanitation, and an incredibly durable building material. Much of the Great Wall of China was made of fired clay bricks-a material that can stand for centuries.
Now, Suzanne Staubach presents a lively look at how civilization was built on clay-from the first spark plugs to modern semi-conductors, satellite communications to surgical equipment. Clay is a fascinating, colorful look at how, from the primordial ooze to modern miracles, this most humble of substances continues to shape our world in ways limited only by the human imagination.
"Staubach, a potter and freelance writer, successfully communicates the passion she feels for her material (both literal and literary) in this extensively researched overview of clay. What is this ubiquitous stuff? It began as granite, which over millions of years was ground down by rain, sleet, snow and chemical forces into what we now know as clay. The first known clay objects were small religious figures, followed by pottery vessels, in Neolithic times. The oldest such pottery known was produced by the Joman peoples of Japan. In addition to an informed discussion of clay ovens used by various cultures over time, the author compares these cultures' designs as pottery grew to be an art form. Ancient Greeks, for example, created a unique appearance by controlling the atmosphere of their kilns. Clay, Staubach says, has served many purposes: clay tablets were used for the earliest writing; it also became the key ingredient for building houses and, in modern times, sewer pipes and flush toilets. Some sections of this account will be of most interest to potters, pottery aficionados or those with an interest in earth science, but Staubach leavens her facts with captivating anecdotes throughout. Photos. Agent, Ed Knappman." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
This is a fascinating look at how, from the primordial ooze to modern miracles, this most humble of substances continues to shape the world in ways limited only by the human imagination.
About the Author
Suzanne Staubach is both an author and a potter. She has been involved with pottery for more than 30 years, has been published in Ceramics Monthly, and has written on pottery for Garden Way and Mother Earth News. She writes a regular column, "Face Out: Notes of a College Bookseller" for the College Store Journal, and has also written for Fine Gardening, Old Farmer's Almanac, and Parents.