Making Lustre Pottery with Alan Caiger-Smith

Running time: 80 mins (approx.)


        Alan Caiger-Smith began his career as a potter in the 1950s, opening a workshop at Aldermaston. He is influenced by the techniques invented by C9th Islamic potters, especially the development of lustre pigments and opacification of glazes; he has re-invented the art of lustre painting which he has developed into a style truly his own. This film features a pigment which he himself adapted from a C14th Iranian recipe. Over more than 40 years he has become an expert on the subject, and has written books on the history of ceramics and his own experiences as a potter.

In this film Alan Caiger-Smith demonstrates all the processes involved in pottery production: working and throwing the clay; decorating in slips and glazes; firing and post-firing treatments. Each section is approximately 30 minutes, making it an accessible study film. It also contains on-screen ‘glossary’ entries, enabling students to note technical terms. Three of the bowls produced here are on display as teaching aids in the Department of Eastern Art, Ashmolean Museum.

This is as much a documentary about Alan Caiger-Smith as a potter, as a teaching film about pottery production. It will be invaluable for students, potters and professionals alike, enabling them to learn from a true master.

Filmed and directed by Charles Beesley and Karen Watts
Edited by Conrad Weiskrantz
Produced by Mariam Rosser-Owen

Funded by the University of Oxford Teaching Support Fund
Copyright 1999 University of Oxford
This film carries a Certificate 'E' (for 'Education')

This film is available for purchase, at a price of 12.95, from the Ashmolean Museum Shop. If you are interested in buying a copy and having it sent to you (at a charge of 3.00 p&p), please email (stating 'Teaching Video' in the subject line) or contact the Publications Department at the details given below. Payment can be made by credit card, or by cash or cheque in Sterling or Euros. A 10% discount is available to students on production of a valid student card.

Short extracts from this film have been digitised and incorporated into the Web-Based Teaching Course on Islamic Ceramics.


Publications Department, The Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford,
Oxford OX1 2PH, UK
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