Beginner Series
Note: This series is also called the
'Getting Started With Clay Series'
in some publications

A five program series designed for beginning potters and teachers of clay arts. The series features artists Graham Sheehan, Robin Hopper and Gordon Hutchens. Each program is designed to stand alone, yet as a series the five programs provide a comprehensive introduction to clay arts. The series includes the following five programs:

Getting Started With Clay
Beginning Handbuilding
Beginning Raku
Beginning to Glaze and Fire
Beginning to Throw on the Potter's Wheel
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"Tara Productions' excellent Getting Started With Clay series is highly recommended"  (Video Librarian)

Getting Started With Clay
with Graham Sheehan
(60 minutes)

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Graham Sheehan introduces beginning potters to low-tech approaches to clay arts that have been used by potters for thousands of years. After digging and preparing local clay, he demonstrates modeling and slab techniques for making simple hand-built forms. He then shows how to build a wood-fired kiln that novices can construct in a couple of hours using re-cycled bricks. Graham fires this kiln and shows the finished forms that complete the clay arts cycle. Drawings and a materials list to aid with the construction of the kiln are included on the DVD menu.

"The ancient methods illustrated are likely to inspire a modern to get going in this engaging program which is about as good and fun an introduction to pottery as you're likely to find. Highly recommended."
(Video Librarian)

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Beginning Handbuilding
with Graham Sheehan
(60 minutes)

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Graham Sheehan introduces beginning potters to basic hand-building techniques. After showing how to make simple pinch pots, he demonstrates coil and slab building methods using five different projects of increasing complexity. The video features close-ups that provide details about how clay should be prepared, how it can be joined to another piece and how glazes can be used to decorate forms. The program concludes with a demonstration of the finished pieces fired in an electric kiln.

"This tape will be of interest to a wide audience and is strongly recommended." (Video Librarian)

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Beginning Raku
with Gordon Hutchens
(60 minutes)

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Gordon Hutchens introduces beginning potters to basic raku techniques. He discusses desirable properties of clays used in raku firings and then shows how to prepare the clay. He makes several pots which are bisque-fired, then decorated using techniques that take advantage of the unique characteristics of raku. After preparing his pots Gordon shows how to make a simple kiln from a 55 gallon drum. Finally, he fires the forms he has made; then he demonstrates how to manage a raku firing and how to perform the post-firing reduction that provides the distinctive raku effects. Glaze recipes as well as a drawing and a materials list for the kiln are included on the DVD menu.

"Good camerawork, skillful demonstrations, detailed information, and understandable commentary make this video a good reference for the beginning potter." (School Arts)

"Hutchens is very safety-conscious .... He also offers encouraging words for beginners .... Recommended."  (Video Librarian)

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Beginning to Glaze and Fire
with Graham Sheehan
(62 minutes)

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Graham shows potters how to complete their pots once they have reached the leather-hard stage. The program demonstrates the use of electric kilns for successful bisque and glaze firings. Topics include kiln selection and operation; slip decoration; bisque loading and firing; use of cones; waxing; glaze mixing; glaze application; brush decoration; glaze loading and firing. Includes printed notes and recipes on the DVD menu.

"This clear concise, thorough and professional video ... is ideal for the classroom as well as for those who are just getting into clay on their own." (Walter Dexter, Potter and Instructor)

"Beginning to Glaze and Fire with Graham Sheehan is an invaluable reference for the potter setting up a first time studio." (Studio Potter Network)

"Cheerfully recommended as an independent title or as part of the series." (Video Librarian)

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Beginning to Throw on the Potter's Wheel
with Robin Hopper
(60 minutes)

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Learn the throwing techniques that Robin Hopper has developed during his award-winning forty-year career. This comprehensive introduction to throwing on the potter's wheel features wedging, centering, the throwing of basic forms, and trimming. The video uses multiple camera angles and close-ups to demonstrate what the hands and fingers do at various stages, both inside and outside a thrown object. Robin works with the basic cylindrical form, and presents throwing exercises that lead to mastery of the throwing process for a variety of sizes and shapes of cylinders, including waisted, conical and spherical variations. He concludes by demonstrating the throwing of bowls and plates.

"[Hopper] explains each movement in a very understandable fashion, and the excellent camerawork allows home viewers to get as close as a student - or perhaps even closer . . . . It's hard to imagine a more lucid or comprehensive introduction to the subject . . Highly recommended." (Video Librarian)

Robin Hopper . . . skillfully guides [novices] in using the wheel, including wedging, centering, shaping and trimming the clay . . . . Presented without glitz or pretense . . . thorough and clearly explained. (Booklist)

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2009 Tara Productions  (info@potteryvideos.com)