Book Review: 500 Plates & Chargers

Lark Books continues their outstanding 500 series with this impressive ceramic collection juried by Linda Arbuckle, winner of several prestigious art awards and a tenured professor at the University of Florida School of Art. Although typically thought of as utilitarian, plates and chargers provide artists with a dimensional canvas suitable for a number of techniques including slab, thrown, hand built, molding, incising, relief and plenty of color usage.

Highly textured pieces like Mary Schulte’s “The Escape” with a delightful array of frogs, turtles and leaves or Todd Leech’s rough and porous looking “Red Tide” will probably never be in contact with food which is a good thing considering how difficult it would be to keep them clean. “Cut Rim Platter with Pitcher” by Robert Long features a raised assembly that renders the piece useless as a plate but fascinating as a work of art and that’s what these pieces are all about.

Color comes to the forefront in pieces like R. Geering’s “Untitled” with its swirls of yellow and umber giving way to a lovely rendering of a whale, fish, ocean and night sky. Becky and Steve Lloyd’s expert use of black and white turns a simple design into a lively study in positive and negative space while Kathy King’s black and white pieces live up to their name “Disturbing Yet Delicious.” Full of movement and color, Ricky Maldonado’s “Kaleidoscope Series #201” would make a stunning addition to the table but it would be a shame to cover it up.

These are but a few of the spectacular pieces featured in this collection that includes sizes, construction, glazing and firing information. The photography is sharp, clear and detailed enough to send pottery artists to their wheels or tables with a wealth of inspiration. No matter where your interest in pottery construction lies, there is plenty of eye candy to delight and inspire in this collection.

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