Skip to main navigation menu Skip to main content Skip to site footer
University of the Arts London

The use of video as an analytical and reflective tool in ceramic training


This article discusses the use of video in helping aspiring potters develop their skills at the potter’s wheel. It summarises findings from the author’s doctoral research on British pottery practices, which made effective use of videos to record operations and elicit tacit knowledge involved in making pottery. Many potters are familiar with video tutorials and use videos to promote their work commercially. Showing potters their actions at the wheel can help them map their progress and identify issues to overcome. The study proposes the use of video as a reflective tool for aspiring potters, to advance their progress more efficiently in professional and other learning environments.


reflection, video, ceramic training, throwing, pottery, Ceramic Design


Author Biography

Giorgio Salani

PhD student


  1. Denzin, N.K. and Lincoln, Y.S. (eds.) (2008) Collecting and interpreting qualitative materials. 3rd edn. Thousand Oaks, Calif: SAGE.
  2. Emerson, R.M., Fretz, R.I. and Shaw, L.L. (2011) Writing ethnographic fieldnotes. 2nd edn. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
  3. Foster, M. (2016) Interviewed by Giorgio Salani, 28 and 30 July. Unpublished interview.
  4. Gowlland, G. (2015) ‘Unpacking craft skills: What can images reveal about the embodied experience of craft?’, Visual Anthropology, 28(4), pp.286–297.
  5. Guyatt, M. (2000) ‘The national electronic and video archive of the crafts (NEVAC)’, Journal of Design History, 13(2), pp.151–159.
  6. Harper, P.W.H. (2013) Doing and talking: The value of video interviewing for researching and theorizing craft. PhD thesis. London Metropolitan University.
  7. Leach Pottery (2016) Interview with Kat Wheeler, Matt Foster, Callum Trudgeon and Britta Wengeler-James by Giorgio Salani, 22 April. Unpublished interview.
  8. Lehman, A-S. (2012) ‘Showing making: On visual documentation and creative practice’, The Journal of Modern Craft, 5(1), pp. 9–24.
  9. Kolb, D.A. (1984) Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. Englewood Cliffs, N.J: Prentice Hall.
  10. MacDougall, D. (2006) The corporeal image: Film, ethnography, and the senses. Princeton N.J.: Princeton University Press.
  11. McDonnell, J., Lloyd, P. and Valkenburg, R.C. (2004) ‘Developing design expertise through the construction of video stories’, Design Studies, 25(5), pp.509-525.
  12. Meyer, J.H.F. and Land, R. (2006) Overcoming barriers to student understanding: Threshold concepts and troublesome knowledge. London: Routledge.
  13. Patchett, M.M. (2015) ‘Witnessing craft: Employing video ethnography to attend to the more-than-human craft practices of taxidermy’ in Bates, C. (ed.) Video methods: social science research in motion. London: Routledge, pp.71–94.
  14. Pink, S. (2013) Doing visual ethnography. London: SAGE.
  15. Polanyi, M. (1966) The tacit dimension. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday and Company Inc.
  16. Salani, G. (2016) Leach potters throwing a standard ware mug. Available at: (Accessed: 10 August 2018).
  17. Salani, G. (2018) Salience, qualities and narratives in the making of contemporary British hand-thrown tableware. PhD thesis. University of the Arts London.
  18. Schön, D.A. (1983) The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. New York: Basic Books.
  19. Wengeler-James, B. (2016) Interviewed by Giorgio Salani, 26 April. Unpublished interview.
  20. Wengeler-James, B. and Wheeler, K. (2016) Interviewed by Giorgio Salani, 30 July. Unpublished interview.