Edmund de Waal, A lecture on the weather, 2015

Happy the man who develops an obsessive interest early in life that remains with him and that he can turn to constructive account. Edmund de Waal is such a man: he alighted on ceramics as a boy and they have remained the focus of his working life ever since.

To the general public, however, he is probably more known as the author of The Hare with Amber Eyes than as a ceramic artist. That book, which became a surprise bestseller throughout the world, recounted the story of one side of his...