Welcome - This is a Social Enterprise Business It aims to help potters and ceramic artists to become better known, to sell their work, to fill their courses and to provide a window into this fantastic world of 3D art!
Ashraf was born in Egypt and attended El Minia College of Fine Art, then Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design, gaining a BA(Hons) degree in Theatre Design in 1994.
Ashraf was introduced to Clay in 1997 by his future wife Sue. In 1999 he gained professional membership of the Craft Potters’ Association and an Elected Fellowship 3 years later.
In 2000 they moved to Pembrokeshire, establishing both home and studio there.
He also gained a Master’s Degree from the Royal College of Art, London in 2011.
Having exhibited widely across Europe Ashraf has won significant awards, and has works included in several public collections including at the National Museum of Wales.
Following completion of a Masters Degree in Ceramics & Glass at the Royal College of Art in 2011, Ashraf embarked on an intensive period of making and exhibiting new work both in the UK and abroad.
It was vital to launch and establish that work as rapidly as possible, but he now feels that he must take stock, distance himself temporarily from a fixed cycle of production, and seriously appraise not only what has been achieved, but contemplate the longer term development of his professional studio practice.
Ashraf will use the award to fund his project “An Exploration in the Language of Form and Material.”
The project will be realized in phases over 12 months and address three main themes; individual hand-built ceramic items, kiln-cast glass, and a new range of slip-cast functional ceramics. Reflection, observation, information processing, and appropriate hands-on training will precede each phase, providing a solid basis for informed research.
The ultimate aim is an innovative body of work illustrating excellence in both design and technical expertise as prelude to sustained practice expansion.
Ashraf will be mentored by Professor Magdalene Odundo, who will analyse and critique development of each strand of the project.
Following some complaints about a company that i can’t name for obvious reasons, I thought it might be helpful to offer some general guidance notes for makers when applying to fairs and other events:
It is important when applying to Art Fairs where artists/makers are providing money up front to take reasonable precautions:
- Is the Art Fair/Event well known with a reputation and good track record? If well known there is probably no need to enquire further, unless the event is unknown to you. In such instances reputable event promotors will have no problem answering the following questions and providing references from previous exhibitors if requested.
- If unknown to you, even if with a good reputation it is useful to consider some of the following questions before ‘signing up’ and paying out money. If not well known, it is suggested essential to get some answers
1. Search internet for write ups of previous shows by the same group and promoters
2. Ask promoters for estimates of footfall and sales for the show, and for details of footfall and sales at their last show
3. Ask promoters for the types of work being shown, names of other exhibitors and the ‘price points’ the show is aimed at. Consider the ‘selection’ process – or can anyone who will pay be accepted? (A warning sign sometimes, but not always)
4. If a new show ask for details of the promoters track record and contact details of a few well known artists/makers you can contact to get a feel of the type of show
5. If one of a series of shows, contact a few artists/makers who exhibited at a recent previous show for their feedback.
6. If not clearly specified, request in writing, precise details of the promotional and other support which will be provided by the organiser. (most reputable promoters are clear on this anyway)
I cannot comment on specific fairs/events, but clearly in these tough economic times artists/makers are especially vulnerable to accepting ‘invitations to show their work’ and may be tempted to overlook the normal rules when parting with money up front.
- Don’t unless you are sure you will get what you paid for!
- If in doubt and alarm bells ring, you are probably right – Don’t do it!
I hope this is helpful and may avoid some of our members/makers getting caught out by bad deals/unscrupulous promoters who rely on the many excellent fairs/event promoters to give them a false credibility.
Stephen Dee, Editor, Studiopottery.co.uk Ltd