Event Reviews

Ceramic Art London (CAL) 2011

CAL at the RCA last week (25-27 February) was excellent and the balance of exhibitors was a tribute to the selection committee. Some of my old favourites were there – and get better! there was also plenty of new talent to tempt. Here are a few pictures to tantalise:

Ceramic Art London 2010

I thought this was again an excellent show, with plenty of new work to balance those who had shown before. From what i saw (short snapshot!) plenty of sales were taking place. Altogether a well balanced and enjoyable show, where I was able to meet many old friends and a few new. A few of my pictures are shown below, but are no substitute for seeing it live. Make a note to try and get along next year – well worth the time!

Eddie and Margaret Curtis and John Higgins new work was amongst much that caught my eye.

Gilles Le Corre had a great new installation in black which attracted a lot of attention.

Sara Flynn with her work around – I could go on, there was just so much to enjoy.

Look back to Summer 2009 (England) – John Higgins at Hatfield

Hatfield, as always was a ceramics show in England not to be missed.  With 10,000 visitors plus it is recognised as a keynote show in the calendar for many!  With just under 200 exhibitors there is a huge range of choice for both collectors and those with a more casual interest in ceramic art – few would have come away without a purchase of some type from the tempting displays.  The Peers Award was won by John Higgins. Some images of John’s work are shown below:

Playing with Fire – Contemporary UK Enamel with Ed Silverton

Not quite all ceramics, but enamel by one of our ”potters” Ed Silverton, whose work I admire! Andy McInnes visited the show at wolverhampton and had the following comments:
‘If, like me, your thoughts on Enamel work were Jewelry, bowls (which are here) be prepared to have your visual senses given a real treat, the work of Ed Silverton in particular was worth the admission fee, if there had been one! Ed has three large pieces, that vary in size and are shaped like cacti (see image)!  A fantastic exhibition and one that should be seen by as many people as possible, certainly the best Exhibition I’ve seen for a long time.
Last chance to see it at wolverhampton – Now it is  on at Cheltenham Art Gallery, Gloucestershire  14 November 2009 - 24 January 2010′- Andy McInnes

Wali Hawes – Fire Trees

An article by Wali about building and firing a set of fire trees. There is also comment in “Terrart”a Barcelona magazine published by L’Associació de Ceramistes de Catalunya. See front cover above…

This is a copy of the article on Wali’s blog – for more interesting articles visit his blog.

Heloisa Alvima is a potter from Brazil who lives in Monferrier, France. I was very happy to be invited to build and fire a set of Fire Trees which would coincide with the festival of San Jean which is also the same day as the Summer Solstice. The setting was the Culture Centre and I was ably assisted by students from the ceramics school, local potters and enthusiasts. We started off with the usual coiling techniques and found the clay as supplied by SolarGil to be good allowing us to dry out the structure quite rapidly without cracking. Those who participated in the project were also invited to create decorations that reflected the local landscape or at least inspiration was from our surroundings. I did so in order to make people more aware of the environment in which we inhabit not only in the physical sense but also in the social context. It is another aspect of the Fire Trees that go beyond technique and process.
It was great to have the support of the Asociation de Clubs de Loisir (Hope that is how it is spelt!), Daniel who is the president, Gerard who put up with me and his wife Jo—many evenings were spent enjoying their hospitality, Loule, Izabu, Tibo, Caren and a host of others. Their help and kindness also the hospitality knew no bounds. If I have forgotton anybody then I allow myself to be shot for such an omission. Unfortunately we discovered that the clay did not quite meet up to the tremendous stresses during the firing and structural damage was quite severe…despite our attempts to repair the damage I am afraid the trees will have to be re-built and fired again. We got to temperature and the clay fired well…in some cases it actually fused. The firing was quite a spectacle. Looking forward to the next firing.

Also see the U Tube video of the event.

Jim Malone – New work in London until 25 October 2009

We visited the new show, promoted by John Rastall of Harlequin gallery at the Duncan Cambell Fine Art Gallery in Thackeray Street, just off Kensington High Street.  There was (and is until 25/10) some tempting new work on display and for all who like Jim’s work – try and get there.   Jim was telling me how pleased he is with the kiln he built at Lessonhall and this exhibition certainly demonstrates that! I have attached a number of images taken by Richard Dee, my son who also designed my website.

Stephen Dee

Cultural Connections, Collect in the Country 2008

Cultural connections was founded in 1998 by Birthe Fraser to promote Danish and Nordic Applied Art in the UK, following more than a decade as Cultural Attache to denmarks London Embassy. Birthe’s professional background is as an archaeologist of the Ancient Middle East with a particular knowledge of ceramics, faience and glass.  Her depth of knowledge shines out in the quality and structure of her exhibitions and this years “Collect in the Country” showing at the Barn galleries near Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire, UK is no exception.

The setting complements the work wonderfully and at the entrance are a few pices of Wendy Hoares’ large pots, plus a few smaller pieces for the modern sized garden! The exhibition continues until 12 October 2008 and for anyone within reach it is well worth a trip (details on the events section of www.studiopottery.co.uk).

Some of the makers may not be too well known in Britain, but are all prominent National and International artists.

Bodil Manz’s delicate and fine porcelain with pencil sharp designs were, as always, exciting pieces to see and absorb.

I loved the solidity and strength of Lis Ehrenreich’s work and the interesting textures on Kim Holm’s cylinders.

Gutte Eriksen, (1918-2008) has been described as the ‘Grand Dame’ of Danish ceramics – she graduated from the Danish School for Arts and Crafts in 1938 She had many study tours, working first with Bernard Leach, who visited her several times in Denmark and then in France including La Borne. She was influenced particularly by the Leach sojourn and inspired by and engaged in the techniques and forms of the Far East. Following a visit by Michael Gill in 1950 she became interested in some of his glazes, developing them to become her own very characteristic glazes varying from black to degrees of blue, brown and grey, sometimes with specs of red/turquoise. Two pieces in the exhibition are illustrated below.

There were the sharp and squared designs of Dorte Visby, the contrasting smooth and rounded porcelain of Ivan Weiss who worked at Royal Copenhagen for many years until 2002. There were  interesting bottle forms from Ulla Hansen. Aase Haugaard’s work figured prominently as well as the interesting animal forms by Steen Lykke Madsen.

The show was very well balanced and a pleasure to visit, helped by the depth of knowledge about each of the potters made freely available by Birthe and on panels on the walls and a table with reference books.

I came away knowing that I need to get to know Nordic Ceramics a lot better and to see Nordic Artists far better represented on the Studiopottery website.

My thanks to Birthe for providing much of this information :)

Images from top, left to right The exhibition barn; Wendy Hoare’s work; View including work by Aase Haugaard; Gutte Eriksen, bowl and pot; Dorte Visby; Ulla Hansen; Bodil Manz; Ivan Weiss.