Bircham Gallery

  • Richard Phethean 2018
  • Richard Phethean 2018
  • Richard Phethean 2018

Contact Details

14 Market Place, Holt, Norfolk, UK, NR25 6BW. View Map Email: Web-site:
Telephone: +44 (0)1263 713312
Contact: Chris Harrison
Open: 9.00am to 5.00pm Mondays to Saturdays, and 10.00am to 4.00pm on Bank Holidays. We are closed on Sundays.

About the Gallery

Acclaimed art gallery, established since 1988.  The gallery stocks the work of over 200 artists and craftspeople, displaying a wide range of unique and beautiful art from East Anglia and beyond. 

Our innovative exhibition programme includes the work of established potters, contemporary artists,  Modern British masters and emerging new talent.  The gallery operates the Arts Council Own Art scheme for interest-free credit.

Potters at this Gallery

Kyra Cane, Mark Dally, Antje Ernestus, Virginia Graham, Lisa Hammond, Rebecca Harvey, Nicholas Homoky, Joanna Howells, Kerry Jamieson, Mo Jupp (1938-2018), Walter Keeler, Chris Keenan, Jacqueline Leighton Boyce, Sonia Lewis, John Maltby, Hanne Mannheimer, Abdo Nagi (1941-2001), Susan Nemeth, Alice Palser, Stephen Parry, John Pollex, Phil Rogers, Rupert Spira, Ruthanne Tudball, Carlos Versluys, Mak Yee Fun

Sam Hall

Sam Hall has, over the past ten years, produced a consistent and significant body of ceramics. Born in Shipley, West Yorkshire, he studied ceramics at Harrogate and Loughborough colleges. 
He now lives in St Ives, Cornwall and works in the Gaolyard Studios there set up by the potter John Bedding.
Each piece starts as a simple thrown cylinder of stoneware clay. It is then cut and altered to produce a flat sided oval form. The extent to which this process is taken is governed entirely by the nature of the original cylinder and those minute variations in weight, form, feel which give each piece its unique character. Since 1996 there has been little variation in these forms, and the imposition of this limitation results in an intense scrutiny by Sam of the forms themselves and their inherent possibilities. 
The blank expanse of these repeated forms become the basis for a series of layered "slip" washes and a minimal use of glaze/oxides that transform the surface of each piece into a work of art. 

Over the years Sam has developed a distinct vocabulary of mark making on his pots, from which he is constantly culling and continues to craft. Organic "grids" that cordon off the surface in to several sections often provide an opportunity to employ multiple techniques on a single piece. Some of the most recurring of the "hallmarks" include; dripping slip, gouges and grooves inscribed in the clay and a crackled effect that highlights the textural concerns in his approach. Using a muted palette, aside from the occasional small red slash, or gold enamel embellishment, his pieces achieve a harmonic balance of drawing and form.

Louisa Taylor

Louisa Taylor studied at Bath Spa University and the Royal College of Art, graduating with an MA in Ceramics and glass in 2006. She makes contemporary functional ceramics, the roots of which began from an investigation into 18th Century tableware and the rituals of dining. Louisa questioned how functional ceramic items have evolved and changed to suit the eating rituals of today's society. 
In her work the cup has been integrated with the saucer; therefore, one can be stacked on top of another. The small cream jug can function as a lid to the sugar pot when stacked on top to become a tidy set. 
Louisa's work has been published in Grand Designs Magazine (Sept 2006) and in Ceramic Review (Nov 2006) 
"My tableware aims to bring a sense of grace and presence to the table top, without dominating the food that is being presented. It is made from porcelain clay and individually thrown on the potters' wheel. All work is dishwasher and Microwave proof" 
Louisa is a professional member of the Crafts Potters Association. At the 2009 British Ceramics Biennial in Stoke on Trent She was awarded the Batch Production award for her range of domestic tableware, partly inspired by 18th porcelain vessels seen at the City's Potteries Museum. 

Sue Paraskeva

Sue Paraskeva works with porcelain and uses a stick driven momentum wheel to create fine cylindrical forms.  In the ceramic world this technique is used widely in Jingdezhen - the Chinese capital of Porcelain.  The momentum wheel allows Sue to work silently and without electricity in tune with the spin of the wheel. 
Sue creates fine cylindrical porcelain vessels, inspired initially by industrial forms. These are refined during throwing and intuitive decorative marks are applied using wood ash slips, colouring oxides and inlayed clay. The forms are inspired by industrial landscapes of the North East and the marks have evolved from line drawings of the landscape.

Selected Exhibitions

2006 -  ‘Art in Clay' Hatfield House, Hertfordshire
2005 - Kooywood Gallery, Cardiff ‘White for Weddings'; Contemporary Applied Arts, London; Desmoulin Gallery, Newark
2004 - Michael West Gallery, Quay Arts Centre, Isle of Wight ‘New Porcelain';  The Rope Store, Quay Arts Centre, Isle of Wight; ‘work in Progress';  Cleveland Craft Centre, Middlesborough
2003 - Contemporary Ceramics, London; ‘Feast' Touring Show, Southern Arts Region; Rope Store Gallery, Stroud
2002 - Heifer Gallery, London; ‘Coupes et Bols' Carlin Gallery, Paris; Art 2002 with the Adrian Sassoon Gallery, London
2001 - Michael West Gallery, Quay Arts Centre, Isle of Wight; ‘New Porcelain' The Rope Store, Quay Arts Centre, Isle of Wight
2000 - Beatrice Royal Contemporary Art Gallery, Hampshire; Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland; The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh

Jane Wheeler

Jane Wheeler was born and raised in Norfolk. Following studies in ceramics at Bath Academy of Art, Corsham, she enjoyed a successful career designing hand-knit sweaters. She returned to ceramics in 2003.
Jane's vessels are reduction fired to 1260 degrees centigrade in a gas kiln. The rich textural surfaces are created by the addition of coarse grog (grit) and sand to the stoneware clay body- the impurities produce the irregular spotting, and by dry matt glazes composed of china clay, barium carbonate, magnesium carbonate, wood ash and feldspar.

Jane's influences are drawn from Islamic pottery, the work of Anselm Kiefer, Claudi Casanova and Tapies - her inspiration, from the saltmarshes and beaches of Norfolk coastlines, ancient British archaeology and geology. 

Selected Exhibitions:
1996    On the Corner, Sunderland
1993    Finalist Arthur Andersen Art Award, London
EAST international open,  Nowich
Open Door, London
Northern Seen, Sunderland
2008    Beaux Arts, Bath
1996    Hartlepool Art Gallery
1996    Wall drawing installation for A. A. H. conference at University of Northumbria
1996    Visual Arts UK, Newcastle upon Tyne
1996    Cartwright Hall, Bradford
1995     Middlesborough Art Gallery

Artist's statement
As a painter, moving back to living in the countryside in Norfolk from city life in Newcastle was one step too far.  I had worked on concerns much closer to my own life when I moved to Newcastle - as woman and a painter, what should my subject be but how to paint women ... so the landscape disappeared from my work, as it did in real life, and I placed the image of woman, not as a passive object, but as a reactive agent, performing various versions of femininity, centre stage in my paintings. Having done this, my work started to become more abstract, but less self-sustaining, and life interfered in various ways, culminating in the move back to Norfolk to help care for my ailing parents, now that my daughter had left school and was at University.
Painting stopped, and the various attempts I made to bring it back to life were at best half-hearted. However the landscape in Norfolk, especially the coast, was engaging my interest. I walked on the salt-marshes every morning, a liminal place, on the threshold between land and sea, where time is only governed by the twice daily rhythm of the tides. Where the mud alternately dries out into patterns of cracks and then melts down into oozing creeks. Where the sea brings sand and shingle up against the land to form low banks and sand-spits  and dunes, and the exiting tide leaves marks of water draining out of the marsh, trickles and rivulets in the mud, a shore untouched by human foot, with all the patterns of worm and weed and bird left  imprinted into it.

I wanted texture, movement, weather, geology, time, landscape, a sense of history - but all in some abstract form. Then I had the opportunity to go back to ceramics and found myself seduced firstly by the material itself, and the process, and then by the fact that I was making work which resonated with my feelings about the land, the coast, and the time-line of humanity's involvement in the landscape.
I am making work in which the material and the process and its history are the matter with which I am dealing. For me, the vessel, a space-containing hollow form, offers the richest language for working in clay. Its conceptual simplicity allows readings which allude to our most distant cultural pasts, and to the state of being human. In order to reveal the intrinsic possibilities of this profoundly significant, yet ordinary object, I make pots which not only have no utilitarian purpose, but entirely lack the functional quality of containment, together with that perfection which pleases the hand and eye - clay cracks open, glazes crawl, glaze surfaces present a gritty resistance, are reticulated like tree bark, or flake off altogether. The material speaks of its own qualities, its resistance, its strength, of the geology of the land it comes from, and of the stone it is made into.  See also Jane Wheeler on this site

Rachel Wood

Rachel Wood loves to explore the rhythm and movement of clay thrown on a wheel, excited by the freshness and spontaneity that can be achieved through this ancient process. Using stoneware clay along with a variety of slips and glazes, her work is inspired by the landscape of Australia and her local Derbyshire.

Rachel recently worked as assistant to the renowned potter Robin Welch and also undertook a residency at Rufford Craft Centre. These experiences have had a significant impact on her work and resulted in an increased directness, urgency and confidence in her physical manipulation of the clay. Her intuitive interaction with the material is evident in the pots, from the pressure of a wet hand on a soft form straight from the wheel to individual hand or fingerprints emphasized by the glaze.

Selected Exhibitions
2008/7/6/5 Art in Clay, Hatfield
2008/7/6 Earth & Fire, Rufford, Swalmen ceramic market, Limburg, Holland
2007 The Power of Pots, Royal College of Arts, London, Totally Teabowls, Oakwood Gallery, Residency at Rufford Country Park,
                        Harlequin Gallery, London
2004 Slipware, Rufford Country Park
2003 Unsung, Melbourne
2002 Oxford Studio Ceramics
2001 Sky Mirror Open Day, Nottingham Playhouse Theatre
2000 Northern Potters, The Harris Museum & Art Gallery

Robin Welch

Robin Welch is one of the most highly respected contemporary British potters. The full range of his work includes large vessels with related paintings, fine drawings, and distinctive bowls and vases which explore colour, surface texture, form, detail of edge, and line. 
As a student Robin experienced and absorbed wide ranging movements in ceramics, from the discipline of the Leach Pottery to the freedom of approach promoted by the Central School in London. His current work is committed to the making of one-off pots which are thrown with further thrown or hand built sections joined on. A white slip is applied prior to the biscuit firing, and followed by multiple firings for stoneware glazes (in reduction), earthenware glazes, enamels, raku, and lustres. His approach is to select an idea, and to develop this through a series of pots, assembling a balanced and related body of work for each successive exhibition. Following many visits to Australia, the landscape of the outback provides inspiration for much of his recent work. 
Robin's career as a potter spans over three decades with many exhibitions and many forms of recognition including important awards and commissions. He served as a member of the 3D design Board for the Council for National Academic Awards, and was a visiting lecturer at many of the leading Art Colleges in this country. 
Selected Exhibitions 
 Major retrospective at Hanley Museum, Stoke-on- Trent 
Amalgam, London 
Beaux Arts, Bath 
Craft Potters Association, London 
Gallery B 15 Munich, Germany 
Gallerie L, Hamburg, Germany 
Rufford Ceramics Centre 
Lynne Strover Gallery, Cambridge 
On Line Gallery, Southampton 
Beaux Arts, Bath 
Bircham gallery, Holt, Norfolk

Margaret Gardiner

Margaret Gardiner has been making pottery since completing her studies at Harrow Studio in 1976 where her tutors included Colin Pearson, Wally Keeler, Mo Jupp, Mike Dodd, Mick Casson & Richard Slee. 
Margaret developed a strong interest in salt-firing and in 1978-1979 set up her first workshop in Chiswick, taking pots to Wiltshire to fire in Joanna Stills' salt kiln. 
In 1982 an Enterprise Allowance Award enabled Margaret to establish a workshop in Bishop's Stortford, building a 50cuft salt kiln. Family commitments soon curtailed full time involvement but Margaret returned to Ceramics in 2001 and now sells her work regularly at major ceramic shows and galleries.
Her work is mainly thrown in porcelain with some hand-building, designed for domestic use and visual enjoyment. She loves textures: lace, peacock feathers, shells and shiny things and the process of evolving these into ceramics.
Margaret has recently developed a form of vapour-glazing using a cocktail of salts that produces a lustrous iridescence. The chance nature of this method adds unpredictability to her finely thrown pots.

Philip Wood

Philip Wood was born in Manchester in 1957, was educated at Southampton and trained in pottery at Farnham School of Art from 1976 to 1979. From 1982 he attended the Royal College of Art where he is still a visiting lecturer. He set up his Somerset pottery in 1989.
Philip was first attracted to pottery through 
stoneware rather than earthenware but, discovered over time, that the English tradition of earthenware had a greater resonance for him, his Englishness and the way he lives. His work encompasses so much inherited memory and instinct that it proves to be deeply and lastingly attractive. His very personal, considered and quiet approach allows the viewer free reign to consider what each image, shape and combination of textures means to them.

Lowri Davies

Lowri Davies studied Ceramic Design where she gained an MA from Staffordshire University. Her Welsh heritage is a major source of inspiration.

Distinct bone china tableware designs of tea sets, vessels and vases are characterised by slanted openings or a surft burred edge, signifying and heightening the fact that even though appropriating factory production techniques, they are produced, decorated and finished by hand.

All works consist of coloured internal moments, decorated with a combination of hand screen-printed and digitally printed decals, further finished with gold and silver lustres.  Vibrant illustrations of birds (drawn from her own illustrations of Victorian taxidermy collections at her hometown of Aberystwyth), ceramic collections (referencing works from 19th century Nantgarw and Swansea Potteries) along with established views of landscape, floral and fauna adorn her pieces.
Lowri's practice references typical china displays, household accumulations of souvenirs and bric-a-brac that allude to a sense of place through re-stimulations of inconography and symbolism that has a deep relationship to her own roots.

Selected Exhibitions 
International Ceramics Festival
Ceramic  Art London
Ruthin Craft Centre
Craft in the Bay, Cardiff
Gold Medal in Applied Arts at the National Eisteddfod in Wales

Barry Stedman

Barry Stedman studied 3-D design at Barnfield College, Luton, followed by a degree in ceramics at Westminster. After graduating with First Class Honours in 2009, he worked as part-time assistant at the studio of Edmund de Waal (who is Professor of Ceramics at Westminster).

In their use of strong colours, Barry's pieces are quite unlike de Waal's. The ceramics are preceded by paintings in watercolour or gouache, often made in the open air, where he is inspired by the light and patterns in the sky and the farms and fields visible from his home. Changing surroundings, such as those experienced on a moving train, also inform his work. These paintings are then reworked into larger, more abstract, oil paintings and ultimately lead to the ceramics, which he creates in red clay
with coloured slips. He works intuitively and energetically and, because the true colours of the pieces only emerge after firing, there is always an element of chance in his work, which retains its spontaneity and freshness.

Susan O'Byrne

Susan O'Byrne was born in Cork, Ireland. She began her artistic studies at Grennan Mill Craft School where she received a certificate with merit in 1991. In 1994 she moved to Scotland to take up a place at Edinburgh College of Art, graduating in 1999 with a First-Class Honours Degree in Design and Applied Art. In 2002 she was awarded a Post Graduate Diploma in ceramics, also from Edinburgh College of Art.

During this time, Susan was the recipient of many awards and commendations, among them a Scottish Arts Council Setting Up Grant and a Craft Potters Association Charitable Trust Fund Award to undertake a drawing and research trip to Kenya.

In 2002 Susan moved west from Edinburgh to set up practice at Glasgow Ceramics studio. She has exhibited widely and been an artist in residence both at home and abroad and also manages to find time to lead many award winning community art projects.

‘I aim to give my animals a certain awkward vulnerability. This is achieved through a very personal making process. I make a wire framework on to which layers of printed and patterned pieces of porcelain paper clay are applied to form a skin. The natural twists and kinks of the wire frame and the shrinkage of the clay around it during firing are allowed to dictate the posture of the finished animal. The element of chance in these processes is central to my work.' 
Selected Exhibitions 
Aberystwyth Arts Centre 
Galerie Marianne Heller, Heidelberg
Galerie Terra Delft, Delft
the Netherlands
Harley Gallery, Welbeck
Le Don Du Fel, Le Fel, France
Roger Billcliffe Gallery, Glasgow
Ruthin Craft Centre, Denbighshire,

Eddie Curtis

Eddie Curtis was born in 1953, attended Bath Academy of Art until 1976. In 1979 he established a workshop in Co Durham together with his wife Margaret. 

The work is fired in a large brick kiln built by Edie over twenty five years ago. Powered by two oil burners and driven by compressed air, it is ‘a force cajoled rather than controlled, and never tamed'. A typical firing will last perhaps fourteen hours and achieve a temperature in excess of 1300 centigrade.

To achieve the elusive copper red glazes associated with Edie's work requires working within a narrow set of technical parameters. A reduction atmosphere is necessary, where the fire is partially starved of oxygen and the only recourse for the flame is to seek out what oxygen it might from the elements in the ceramics materials themselves. Consequently, a copper glaze which will take on a green colour in a fully oxidised firing, will if successfully controlled, become a beautiful and highly prized shade of red in a reduction firing. On a successful piece the story of the firing will be evident on the surface of the glaze, with perhaps ‘bleached'' white areas showing where the flame has impinged and licked all colour completely from the pot.
The forms of the hand-built pieces recall memories of journeys into landscapes, and the fractals of mountains, crags and fissures.

Selected Exhibitions
2006 Beaux Arts, Bath (Solo show)
Broughton Gallery, Biggar (solo show)
Origin - The London Craft Fair
Ceramic Art London
‘Dissener Topfermarkt' Diessen am Ammersee, Germany
International Keramiekmarkt, Swalmen, The Netherlands
2005 Lund Gallery, Easingwold (solo show)
Galerie Mebius, Noordhorn, The Netherlands (solo show)
Galerie Yorash, Valkenburg, The Netherlands (solo show)
‘Topfermarkt', Gmunden, Austria
15th Marche de Potiers de Giroussens, France
2004 Beaux Arts, Bath (solo show)
9th Biennale de la Ceramique, Andenne, Belgium
2003 Ceramic Festival, Banko Potters, Yokkaichi, Japan
2001 ‘Uniquely Functional' Hugo Barclay Gallery, Brighton

2004 1st prize, 29th International Keramiekmarkt, Gouda, Holland
2nd prize, 9th Biennale de la Ceramique, Andenne, Belgium
2003 Commendation, The Cultural Foundation of Okade, Banko Potters, Yokkaichi, Japan
1sr prize, Keramiekprijs Noord Nederland, Dwingeloo, Holland
2002 Highly Commended, Dish of the Day, Southebys, Potfest in the Park, Penrith, UK

Margaret Curtis

Margaret Curtis taught herself ceramics in the Middle Rigg studio that she has shared with her husband Eddie Curtis since 1979.
All of Margaret's work, with the exception of the dishes, are thrown and altered using either porcelain or a modified black stoneware clay that she has developed herself. 
The varying tones and textures of the unglazed body next to a crazed, celadon glaze that is often both matt and reflective, all come perfectly together to produce the most exquisite complex forms.

Clare Conrad

‘For many years I have experimented with methods of colour application to the surface of my pots, having been entranced by the peeling paint and sun-faded natural colours in Southern Europe.
In recent years, living near the coast has added a contrasting strand to my work - stark, white chalk, deep green/blue sea, erosion and the natural colours and markings of flints. I use vitreous slips, which I mix and intermix from raw materials with primary pigments; in this way I achieve an infinite palette of subtle colours, which I apply to the exterior surface in layers, whilst the pot is still damp. The expressive, apparent randomness of the design belies the laborious and careful method necessary to achieve it. 

Concentration is of the essence, as the ratio of dampness of pot to slip is crucial and the resulting colour is not revealed until after the final firing. The interior matt glaze is formulated to complement and provide a dramatic contrast to the rugged exterior. I like to make fine-walled pots, so stoneware firing ensures that the piece is strong and durable'
Selected Exhibitions 
Ceramic Art London - The Royal College of Art, London
Porthminster Gallery - St Ives, Cornwall
The Bowie Gallery at Hay Festival - Hay on Wye  - Hay on Wye, Nr Hereford
Tim Andrews Gallery - Clay 21 - Woodbury, Devon
Bevere Gallery, Worcester

South West Arts Project Award - 1995
Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery
Leeds City Art Galleries
Many private collections in the UK and abroad

Nicholas Homoky

Nicholas Homoky was born in Hungary in 1950. He trained at the West of England College of Arts in Bristol and at the Royal College of Art, London. He has taught regularly since 1976 and is currently a Senior Lecturer at the West of England College of Arts, Bristol.

Nicholas is an innovative potter whose work is mainly centred around the vessel, seen primarily as a visual object. This is achieved through the deconstruction of both the visual and practical elements which are re-interpreted as a visual composition. Line and form are his chief concerns, though his work is also formed through his interest in painting, sculpture, folk art and design. ‘My work attempts to close the gap between the innocence of Alfred Wallis and the purity of Ben Nicholson'.
Selected Exhibitions
 Loes & Reiner International Ceramics. Deventer, Netherlands.
Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Peters Barn, Midhurst, West Sussex 
Los Angelos County Museum of Art, USA
 ‘Clay into Art', Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA
Anthony Hepworth Fine Art, London 
British Council invitational South American Touring Exhibition 
Alpha House Gallery, Sherbourne, Dorset 
British Council touring Exhibition to India