Get fired up by pots
RECORD numbers of people are collecting and making pots, thanks in part to The Great Pottery Throw Down on BBC Two, which has triggered a rush for places in ceramics classes.
The Ceramic Art London fair, now in its 13th year, attracts potters from around the world but only 90 are selected to show their work in the airy atrium of the renowned Central Saint Martins art and design school in King’s Cross.
The work covers the full panoply of contemporary ceramics, from the strictly functional to both figurative and abstract sculptural pieces. It’s a selling show, featuring pieces from established and emerging makers alike. All visitors are welcome just to browse, ask questions or attend a range of lectures and discussions, and it’s a favourite with buyers from the big stores seeking new designers.
Jack Doherty, a veteran of the fair, creates bowls in earth tones with clouds of turquoise, but for many makers, greys and blues with a hint of yellow are this year’s favourites.
Jill Shaddock makes small stacking bowls in greys and blues, and elegant cups in soft yellows. Derek Wilson uses a similar palette, often with a line or two of strong, contrasting colour. This Fifties colourway is picked up by Kyra Cane, who uses glazes in soft grey and acid yellow on white. Sophie Cook makes delicate, etiolated porcelain bottles in greens and blues, which seem to glow from within.
Sara Moorhouse specialises in conical bowl forms with bands of high-gloss, eye-popping colour, while Sophie Southgate places intense turquoise blue, orange, yellow and gold at the centre of her jewel-like pots, inspired by landscape, colour and geometry.
Playing with perception is the key to Jin Eui Kim’s work. His platters with concentric circles of colour
conical earthenware bowl with bands of bright, high-gloss colour, by Sara Moorhouse and cut lines confuse and confound the eye, rather like Op art.
Sevak Zargarian makes bowls that look as if they are made of terrazzo, but are in fact created by laminating and inlaying ceramic. Much of the more “restrained aesthetic” ceramic has an Eastern feel. Sue Pryke specialises in elegant and practical Japanese-style tea services.
Tactile quality is very important to Hyu-jin Jo, who carves the surface of her simple, elegant teaware with intricate non-uniform textures, while Kiho Kang presses patterns into the outside of her work using just her fingers.
Inspired by traditional eastern forms, Adam Frew decorates his vessels with hand-drawn lines. Similarly, Ali Tomlin throws uncomplicated pots, working on the dry, chalky surface using stains, oxides and slips, splashing or sanding and inlaying lines, creating unpredictable marks. She sands the vessels between firings to give the porcelain a paper-like, tactile quality.
No one makes porcelain more finely or thinner than Alison Gautrey, yet her translucent eggshell-thin bowls marked with sparse, swirling lines are robust enough for the freezer. Lauren Nauman makes vessels that look like skeleton baskets, swaying in the wind, while Matt Davis’s striking “pixelated” bone china vessels look virtual but are entirely real.
A SENSE OF HISTORY
Raewyn Harrison draws maps and panoramas on her boxes and vessels, and her trawls through the archives of Elizabethan street maps and 18thcentury views of London form the basis of her Mudlarking series.
Robert Cooper is even more directly inspired by the Thames. An inveterate mudlarker, he uses his finds, such as ancient pottery shards, cup handles and saucer fragments, fusing them together to create oneoff candlesticks.
Ceramic Art London runs from this Friday to Sunday at Central Saint Martins, 1 Granary Square, King’s Cross, NC1. Friday and Saturday, 10am to 6pm; Sunday, 10am to 5pm. Adults £15; concessions £13; 16-25s £10; under16s go free; three-day pass £35. All tickets include free exhibition guide and catalogue (ceramicartlondon.com).
£2,500: above, jewel-like pots inspired by geometry from Sophie Southgate’s Spectrum series
£150-£200: Sophie Cook’s delicate thrown porcelain bottles range in height from 20cm-55cm