40 BRITAIN’S POT TALENT
Our nation has already produced ceramic greats – from Josiah Wedgwood’s china teacups to Edmund de Waal’s porcelain vessels. But behind closed studio doors, the nation’s pottery wheels keep turning. We celebrate the state of the craft today
The British Ceramics Biennial is returning to Stoke-on-trent, the home of British ceramic manufacturing, for its fifth edition this month. The Staffordshire town’s brick bottle kilns have been producing iconic designs – including Wedgwood’s jasperware, Portmeirion’s chunky mugs and, more recently, Emma Bridgewater’s charming country-style bowls – since the 17th century, and the former factory of stoneware company Spode is the heart of this festival held in the craft’s honour. Its airy warehouse will display work submitted to Award – a competition with a £5,000 prize – by ten artists, including Matthew Raw, whose collaboration with architectural collective Assemble is soon to appear at Seven Sisters tube station in London. Visit makers at their wheels during the six weeks of open studios, have a go at raku firing (an ancient Japanese technique in which pots are taken from the kiln still red hot, then placed in a flammable material), or building your own bowl in The Clay Pit. Plus, don’t miss a re-imagining of the ‘Brown Betty’, Britain’s archetypal teapot. Young creative Ian Mcintyre – an installation artist who also makes homeware for craft furniture brand Another Country – has been tasked with re-engineering the iconic design to fit the aesthetic of the contemporary British kitchen (23 September –5 November; britishceramicsbiennial.com).