The rise of British handmade ceramics
PERHAPS IT IS DUE to a growing interest in craft and the handmade, or the trend among both millennials and midlifers for one-off pieces that add character to interiors. Either way, studio pottery – pieces made by artists working alone or with a small team – is having a moment.
According to Martin Millard of auction house Cheffins, demand for big names in British studio pottery, such as Dame Lucie Rie, Hans Coper and Bernard Leach, which dropped off slightly during the recession, is back with a vengeance. ‘It’s also shifted from a collectors’ market to a more aesthetic one,’ he adds. ‘People are buying statement pieces to display in their homes.’
Rie’s work in particular has been going up in value in recent years; pieces made by her during the 1980s – when she was in her 80s – have fetched more than £100,000 at auction.
Contemporary ceramicists are also seeing a huge appetite for their work. John Booth, a fashion illustrator and textile designer, moved into ceramics just three years ago, and has already made a name with colourful face vases that sell as fast as he can make them.
For modern decorative ceramics at a more modest price, a collaboration between London designer Lisa Mehydene, of online lifestyle store Edit 58, and ceramicist Ana Kerin of Kana, has produced some collectable pieces. Their plates, dishes and pots are handmade in a charmingly wonky style, and painted with either a pink-splatter pattern or a bow motif. Similarly, ceramicist Emma Cerasulo, who divides her time between London and Italy, designs bowls and planters with a deep-green -and-white speckled glaze, inspired by Puglian ceramics and made there using traditional techniques.
For those keen to try their hand at making their own pieces, Ana Kerin also runs workshops from her Hackney studio (kanalondon.com).