Winter at Contemporary Ceramics Centre
New Makers On DisplayEvery four months Contemporary Ceramics Centre introduces new makers into the gallery. This is an opportunity to showcase different members of the Craft Potters Association and to discover more about the artists and their work. This current rotation period runs between December 2016 and the end of March 2017 and features seven artists whose diversity in approach to making and personal vision yet again shows how wonderful and versatile one material, i.e. clay can be.
It is noticeable how ceramics and pottery are commanding greater interest, helped by programs such as The Great Pottery Throwdown, now heading towards its' second season, and of course the internet and social media. Very exciting stuff! Of course, this has not been helped in the UK where over the last few years Ceramics courses have closed or are facing closure. With this in mind, we are curious about the different experiences and routes makers took when first beginning with clay and we have asked these featured artists to tell us what first inspired them.
Each journey is different and whether through formal education, mid-career change in direction or by starting at a young age, these stories illustrate perseverance, strength in creativity and personal vision. Hopefully, these stories will inspire others.
'It has taken perseverance and a long time, to the point of almost giving up which was when the work finally began to develop into something I could recognise as my own voice.'
Bottles and cups, saggar fired and wood fired stoneware. 2016
‘Peat pots’ tallest 15cm, low fired black clay. 2016. Image by Shannon Tofts
Erosion jar 5 ‘iron in the land’ ht 23cm, saggar fired stoneware. 2016. Image by Shannon Tofts
Erosion cup, small ellipse, ht 10cm, saggar fired stoneware. 2015
Getting selected membership of the CPA is a big deal for me, I wish I could tell Dave Tellam.
Myung Nam An
"It has always been my goal as an artist to make work that speaks to the viewer on a deeper level and provokes thought"
|Myung Nam An with her work|
My work is the human being and their everyday life. I find ceramic to be the most suitable material to express my ideas. The characteristics and limitations of the materials are a fundamental issue for me and my process is one based on analysis and experience. I approach my work in both a formal and aesthetic way. That does not mean that emotionality and sensuality are set aside – on the contrary. These pieces evoke cool expression with sensitive undertones and thereby join an abstract, new formalistic movement in contemporary art.
|Myung Nam An | Eyes|
|Myung Nam An | Eyes|
|Myung Nam An | Eyes|
Images | Benedict Johnson
|Philip Jolley in front of a nine piece panel|
I always liked making things, from dams to models. When at secondary school, I was introduced to clay by art teacher and ceramic enthusiast, Dennis Tams, it became an instant attraction. I left school at 16 and completed a 2-year foundation course at the local art school. I loved it, not only spending all day using a huge variety of different materials to make things but learning photography, textiles, and more ceramics! I then continued with a BA at Stoke Polytechnic (as it was then called) specializing in ceramics. My appreciation of thrown work grew under the guidance of Derek Emms but hand-building became and still is my favoured method of making.
I set up my first workshop in 1980 in Stoke making inlaid geometric angular vessels using stained clays, texture and little or no glaze. Hidden detail and a variety of viewpoints were important. Alongside this I worked a greengrocer during the day. I also joined the Midland Potter’s Association to meet other potters and also exhibit.
|Philip Jolley | Bow|
|Philip Jolley | Pink Vase|
I was lucky that mature student grants were still available (just!). A student again at 36, married, 2 young children and a mortgage. I succeeded in getting a fantastic job a St Edward’s School Oxford to teach ceramics and coach rugby (my other love).
|Philip Jolley | wall plaque, paperclay, porcelain, oxides, stains and glazes|
All Images: Chris Honeywell
'My journey as a potter has been made possible by the series of opportunities...
|Adam Frew in his studio|
|Adam throwing in his studio|
After Art College I did a two-year apprenticeship in Greenwich, London with Lisa Hammond. This was the best training I could have had, learning the daily runnings of a pottery and also about selling pots, it set me on the right path to start my own pottery.
|Adam Frew Lidded Vessesls|
My own business began when I had the opportunity of a studio for two years on the north coast of Northern Ireland through Craft NI’s business start-up program ‘Making It’. The program provided me with a free studio at Flowerfield Arts Centre and also business mentoring for 2 years. The freedom this gave me to develop my business was invaluable and allowed me to develop a strong functional range that I could market.
|Adam Frew Bowl|
|Adam Frew Moon Jar|
'...lucky to have had the choice of courses.'
|Moyra Stewart in her studio|
However, my entry into ceramics was intuitive rather than a conscious decision. Having applied to and been accepted onto a wildlife painting course in South Wales, I discovered within a week that it was not going to work for me. I immediately transferred into the ceramics department. It was a tiny college with an even smaller ceramics department... so small in fact, that when we moved into a larger space we had to make our own benches! But despite its size, the course gave me positive experiences. I left with a good grounding in the material, a satisfaction that has never left me and the desire to learn more.
|Moyra Stewart Handbuilding|
Making large sculptural forms has always been a passion of mine, from the first year at college and throughout my life: initially handbuilding pieces in Crank clay and firing to stoneware temperatures. In 2011 I began working with Naked Raku which is nerve racking but well worth the effort. My inspiration has always come from nature: organic shapes, patterns from ploughed fields, beaches and Lewisian Gneiss rock from the west coast of Scotland.
|Moyra Stewart Boxes|
|Moyra Stewart | Boulders|
|Moyra Stewart | Vessels|