Bi-Monthly Display | Billy Adams - experimenting with our relationship to the landscape

Billy Adams in his studio
Our March Bi-Monthly display kicks off with Billy Adams, a Wales based maker whose work explores relationships between himself and the landscape.

Billy Adams on display at Contemporary Ceramics
"Billy Adams was born in Derry, Northern Ireland and grew up near the border during the Troubles of the 1970s and ‘80s. To escape the political conflict, he often spent time roaming the hills of Donegal and exploring the landscape. He studied a Master’s degree in Ceramics at Cardiff Institute of Higher Education in the late 1980s and he has been living and working in Wales ever since. His initial thrown forms were based on ancient Celtic monuments such as standing stones. Later, he began to reflect more on their landscape settings, especially the wild rugged beauty of Connemara and Donegal, and the dramatic West Wales coastline. He incorporates geological elements, natural colours, as well as the marks of human activity on the landscape in to his vessels. The resulting monumental jugs, vases and bowls with fractured surface textures are also a provocation to the onlooker to question the value of a vessel as a piece of sculpture. Billy Adams is a Fellow of the CPA, Craft Potters Association of the UK." Source: Aberystwyth University, Ceramics Collection and Archive.

Billy Adams | Rosen Vessel

This is the first time of showing for Billy Adams at Contemporary Ceramics in its current location. Billy draws from the landscape for inspiration. He works within the vessel format and finds ways to transfer his response to the natural environment into the surfaces and colours of his pieces. He presents his vessels as an  intimate insight into his private view of ceramics, a personal world framed through his interpretation of form and function. His world is a combination of structures and forms interacting with man made elements, through which his aim is to provoke the onlooker to question the value of a vessel as a piece of sculpture.

Billy prefers to stay within the realms of the vessel. He reconsiders physical elements such as rims, handles, and lips, which are commonplace within traditional ceramics. The resulting forms are recognisable as jugs, bowls and vessels, although not functional in this way. Billy aims for them to convey  his perception and memory of an ever-changing landscape.


Adams’ vessels incorporate three different types of clay. During the making process, his clay varies in shrinkage; the outer layer shrinks by 14% and the inner layer by 4%. This is highlighted by his glazing technique. Each piece of work is fired between four and five times. After the standard bisquit firing, he applies a 1280° glaze and follows it up with a 1100° glaze firing, and then a 1040° glaze firing, eventually ending with a 795° lustre firing. After the glazes are sprayed on, they are directionally rubbed off, only to be applied again. This builds up a rich vocabulary of tones and colours, highlighting the unique surface which is characteristic of Adams’ work.

Billy Adams work is on display and for sale in the gallery from March to June 2020.
Billy Adams | Babby Bowl

Billy Adams | Babby Bowl


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