Thursday, 27 November 2008

Tableware, the Studio Pottery Movement and modernism.

The studio pottery movement is a loose term for what was essentially a movement for, (what was condisidered at the time)my parenthesis, a traditional, non-industrial revival of handmade pottery, made in small studio by a small number or a lone potter(this definition is Edmund De Waals- On-line Rufford Essays). It was started in the 1920's by Bernard Leach who was a committed, focused activist. Since then attempts have been made to define the studio pottery movement within the terms of modernism and it has been difficult to locate this movement within the modernist canon. However, the research that I am doing into the origins of the ceramics that we use now, shows that the beginnings of the modern period,
c1650, the early industrial revolution, is when our everyday ceramics begin to emerge. Given that the early studio potters were making tableware within western styles, notably Michael Cardew,(Picture with some of his early pots from Winchcombe pottery, earthenware, slipware) even though they loooked to the past for inspiration they were making a 'modern' product.


They made teacups and saucers, plates. These had only been in common usage at the time from c1750 when mass production became established. Indeed, these forms , by 1920 had only been around for 170 years. Not long when thinking about history. This is the paradox of the early studio potters. the forms that they reproduced only became commonwith industrialisation. Despite, the different meanings and roots of the modern, modernism, these potters can begin to be seen as working within a 'modern tradition'. If such a notion is at all possible.

Monday, 24 November 2008

My Research at Plymouth City Museum

These sherd were dug up in excavavtions at Plymouth and reported on in

Gaskell-Brown, Cynthia (ed).(1979) Castle Street: The Pottery, Plymouth Museum Archaeological Series, Number 1. Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery, Plymouth.

These are probably some of the first handled, individual ceramic drinking vessels to be used in Plymouth. Up until this time, circa 17th century, only around 350 years ago what were people using to drink? They just didn't have individual drinking vessels. So this vessel came into being only approximately 360 years ago. It is well documented how the teapot was introduced but not the cup/mug, the individual handled ceramic vessel, its origins are less clear, and its introduction does not seem to be a watershed like the teapot. Maybe this is why artists often refer to traditions because the histories of these vessels are often unclear.

New Work at the Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Honiton

Non specific vessels which are thrown in different clays. Real fun to make.I love the black stoneware clay.

Also a series of bowls and a set of shelves with teapots and mugs. I have started to alter the mugs