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.

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