I took a trip to Stoke-on-Trent today to visit part of the ceramics festival. Stoke has been the centre of the British pottery industry since the 17th century (and is home to the factories of Royal Doulton, Spode and Wedgewood, amongst others). I went to the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery to see the Award exhibition, featuring the work of 20 or so contemporary ceramics designers, competing for a £10,000 prize. The exhibition runs until December 11th.
I really liked a lot of the work on show, but these pieces by Merete Rasmussen I thought especially beautiful: like 3-D calligraphy. A group from a university had travelled from London to see the exhibition, and listening in to the tutors, I learnt that these shapes are really difficult to create from a technical point of view. (There is the risk of the clay collapsing or drying out before completion.)
The second piece that particularly caught my eye was by Katharine Morling. This looked like a 3-D sketch. It was apparently inspired by memories of her optician grandfather.
If you’re in the area, the exhibition (and the rest of the museum) is well worth a visit. The winner of the Award competition should be announced next week, I believe.