Adam Buick / Alison Britton / Ceramics / Create / Curating Design / Design / design process / Doug Fitch / Grayson Perry / Heidi Parson / Pottery / Robert Dawson / Stephen Dixon / Stories told through Ceramics- 1 / Uncategorized

Stories told through Ceramics -1

Pavement reflections, Heidi Parsons, image courtesy Heidi Parson website

Some designers see ceramics objects as a memory container or documentary platform, and this is a fairly distinct group. These memory containers narrate stories of others or personal, its engages with the observer as a storyteller.  

There are voices that refer to nothing more than a process of making a pot, while other go further, leaving the pot in a landscape and documenting it, creating a new landscape and thus a new narrative. Like a driftwood been swept of to a seashore, a pot sitting on top of a cliff, becomes part of the landscape.

Adam Buick, Landscape Pots, image courtesy Adam Buick website

 Alison Britton suggests that contemporary ceramics are playing with the expectation of use, of the function of the vessel, pushing the boundaries to the implied function. At the same time adding a sense of contemplation to it, through painting, flattening forms, reconstructing according to light falling on it etc, adding their rules as well as commentary to it. There is a sense of ambiguity between the practicality and the commentary. [1]

Alison Britton, Big White Jug, Alison Britton website

Big White Jug is and example of Alison Britton’s Ceramic vessels. Her vessels are hand built, with quirky handles, or spouts which give the vessels an abstract compositional value, they are decorated with patterns which are graphic, She talks of her work as being a mode of communication.

She explores the outer limits of function, where the function could be just an idea of a possible function and not the vessels only motivation.[2]

Stephen Dixon, 21 countries, image courtesy Stephen Dixon website

Stephen Dixon’s work is self-consciously political, he talks of issues of slavery, the war in Iraq though his work 21 countries, exploration of ceramics as a vehicle for contemporary political narrative, and he very often draws from countries outside of UK. His issues are still tied to Britain by its indirect involvement, like his project ‘Embedded Narratives’ examining the Anglo-Indian relationship in both its contemporary and historical manifestations, also looking at how memory and cultural strands mix and are retained in craft and architecture of a place.

Grayson Perry, Quotes from the Internet, image courtesy Greson Perry

Grayson Perry is one of the superstars of the pottery world. The pots, like others he makes, are vehicles for comment on contemporary culture. Close scrutiny reveals a powerful, often multi- layered, narrative that combines painting and etching on the pot with and photographic imagery. He draws from history of pottery, his personal pilgrimages, and cross dressing as a representation of being marginalised. In his collection the charms of Lincolnshire his work makes references to Brands, making a commentary how these play a significant role in setting style in society, and pretension of brand names to be metaphors for the values to live by. [3].

Robert Dawson, In Perspective Willow, Image from Breaking the mould, 2007, black dog publications

Then there are designers asking the question ‘What if conceptual thought preceded object making?’ The ideas developed are both intellectual as well as visual, as in Robert Dawson’s work, there are designers that explore and perfect the making process as much as the conceptual content of work.

Doug Fitch, Devon pottery

There are voices that refer to nothing more than a process of making a pot, which is seen in Devonshire potter Doug Fitch. He makes traditional ceramic ware which is definately for use, as well as beautiful.  

[1] Britton Alison, ‘Introduction’, in The New Ceramics – Trends +Traditions, by Peter Dolmer (London: Thames and Hudson, 1986)

[2] Britton Alison, ‘the Makers Eye’, in The Craft Reader, ed. Glenn Adamson (Oxford;New York: Berg Publishing, 2010) pp 441-444

[3] Taylor Louise, ‘Grayson Perry: The charms ofLincolnshire’, Ceramic Rev no 222 N/D 2006

3 thoughts on “Stories told through Ceramics -1

  1. Wonderful post! Love Buick’s piece. I did an experimental piece with a similar concept last year, so I’m always glad to see others exploring in that direction… an Andy Goldsworthy-like approach to ceramics.

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