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Winner of £10,000 Spode Award announced at British Ceramics Biennial 2011
Phoebe Cummings, a graduate from the Royal College of Art, is a ceramic installation artist who works to construct elaborate organic forms directly on site with raw clay.

STOKE-ON-TRENT.- Last night, Thursday 13 October 2011, Phoebe Cummings was presented with the £10,000 Spode Award at a ceremony to celebrate the British Ceramics Biennial at The Potters’ Club, Stoke-on-Trent. The AWARD promotes and celebrates the energy and innovation of contemporary British ceramics, in the context of its long history in Stoke-on-Trent.

Phoebe Cummings, a graduate from the Royal College of Art, is a ceramic installation artist who works to construct elaborate organic forms directly on site with raw clay. Her work for BCB AWARD, Fragment, is taken from A Place Half Remembered, a temporary work made from locally-sourced clay, suggestive of the swamps that once covered Staffordshire and how this prehistoric landscape formed the raw materials that later enabled the industrial revolution of Stoke-On-Trent.

Cummings, 30 was selected from a shortlist of 24 artists representing the very best in contemporary creative ceramics design, practice and manufacture. All shortlisted artists are exhibited in the AWARD exhibition at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery. The AWARD exhibition focuses on creativity, innovation and achievement across the breadth of ceramic practice and design. The shortlist was selected from a national open submission of over 160 applications, across three categories of craft, art and design.

The Spode Award is sponsored by the Portmeirion Group, who acquired the Spode brand, which has over 240 years of history in Stoke-on-Trent, in 2009. The original Spode factory has been transformed into the creative hub of this year’s British Ceramics Biennial.

Barney Hare Duke, BCB Co-Director and member of Spode Award judging panel comments: “The consistent quality demonstrates the accomplishment and vitality of contemporary ceramic practice in the UK. Fragment (A Place Half Remembered) stood out as an extraordinary piece, moving the viewer apprehensively from the past through to an imagined future.”

Michael Haynes, Managing Director of Portmeirion Group UK comments: “We are delighted that our sponsorship of the BCB AWARD helps to celebrate the innovation, skill and artistic excellence of the contemporary ceramics industry in Britain. We want to continue the ceramic industry's journey into a new era of revival and vitality and the work of these artists is paramount to that success. Each artist has strived for new levels of excellence and is therefore an example to us all.”

Councillor Mark Meredith, Stoke-on-Trent City Council cabinet member for economic development, said: “AWARD received applications from across the UK so competition was tight. With the extent of talent here in the Potteries, highlighted by the number of local artists short-listed, it is fitting that this award is being made here in Stoke-on-Trent – the World Capital of Ceramics. The British Ceramics Biennial is showcasing contemporary ceramics at the highest level and entries to this year’s Award highlight that the industry is constantly growing and developing.”

The AWARD finalists were: Carina Ciscato, Robert Cooper, Phoebe Cummings, Lowri Davies, Robert Dawson, Stephen Dixon, Ken Eastman, Philip Eglin, James Evans, Chris Keenan, Rob Kesseler, IKIK Ceramics, Sun Kim, Peter Lewis, Nao Matsunaga, Craig Mitchell, Katharine Morling, Rosa Nguyen, Merete Rasmussen, Julian Stair, Caroline Tattersall, Andrea Walsh and Dawn Youll. Caroline Tattersall and Rosa Nguyen’s work for AWARD is on show at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery and at the original Spode factory site.

The AWARD artists were selected by the Biennial Associates: Alun Graves, Curator of Ceramics & Glass at the V&A, Kevin Oakes, Chief Executive of Steelite International Ltd, Ranti Tjan, Director of the European Ceramic Work Centre in The Netherlands, Ian Vines, Exhibitions Manager at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, and the BCB Co-Directors Barney Hare Duke and Jeremy Theophilus.

The AWARD exhibition is at The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery until 11 December 2011 and is one of the flagship exhibitions in the British Ceramics Biennial.

Spode Award | Phoebe Cummings |

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