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Ceramic Art London 2018: The international contemporary ceramics event of the year opens
Work by Roger Coll.

LONDON.- Ceramic Art London offers visitors the rare opportunity to buy beautifully hand-crafted pieces direct from the maker. Prices start at just £15 for one of Sue Pryke’s softly coloured earthenware teaspoons, and £25 for a perfectly formed minute vessel by Yuta Segawa, to £5000 for one of James Oughtibridge’s large-scale sculptures (recently commissioned for a set on the Bond film Spectre ). From those searching for a little something special to those looking to invest in a statement piece, CAL offers collectors of all budgets the chance to take something away with them.

Opened with a keynote speech by Grayson Perry CBE, the always popular ClayTalks, programmed by the faculty at Central Saint Martins, includes Phoebe Cummings, winner of the Woman’s Hour Craft Prize 2017; Professor Simon Lacey on the history of the Craft Potters Association; artist Keith Harrison, winner of the Jerwood Award for Joyride , an installation which re-united industry and nature through a life sized clay replica of the final Rover 75; Ian McIntyre, whose re-imagining of the ‘Brown Betty’ prompted a celebration of the iconic 300 year old teapot, regarded by some as the first ‘open source’ design object. While Home from Home celebrates international ceramicists who have made the UK their home, a number of talks focus on how Stokeon-Trent is reclaiming its mantle as a global centre for ceramics manufacturing and education, including lecturer Helen Felcey and Dena Bagi from the British Ceramics Biennial, and Keith Brymer Jones, who plans to reopen the historic Spode factory.

In a first for Ceramic Art London, CSM students will host a ceramic studio where they
will make new work in front of a live audience. As well as gaining insight into all stages of the making process, visitors will be offered the opportunity to comment on the direction the work should take as it is being made.

A quarter of the exhibiting makers are from overseas this year, with a third of them travelling from Korea. Reflecting the selectors’ desire to showcase CAL favourites whilst introducing new faces, this year’s fair features twenty first-time exhibitors, including well established potters Henry Pim, with his intricately engineered architectural structures, and Monika Debus, whose symbol laden pieces are the product of a practice that focuses on painting, calligraphy, experiment and chance. Rising star newcomers include Marike Jacobs with her multi-textured cups and pitchers and Hilary Mayo whose graceful, paint drip-effect creations subtly satirise the making process.

Ceramic Art London is renowned for traversing the boundary between functionality andfine art as demonstrated by Alison Gautrey's shell-like tilting bowls, Ashraf Hanna's undulating modernist lines and Barry Stedman's coloursplashed wares that bring to mind abstract painting. The fair pops with colour this Spring with Grainne Watts’blooming polkadot vessels in shades of crimson and cobalt and Lara Scobie’s vases vividly detailed in red, orange and yellow. Sophie Cook’s impossibly elegant bottles return in luminous hues of lemon and lime, while Roger Coll’s idiosyncratic, twisting forms are rendered in bold palettes of red, blue and coral. The sculptural abounds too in Martin Pearce’s Henry Moore-esque forms, Angela Verdon’s sensual works of abstraction and Joachim Lambrecht’s darkly enigmatic forms. While In Ho Song’s playful clay characters push at the boundaries of the tradition, and Anelise Bredow’s cartoon-like designs bring some alien-inspired humour to the fair.

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