This April sees the keenly awaited return of Europes largest ceramics event, following an enforced two-year break. Taking place over three days in the grand concourse of Central Saint Martins, Ceramic Art London
will build on three years of expansion that have seen audiences triple, with every event sold out.
Featuring 92 leading makers from 11 different countries and with price points ranging between £20 £5000, Ceramic Art London is the place to see and buy the best contemporary ceramics, from the functional and decorative to the abstract and architectural.
This years cohort of exhibitors includes 24 newcomers. Among them, James Evans, whose textural corrugated works are crusted with rusted iron, Thai artist Eiair (or Hassakorn Hirunsirichoke) with his intricate and alienesque miniature forms and, from Canada, Toni Losey whose sculptural works draw on the natural world and evoke imaginings of new-fangled marine life. Other notable first-timers include Emma Lacey whose sublimely simple but tactile table wares recently made an appearance on The Great British Bake-Off, and Andrew Walker whose brutalism-inspired graphic vessels resemble stoneware paper lanterns.
Returning makers include Tricia Thom, with her Japanese-inspired porcelain works, renowned maker Sue Pryke, who, as well as being a major designer for IKEA, is a judge for The Great Pottery Throw Down and Patricia Shone, whose natural textures reflect the formation and erosion in the geology of the Isle of Skye where she lives and works.. Animals and nature are a recurring theme, from Jenny Southams pastoral scenes to Charlotte Packs Species Pots to Zoe Whitesides white stoneware polar bears.
Covid19 impacted virtually every sector of society and the field of ceramics was no different. During the pandemic, unable to teach, or show, makers went back to their studios, experimented and reflected. For them, this years edition of CAL presents an opportunity for ceramic artists to reconnect with the public, and to reflect their evolution as makers.
Patience and resilience is a prerequisite for life as a potter, but the pandemic has tested the best of us to the limit. Potters are used to isolation too. While we are well-practised at being holed up in the studio exploring and developing new ideas and designs the past two years have shown us that we cannot do what we do in a bubble. It has shown us that we need other people; people who offer critiques of our output, who appreciate and buy what we make and, crucially, it has shown us how much we gain as part of a supportive community of fellow makers. So, I am beyond thrilled that the return of this important and joyous convening means that we get to see each other once again. Lara Scobie, Ceramic Artist and Chair of Ceramic Art London
Programmed by Central Saint Martins Lecturer Duncan Hooson, ClayTalks returns with a series of illuminating talks given by prestigious names from the ceramic world. Highlights include Sara Howard creator of Circular Ceramics, a handmade tableware collection made from industrial waste by-products who will be speaking on the challenges of developing sustainable practises in ceramic making. She will be joined by Iris de Kievith and Annemarie Piscaer who, through their project Smogware, have developed a ceramic glaze partly formed of harvested pollutants. Together, they will be offering advice to makers on how to build sustainability into their practice.
As we consider the impact of the pandemic on the world of ceramics - travel limitations, scarcity of materials and the vulnerability of self employment - its perhaps helpful to remember how this over 28000 year-old artform has endured despite wars, environmental catastrophe, famine, and disease. While the world convulses, the material remains constant - offering up endlessly mutable forms that serve as reassuring touchstones that mark out time. So, we celebrate the return of the makers, the potters, the ceramic artists and the people who love what they make. We cant wait! Antony Quinn, Course Leader BA Ceramic Design, Central Saint Martins