Although I have always known about Ceramic Art London this was the first year I have attended since working here at the gallery. Being a lover of all things ceramic and a number of my favourite designers in attendance I had very high hopes and expectations for this year.
Ceramic Art London is held at the Royal College of Art, where they showcase 80 national and international designers along with range of talks and demonstrations to enhance your understanding and enjoyment of studio Ceramics.
Once I arrived with my brochure in hand I just had time for a sneak peak at the exhibitors in the main hall before attending a demonstration by John Higgins ‘slab construction with thrown elements’.
It was a fascinating hour spent both listening to the journey of Johns work and watching him demonstrate the process and techniques he uses. It was interesting and refreshing to see how he stresses the clay and the inevitable tears and holes (which were appearing more so than in his usual process due to the fast pace of the demonstration) these are embraced and worked into the pieces. John used to meticulously plan each piece, knowing exactly how his work would turn out. After attending a similar demonstration by a Japanese ceramicist whose name escapes me, John was heavily influenced by the freedom with which he worked his pots; John left determined his work would become more spontaneous and free and continuously develops his work with this ethos. John is a man very at ease in a room full of people and as with all live events we were running over time but we were in no rush to leave. It’s is fascinating to see that Potters seem so happy to share their experiences and knowledge; it is a very friendly and supportive community that thrives on their passion for ceramics.
My afternoon was spent wandering round the beautiful and enticing stands admiring the collections on show. Our customers often say ‘if I ever win the lottery. . .’ this was definitely going through my head as I wanted to buy so many things! I have a Pinterest board of designer’s work who I hope to one day own and Nichola Theakston is one of them, she creates stunning majestic animals, that are very earthy and organic, with a gorgeous mixture of raw clay and natural glazes. I was lucky enough to have a quick chat with her in between sales and she is a very lovely woman and wasn’t surprised to hear she had sold all her work the day before and had to dash home for some extra pieces.
The top of my wish list of designers to meet while at the fair was Fenella Elms. She creates a mixture of sculptural and wall hung pieces in Porcelain that have a flowing organic quality both in their appearance and through the practises of her making. I spotted Fenella’s stand and felt a little star struck. I fell in love with her work while studying it at University and have never seen it in the Porcelain fibrous flesh. Although I got to stand and admire, probably longer than is polite as I didn’t have a spare £1000 to buy anything. I didn’t meet the lady herself who her husband informed me was touring the show herself with her daughter. Ahh well, I’m not sure what I would of said without the typical ‘I love your work!’ I got to see it, so I am contented. They are such beautiful pieces that are fascinating up close; Fenella doesn’t hide the fingers prints, cracks and little blemishes. These little imperfections make the piece that much more beautiful and make you appreciate the time and effort that has gone into making them.
With over 5 hours of watching, admiring and talking I had had the most amazing and inspiring day. I was very much ready to sit back and relax on the train home. Excited by the prospect of Ceramic Art York taking place in September at York’s new Ceramics Centre. Another day out for the diary!