In Celebration of Mugs
Fancy or plain, functional or decorative, our celebration of mugs will make that morning cuppa a delight with a selection of drinking vessels handmade by some of the most talented ceramicists on the craft scene today. Carefully curated to showcase the skills employed to make this everyday object and to celebrate the originality in each design from form to decoration this exhibition will make you rethink your favourite mug as you choose a new favourite from our collection and not forgetting a teapot or two!
Image: Jane Booth
14th January - 15th April 2023
Alongside the eleven makers curated for this show below, we'll be cherry picking some of our favourite mugs from the gallery and adding them to this exciting showcase...so which one will be your favourite?
“My work centres on the potter’s wheel. Traditional eastern forms inspire me, but spontaneity as a means of personal expression is key to my work. The exuberant action of throwing is enhanced by a continued experimentation through process, form and colour. Mark Making is gestural and intuitive, sometimes relating to form or the process of making."
Chris began working with clay in his mid-thirties when he began a two-year apprenticeship with Edmund de Waal. His collection includes beakers, bowls, cups, teapots, jugs and pots for flowers. Mirror black tenmokus breaking to rust, and luminous celadons, are used independently or in the seductive combination he has long made his own. His technique gets ever more refined. He likes rows, exulting in the rhythm of repeated but subtly different shapes, which emphasise the organic nature of the handmade. Below is a film from Chris about the making of one of his wonderful mugs. From 2017, it's a great short film that gives Chris's background story and also shows him making, glazing, firing and unpacking a mug. It was made by Wiliam Scothern and was first put out on Design Milk as part of William's 'Made in London' series. Enjoy!
Jane works from her home studio in Bristol UK. Her pottery is made with a lot of love and care and because it is handmade each piece is unique. “My work has a nostalgic style, is suitable for everyday use and is dishwasher safe. I make unique, hand thrown and hand decorated pottery using terracotta clay. My work is inspired by vintage ceramics, fabrics, ice-cream colours and classic literature, including works by Jane Austen and the Brontes. My proudest achievement of 2017 was getting my Outlander pottery licensed as Official Merchandise and then selling it through National Trust Scotland. I love to make beautiful, colourful pottery that can be used every day. I design and make unique, wheel thrown ceramic tableware. My aim is to make your favourite coffee mug!”
Charlotte is a ceramicist who's been working for over 10 years from her home in the Yorkshire Dales. She makes hand-built ceramics using porcelain & stoneware clays, to create both functional & decorative items. “My inspiration for my work comes from items I collect, nature & the landscape around me. I’m a keen walker & gardener & I want to transfer what I see & collect from these experiences, into imagery & pattern to decorate my ceramics.” Her most recent work, ‘Natural Specimen’ - reflects collected objects from walks & natural specimens.
Karen is a ceramicist who has created her own personal style with a career spanning nearly 40 years. Her work portrays curvy figures influenced by Greek antiquity and the colours of the impressionists. Known for her figurative nudes and unique use of colour, she makes contemporary functional ceramics, designed and handcrafted to bring bright and modern wares to your everyday life. “I have been working with clay since specialising in ceramics at Camberwell College of Art and Crafts. I was captured by the immediate responsiveness of clay and its fleshy quality as it pushed back on my hands. There I was exposed to and mentored by prominent potters such as Colin Pearson and Janice Tchalenko. In 1983 I established a studio in South London at Sumner Road Workshops with Philip Vian which soon grew to be a collective of makers. Now based in Lincolnshire I work independently from my home studio and work closely with galleries across the UK.” You can discover how Karen decorates her mugs below. Enjoy!
Emily makes and sells handmade pottery in a rustic coastal design. Everything is carefully made on the pottery wheel and fired in her garden studio in south west London. “Inspired by a love of the coast and sea my contemporary tableware comes in a range of glazes named after the seascapes they evoke - from calm waters to misty lagoon. I use a flecked stoneware clay that is wonderful to throw with and creates a beautiful speckle than burns through the glaze in the final firing.” Emily intentionally makes small batches of pottery, working to be the opposite of mass-produced factory tableware. “I believe in craftsmanship and traditional skills. This means pieces are made slowly and intentionally, mug handles are ‘pulled’ and attached by hand, bowls are turned on the pottery wheel and everything is individually dipped in buckets of unique home-made glazes. My tableware is tactile and shows its handmade nature by leaving visible the making process - whether that be throwing rings inside a mug or finger ridges on a pulled handle.” Emily has been a potter for almost 10 years, having discovered ceramics through evening classes in her late 20s. After studying Art History at university, she worked in arts marketing in various London galleries, however she found her days to be lacking in creativity. “From the moment I made something on the pottery wheel I knew I’d found my thing! I wasn’t exactly a natural, but found I had a passion for it to persist and practice and it became an obsession and still is today. I spent a year at college studying ceramics, with a focus on throwing functional ware. I loved making beautiful things you could use every day, and still find it hard to make work that isn’t functional.”
Helen studied Art and Design at Loughborough College of Art, specialising in ceramics and gaining a BA Honours there. She then culminated her studies by attaining a place at the Royal College of Art and graduating with a Degree of Master of Arts. In 1996 Helen formed a ceramic workshop designing and making functional tableware, widely exhibiting throughout the UK. “I enjoy making functional tableware and find it fascinating to observe how our cultural references, with whom we are socialising and the circumstances of the event each effect the tableware choices we make. I like to make pieces that are part of this experience and may spark a comment or conversation. Inspiration for the shapes come from many places including modern architecture. Also living by the sea has given me a passion for the coastline, the elegance of sailing boats the tension of the sail as they glide through the water and the shape and geology of the coastline are all influential aspects of my vessels design. The way an object looks and feels to hold and to use are important considerations for me, when making a functional object, ultimately the aim is to make tableware that will be both enjoyable to look at and fun to use.”
Rebecca studied ceramics at Glasgow School of Art and at the Prague Academy of Applied Arts. Since graduating she has worked as a designer and maker, working in ceramic and glass materials to develop a wide understanding of technique. She now works in porcelain, making simple thrown forms that are gently nurtured to life by subtle alteration. Her colour palette is limited to quiet colours to minimise distraction from the individuality of the pieces. “Hand thrown in porcelain and dip-glazed, I hope that my pots convey a peaceful, un-precious honesty.”
Ian attended Lincoln College of Art then went onto Manchester Polytechnic becoming a self-employed potter since 1988. “All my pots are hand thrown and constructed pieces, fired in an electric kiln, generally to stoneware temperatures. My work has always centred around the teapot. It is a form which has intrigued me since college.” Ian was a founding member of Harding House Gallery, begun in 1990, which is an art & craft cooperative in Lincoln. He remained a member until 2004 when he moved to Wales. Since then Ian has been a member of South Wales potters.
Sophie has been a studio potter for over 30 years and has established a reputation for distinctive imagery and a bold and joyous approach to colour. “My work is slip-painted earthenware ceramics. I paint with coloured slips directly on to the dry clay surface. This immediacy allows for spontaneity and greater tonal depth. I use stencils, paper cut-outs and wax resist and much of my imagery is a response to what I see around me, the colours and textures of the natural world and the urban environment. For instance, I love the way multi-coloured leaves gather around a drain grid or stew in puddles with the blue sky reflected in the water. I also like to express a sense of scatter and flow; rhythm and movement and I try to translate these things into my work through colour and through drawing.”
Helen makes wheel thrown tableware and ovenware - everything from butter dishes to casseroles and mugs and teapots. “I make all my own glazes and currently use a range of colours, made with cobalt, copper, iron and manganese. I am inspired by the North Yorkshire countryside on my doorstep. I use red and black clays, sourced in the UK, and fire my work to 1200 degrees centigrade, in an electric kiln.”
Check out some maker videos from Karen Atherley and Chris Keenan below.
Please note the maker images below may not be works featured in this show but we've taken some photos of the showcase now installed for you to enjoy below. If you want to see more mugs from our makers when you visit just ask, we'll be happy to show you the maker's full range. If you can't visit us then we'll be happy to send you more photos, just get in touch.
If you want to see more mugs from our makers when you visit just ask, we'll be happy to show you the maker's full range. If you can't visit us then we'll be happy to send you more photos, just get in touch.
Our Virtual Gallery Tour can be watched below!