Monday, 22 June 2020
Monday, 16 March 2020
Last month I welcomed a maker new to Bevere Gallery - Sharon Griffin - and this month we are delighted to have yet another fine maker who is new to this Gallery – Ruth Gibson, who we were pleased to invite to join us for our Makers Lunch. Her impressively constructed and decorated work undoubtedly helps to maintain Bevere's reputation for diversity, originality and quality
Ruth is an experienced and skilled maker in porcelain, combining a love of photography, printmaking and ceramics, to evoke a sense of place; in particular the Shropshire landscape, Welsh coast and mountains. She certainly does just that and her imagery and the overall design of her work is striking.
I first saw her pieces at the Oxford Ceramic Fair last year and her distinctive black on white decoration immediately drew me in. Once again, we are seeing the two major elements in art and craft – undoubted quality and skill combined with an original voice.
Ruth gave many insights during the two hours spent talking with her about the way her creativity has developed over her years as an artist maker and the constant desire to take her work forward. Apart from the work on display in the Gallery, Ruth also produces large outdoor pieces - mostly on commission – and her enthusiasm for the grand scale was self evident.
Clearly, her black on white – often porcelain produces striking - indeed memorable – pieces. Her description of the way in which screen printing – one her major techniques – has to be approached to avoid spoilt outcomes made it clear that printing was no straightforward decorative choice.
It became increasingly evident during our time with her that her creative energy demanded the range of skills which she has in photography printmaking and working with clay in different modes.
A significant number of her pieces are mounted and everyone acknowledged that her landscapes particularly involving winter trees, which she loves and swooping murmurations of birds benefited from the perspectives gained from wall hanging. Having said that her bowls and platters demanded to be picked up and studied at length.
Whilst black and white dominates it also emerged that Ruth has a strong desire to use colour – albeit sensitively to enhance her imagery. Whatever direction her work takes, we were left in no doubt that the distinctive Ruth Gibson voice will remain.
Thank you Ruth for a stimulating and enjoyable event.
Wednesday, 11 March 2020
THE CURATOR'S VIEW
After our traditional opening of the year with the Annual Graduate Show - which was very well received – it is now time to start the featured maker calendar for 2020.
I am delighted that we have Sharon Griffin opening the programme. She is one of a number of first time makers joining us at Bevere during this year. She is a skilled sculptural ceramicist primarily of the human form. She particularly seeks an underlying narrative so that one or more aspects of our lives will be evident in this remarkable work. We are also very pleased that she will be joining us for a Maker's Lunch when we can explore her inspiration and making processes. We have been particularly impressed with her distinctive approach and the quality of her work. Looking forward to seeing her exceptional pieces in the gallery.
Debbie Barber will be known to many of our visitors. She has shown her fine raku black and white pieces at Bevere before. She has been developing her work over the last year and we look forward to seeing the direction she is taking, however, we know that Debbie's recognisable voice will be sustained. We are particularly pleased that we will be setting her work alongside Sharon's sculpture – the contrast will lift the spirits I am sure.
The Graduate Show dominated the main Gallery space during January and now we will be reintroducing the wide range of ceramicists that we show here at Bevere. There will always be something new for you to see here.
Sunday, 9 February 2020
MAKER'S LUNCH - February 2020 with Sarah Griffin
This was the first of our Makers Lunches in 2020. I was delighted that Sharon Griffin agreed to open this year's programme. She is one of a number of makers showing at Bevere this year.
I was immediately taken with her work when I saw it for the first time at Oxford Ceramic Fair in 2019. Self-evidently she is a skilled sculptural ceramicist, primarily of the human form. She particularly seeks an underlying narrative so that one or more aspects of our lives will be evident in this remarkable work. I have already discovered that the more time I spend with Sharon's work the more I see in every piece. Like all work of this kind it benefits from simply looking.
Sharon has a background in fine art and for a number of years she painted prolifically. She brought along prints and books which illustrated her considerable talent … although she now focuses exclusively on her ceramic sculpture.
Early on during our time together, she gave a frank and open insight into her extraordinary early life involving considerable family trauma. We were all left with admiration at the way her innate talent had broken through and her artistic ambition had overcome many personal difficulties.
Clay is her canvas now and interestingly there is a sense with most of her work that she is sketching in clay – this is why looking closely at individual pieces is so revealing. She is currently thinking about making larger work and also working in bronze – a material which she admires. She spent time discussing her approach to clay and the use of different clays for her pieces including porcelain, which is of course not easy to work with although the outcome is stunning.
Sharon has lived in Telford all her life and she is clearly influenced by the communities that surround her, whether they be rural or industrial particularly the heritage of places like Ironbridge. Sharon is highly sensitive to her environment and is a close observer of people. All of this and her life to date have contributed significantly to her inspirational work.
This was a most enjoyable two hours with Sharon and we are particularly grateful that she gave up part of her Birthday to be with us.
Do come to Bevere and see her work if you can, you will not be disappointed.
Thursday, 28 November 2019
FEATURED MAKER PROGRAMME 2020
We have had another stimulating few months putting together our programme of featured makers for 2020, including the Maker's Lunches which, hopefully, will be held each month throughout the year.
11 January to 5 February
13th Annual Graduate Show
This will be another great start to the Gallery calendar. A separate Journal entry sets out the detail and the participants who will provide us with a diverse range of new work.
8 February to 4 March
Debbie Barber and Sharon Griffin
Debbie Barber has shown her fine raku black and white pieces at Bevere before. She has been developing her work over the last year and we look forward to seeing the direction she is taking, however, we know that Debbie's recognisable voice will be sustained.
Sharon Griffin is one of a number of new makers joining us in 2020. She is a skilled sculptural ceramicist primarily of the human form. She particularly seeks an underlying narrative so that one or more aspects of our lives will be evident in this remarkable work. We are also very leased that she will be joining us for a Maker's Lunch when we can explore her inspiration and making processes with her.
Maker's Lunch: 8 February – Sharon Griffin
7 March to 1 April
Ruth Gibson and Christopher Taylor
Ruth Gibson is another new face at the Gallery. She is an experienced and skilled maker in porcelain, combining a love of photography, printmaking and ceramics, to evoke a sense of place; in particular the Shropshire landscape and the Welsh coast and mountains. She certainly does just that and her imagery and the overall quality of her work is striking. Her Maker's Lunch will certainly be one not to miss.
Christopher Taylor is an old friend of Bevere Gallery and we delighted to be showing his distinctive work here again. He too has been working on developing hid decorative style and we anticipate seeing some exciting new pieces. The combination of traditional and contemporary decorative technique has always been a feature of his work and it will be interesting to see whether this remains a key element of his decoration.
Maker's Lunch: 7 or 14 March – Ruth Gibson
4 April to 28 April
Chris Carter, Annabel Faraday and Robin Welch
Chris Carter is amongst those we call Master Potters and we are proud to have shown his work here over a number of years. Whilst his work changes direction as he works on new ideas, the quality of his making and the elegance of his design remain a constant, as does his reference to past cultures and his interpretation through a contemporary perspective.
Annabel Faraday has not featured here for some time, although she has shown here at Bevere on a number of occasions, including commissioned pieces depicting Worcester from unusual perspectives. Her main body of work involves a process of printing onto both sides of raw clay slabs that have been coloured with stained slips. The vessels are illustrated with her own (sometimes digitally altered) photographs and often with maps indicating the source of the photos. Her work always fascinates.
Robin Welch has not been well however, as with so many long established makers, his creative drive remains. We are delighted and privileged to have his abstract decorated vessels with us again; we know that this has taken no small effort on his part which makes this feature even more special. We are sure that there will be many ceramic enthusiasts who will look forward to seeing his work with anticipation.
Maker's Lunch: 4 April - Chris Carter
2 May to 30 June
Wendy Lawrence, Guy Routledge and Sutton Taylor
Wendy Lawrence was shown at Bevere for the first time in 2019. As we write, her fine pieces can be seen in the Gallery courtyard. Her sculptural work and innovative decorative techniques provide attractive features for inside the house and the garden. The inspiration for her work comes from natural form and texture together with architecture and antiquity.
Guy Routledge has shown his sculptural ceramics twice in recent years and it is good to have him with us again. Guy's sculptures are distinctly his voice with a strong contemporary feel. There are modernist influences, which impact on the shaping of his pieces reinforced by the simple highlighting of features and plain presentation. Always guaranteed to make you stop, look and smile.
Sutton Taylor is another eminent long established maker whose work has been at Bevere before and always much admired. His reputation grew as his making developed. His skill as a potter is widely acknowledge both in the throwing and decoration of his vessels. He has pieces in many permanent collections, including the Victoria & Albert Museum.
Maker's Lunches: 2 May - Wendy Lawrence
6 June - Guy Routledge
4 July to 28 July
Akiko Hirai, Ostinelli and Priest
Akiko Hirai is one of makers whose appearance at Bevere always makes an impact. She bases her designs on the Japanese aesthetics of relativity, the beauty of imperfection, irregularity, spontaneity, and impurity. Every piece begs to be held in the hand and for the sheer beauty of the design and decoration to be absorbed, Great to have her here again
Ostinelli and Priest have always thought of their work as a cross-over. On the one hand is sculpture, with pieces created in clay and fired, and on the other is painting where the colour is applied. Bringing both of these elements together builds the character and individuality of each piece. The working partnership flourishes and develops simply due to the balance of understanding between the two artists. This in turn enables them to continue to create work that pleases and inspires. We look forward to seeing the latest extraordinary sculptures and talking with them about their inspiration when they join us for the Maker's Lunch.
Maker's Lunch: 4 July – Ostinelli and Priest
1 August to 1 September
John Wheeldon, James Oughtibridge
John Wheeldon has not shown his work at Bevere for some time. He is a long established maker with a reputation for high quality and an apparently indefatigable creative curiosity. His decoration is skilfully and imaginatively applied and changes as his exploration of making possibilities is taken forward. He was pleased to accept our invitation to join us for a Maker's Lunch and we know that it will be a revelatory couple of hours when we learn more about his creative drive.
James Oughtibridge has also not been at Bevere for a number of years. Every time we see his work the elegance of his sculptural pieces and their presence whether they be large or small is very striking. An individual voice that has matured into work of artistic significance now produces pieces which make an immediate impact on the viewer. He constructs curved sections of clay with numerous planes and perspectives, inviting the viewer to peer inside to a world of contorted shadows. A world that is always worth exploring!
Maker's Lunch: 1 August – John Wheeldon
5 September to 29 September
Grainne Watts, Mark Smith
Grainne Watts is new to Bevere, She has an established reputation in Ireland where she lives and works. Her work is stunning and original and few would fail to be bowled over by the beauty and elegance of every one of her fine pieces. In recent years, her work has developed into specific themes that explore and expand through limited edition series. There are unifying sources of inspiration that run through each body of work. Many of these influences relate to colour, pattern and the visual and tactile marks evident in nature. She works with porcelain and stoneware clays and uses layers of vibrant under-glazes and slips to create interesting surface detail.
Mark Smith is a Bevere favourite who has shown often at Bevere and his work has always sold very well. It is his use of mixed media and distinctive making often with a quirky twist that appeals. Each piece of Mark's work draws inspiration from the sea, and each has it's own unique appearance and story to tell. Objects found on travels or by shoreline often become part of the work. Mark uses a variety of techniques to achieve the finished look of a piece, focusing mainly on decay and repair. The work is constantly changing due to the materials found, each piece can never be replicated.
Maker's Lunch: 5 September – Mark Smith
3 October to 27 October
Matthew Blakely, Tony and Jack Laverick
Matthew Blakely is an exceptional maker with an unusual approach to his craft. In recent times he has been making pots from materials gathered from different areas of the country. As he sees it, of all the arts, ceramics is the most fundamentally linked to the physical make up of the planet and best illustrates the link between science and art. Pots represent our relationship with and dependency on the planet, making things for human use from the dug earth beneath our feet. It is fascinating to see how the use of different materials produces such varied effects. Great to be able to see his work at Bevere again.
Tony Laverick has exhibited at Bevere before and it is always a privilege to show his exquisite vessels which have changed and developed over the years, but retain the distinct Laverick voice. His work draws on various sources and cultures, and he is always evolving his own original vision, which is a juxtaposition of controlled, linear designs with areas of loose, painterly decoration. He uses the surface of the pot as a painter uses a canvas.
His son Jack Laverick studied at Leek College of Art. He has been working for some time in porcelain and his portfolio now consists of slip cast porcelain lighting with smaller items such as tea lights and planters. He uses the translucency of porcelain for his lighting which has, in the main, industrial themes. It is great to have Tony and jack exhibiting here together.
Maker's Lunch: 3 October – Matthew Blakely
31 October to 5 January (2021)
Yo Thom; Richard Heeley: Lara Scobie
Yo Thom has been a friend of Bevere Gallery for a number of years and the last time she was here, she joined us for a memorable Maker's Lunch when she gave a very open and frank account of her making career and her creative drive. Yo makes thrown and hand-built functional stoneware with influence from the traditions of both British and Japanese pottery and food culture. She aims to create tableware, which will become “clothes for food” as Rosanjin, a famous Japanese potter and restaurateur once said. Yo’s pots perform their function as tableware in harmony with the food whilst retaining their strong personality.
Richard Heeley is another friend of Bevere who has shown here for a number of years. He practices free flowing brushwork and spends long hours repeating his designs to gain a fluid feel and simplicity that matches the thrown clay and fits as part of the pot, working in harmony with the form. His work is Influenced by a deep appreciation of Korean 16th century ware from the Chosôn dynasty. We are pleased that he is joining us for what will be a fascinating Maker's Lunch.
Lara Scobie is a highly skilled ceramic designer and decorator whose work will be familiar to regular Bevere visitors. It will be twelve months since she last featured here and we know that many will delight in the use of colour and the precision of her decoration. The theme of balance is a constant, significantly underlining her current work in which ideas of dynamic interplay between form and surface develop. By integrating drawing, surface mark making and volume she plays with the balance of space and pattern alongside hue and texture on both the decorated and void surface areas. Her work is a delight to eye and hand.
Maker's Lunch: 31 October
21 November - Richard Heeley
Tuesday, 12 November 2019
Once again we have had the pleasure of a most informative and enjoyable two hours over lunch with Sasha Wardell.
We have had the pleasure of showing Sasha's work here over a number of years and there is no doubt that the skill and elegance demonstrated by her work adds so much to the pleasure of our visitors.
Sasha's hallmark style, a distinctive combination of pure white slip cast bone china, treated with unique decorating techniques and finished in a carefully chosen palette of muted, subtle colours, has made her work highly sought after by private collectors, museums and contemporary art galleries worldwide.
Once again, we see very clearly demonstrated by her individual pieces an issue we have discussed many times during these events which is 'presence' – the ability of an individual piece to communicate with the viewer – indeed to make an impact. I admire Sasha's work on a number of levels – her skill and precision, the elegance and at times understatement - perhaps subtlety of design would be more appropriate – of each vessel and her choice and combination of colour. You want to look – you want to pick them up and feel that texture and shape of this fine work.
She was very open about the way she works and over time how much of the apparent precision was now almost intuitive which says much about her eye for detail and her innate making skills. It was also evident that her early years in industrial ceramics – both in her training and a number of attachments to major makers including Limoges plays a considerable part in her technical prowess.
Bone china was her choice of material early on in her career and given the translucency of so much of her work and the response to light and shade it is not difficult to see why. She responded to a range of questions about her making processes which fascinated everyone.
As always, it is difficult to summarise such an extended conversation. It was interesting to hear about her divided time between England and France where she also has a studio and the time that she devotes to teaching, which has been a major aspect of her career to date.
Surprisingly, Sasha had only returned from Vancouver two days before the lunch and it was interesting to here of her experience running workshops and teaching in Western Canada. We have to be most grateful for her added effort in travelling up from Wiltshire for this event – she certainly deserves a few rest days!!