Saturday, 21 December 2013

THE CURATOR’S VIEW – January 2014

I have often wondered why the annual Graduate Show at Bevere is so popular with our visitors. Holding the show in January – the 2014 exhibition is our 8th – is a lively start to the year and many people come to the opening as an antidote to the extended confinement of Christmas and New Year. Clearly the show is more than just ‘somewhere to go’ in the darkest days of winter. It is also the first time that most visitors will have seen the work of the selected 2013 graduates from universities across the country. They look forward to seeing new, talented makers who for the most part will go on to enrich the diverse ranks of professional ceramicists.
I have been asked many times how we select the graduates for the show given that there are several hundred a year to choose from. Firstly, we are not saying that these graduates are the best of their year; that would be a hazardous statement given the subjective judgements involved. The thirteen exhibitors display the primary characteristics that are shared by all of the makers we represent – ceramic craft skills and a singular voice. The latter is about creativity and self-expression; the determination to produce authentic work and a style that over time will be recognisably their own.
There is another interesting phenomenon, which only becomes apparent from the accumulated experience of several graduate shows. It is the way in which reputations ebb and flow. Wales is particularly strong this year with several exhibitors from Carmarthen and Cardiff. Other leading schools from earlier years are less strong and some, sadly, have closed during this time. It is also a reflection of how difficult it is to maintain high standards over an extended period.
 For our part we have worked hard to ensure that the standard of this annual event is sustained and remains a high spot in the ceramic calendar.
This year’s group are exemplary; I am sure that many will go on to become established names. It would be inappropriate to name names at this point, particularly as we will be offering our visitors the opportunity to vote for the best in the show. Make sure that you get to see the show for yourself – it opens on Saturday 11th January 2014 – as a taster, here are a few images of the work which will be in the exhibition.

VALERIE  PRICE-WEST was voted the favourite graduate in the 2013 show. Bevere Gallery is delighted to be showing her work again exactly one year on from that show. Valerie is still very much influenced by the sea and her passion for rowing but those who remember her work last year will see that it has become more abstract and organic. It has been a feature of graduate show exhibitors that their work has undergone significant development over a relatively short period; we hope that the Graduate Show provides some impetus to that process.
 It will be noted that there are three graduates from Carmarthenshire College this year. Valerie is also a graduate from Carmarthen and this is an indication of the quality makers that the college is producing at this time.
Stuart Dickens
Ceramic Curator.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Review from the WORCESTER NEWS Saturday 9th November 2013

Thank you  Worcester News for this feature in last Saturday's issue by Catherine Phillips


There's Plenty of art adorning the walls of Bevere Cafe 

Catherine Phillips wants to keep a charming cafe a secret but fears it maybe already too late-  the word is out and the word is delightful"

 Read the whole page



Monday, 4 November 2013

THE CURATOR'S VIEW - November 2013

"Visiting Oxford Ceramics Fair at the end of October provided an excellent opportunity to gauge the current market and the mood of the makers. I was struck as always by the quality of the exhibitors but also the extent to which many had taken their work forward over the last year. The atmosphere was generally optimistic and whilst visitor numbers appeared to be down there was no lack of commercial activity.
 The issues facing ceramics are complex; to blame the economy as the sole driver is far too simplistic. What everyone seems to agree is that, if we do nothing but grit our teeth and hope for a return of the good times, then we will be disappointed and bereft of income.
New designs and approaches from established makers are attracting attention. The new generation of collectors is more eclectic in taste and open to wider possibilities. Makers and galleries need to have greater insight into their markets and respond with initiatives that stimulate interest and forge new networks. I suspect that we are now in a new era of collaborative working, innovative approaches to promoting and selling ceramics and anticipating potential changes rather than the post hoc agonising that has been a feature of past years.
Having got that off my chest I am delighted that we have featured makers in the gallery to take us up until the end of the year who have never stood still and produce pieces which I find enormously satisfying.
 has been through considerable change in recent times. He was lead potter through the exacting renaissance of the Leach pottery and has now established his own pottery in Mousehole, Cornwall where he is producing pots that are undeniably his voice but with that distinctive Cornish colour palette. It will be good to show these lovely pots at a time when the light and weather deteriorates here.

have shown work at Bevere on a number of occasions over the last few years and I am delighted that they are here again. They show together regularly and share a common fascination with human physiology – Sally mainly the whole body; Alasdair the face in particular.
Their influences are many and varied but individually they have an original and distinctive voice. Both are talented sculptors with a skilled use of colour. For me this is world art. It is not obviously British but nor is it easy to categorize. It makes you smile; stand back and admire and step forward to take in the detail. There is joy here and those who know Sally will know that so much of her personality resonates through her work. If you have never seen their work before you are in for a treat.
SYLVIA RYAN. I suspect that it is the humour, draughtsmanship and the strong blue and white decoration which has appealed so much to gallery visitors.
was literally one of the sell-out makers in the 2012 Cornwall Show and I am delighted to have her work back at Bevere. For those of you who bought or admired her work – and there were many of you – a new group of pieces will be in the gallery by Saturday 9
During the coming weeks we will also have new work from the Bevere list – Richard Heeley,  Japanese inspired tea bowls and boxes:
Richard Godfrey, whose new work is amazing as is his painting to which he has returned; Hennie Meyer whose bowls were a sell out in the summer:
 John Wheeldon teabowls – I love them –

Annie Peaker,
whose sculpture sold out last time round and hopefully other surprises.
Those who know me understand that I am not an enormous fan of Christmas, or to be more precise the crass commercialisation of a religious festival; nevertheless I am in no doubt that we will have much to bring cheer this festive season and importantly inspiration for that special gift.
Stuart Dickens

Thursday, 3 October 2013


   October 2013
If you have read this blog before then you will know that diversity and quality are important elements in the gallery’s ceramic programme. We are featuring the work of three very different ceramicists this month. Two of them are previous Graduate Show winners and the third has become an internationally established artist since she showed here first in 2006.
Emma Rodgers may now be familiar in Paris and New York; however we value the long held relationship with this exceptional ceramic sculptress. Some may remember the life-sized bronze ballerina that graced our courtyard some years ago and this time we have a bronze falcon 
which has already made an impact on the few who have seen it. Emma has the ability to capture the essence of whatever animal she portrays and this time we have three of her wall mounted running hares, a peacock and a bull. This work needs no signature - Emma’s signature is her unique approach to her subjects and the spirit of life which they embrace.  I could say more, but that would be no substitute for seeing them for yourself  in the gallery or on line.

The Annual Graduate Show is an opportunity for new and emerging ceramicists to show in a commercial gallery and a chance for us to promote new makers and continue to support their careers in what is never going to be an easy profession. The same two criteria apply – craft skills and an individual voice. Our other two featured makers have both.
Jewels Williams–Peplow (Jewels has married since we last featured her work) has developed her fine porcelain pieces in two directions. I particularly like her coffee set – two mugs, a  jug and sugar bowl on an oak tray. This looks like the beginning of a significant series and I hope she develops it further. It has the kind of elegant design chic that is increasingly featured in the interiors journals. Her other work is more familiar but then again she has given more emphasis to her micro landscape friezes, which add interest and presence to her small pieces. As always they are beautifully made with a studied care which has been her hallmark since graduation.
Chris Taylor has had work at Bevere since he won the Graduate show award two years ago. His ability to embrace the contemporary with traditional decorative approaches has had a surprisingly wide appeal across all ages and tastes. I say surprisingly, because it is something that is difficult to achieve.
I know from a recent conversation with him that his work will not stand still and he already sees this current series ending soon with the emergence of new pieces – watch this space. I hope that Bevere will be amongst the first to show them. In the meantime enjoy another great group of pots from this exciting and insightful potter.

If these featured makers were not enough, we also have new bodies of work from Matt Horne whose rich crystalline glazes are applied to beautifully thrown vessels; two indoor pieces from Kathy Shadwell whose larger work was in the Gallery Outside in the summer and a new name to Bevere - Rob Fountain - whose original three dimensional landscapes are well worth a view.  
We believe that contrast and diversity in ceramics contributes to the good feelings that so many visitors have about Bevere Gallery. We are able to show month on month that the best of ceramics can add so much pleasure to everyday living. I know from my personal experience that the desire to own is driven by that more than any other motivation. 
 Stuart Dickens

Monday, 2 September 2013

THE CURATOR’S VIEW - September 2013

Anyone with an interest in ceramics will be aware of the historical importance of Wobage Farm and Michael Casson, one of the important figures in late 20th century studio ceramics. Sadly, Mick is no longer with us, but his legacy remains in the vibrant group of makers that continue to espouse quality and diversity in their craft. As was said in his Guardian obituary in 2003 “ he did not promote a single philosophy or approach, proclaiming the broad vista of possibilities that pottery offered as fertile territory in which a creative individual could flourish.”

 It is a pleasure to see the Wobage potters in a single collaborative show - Jeremy Steward, 
Patia Davis, Sheila Herring, Sheila Casson, Clare and Andrew McGarva.

 Wobage has long been seen as an important and influential cooperative which has supported and trained many potters. For me this Wobage feature is an opportunity to see the range of work that continues to be produced there and to pay tribute to a group of potters that maintain the ideals that Mick established back in 1977.

There is a spirit at Wobage which welcomes young potters and is open minded about styles and approaches to the craft. They are enthusiastic teachers and many aspiring potters owe much to their tutelage. It is a pleasure to promote their work which adds much to the richness and diversity that Bevere already brings to our visitors.


I am also able to announce that the exhibitor list for the 8th Bevere Graduate Show has just been finalised. I am in no doubt that this year’s show will be amongst the best we have curated – see what you

Monday, 29 July 2013

Curator's View - August 2013

The high temperature and humidity has created a somewhat languid mood in us all, however at Bevere we try hard to create a different and hopefully refreshing look each month by showing diverse and contrasting studio ceramics.
This month sees the return of makers we have long admired and a potter who was one of the standout exhibitors from the Cornwall Show last year.
is a German ceramicist from Munich
 Some of you will remember her pieces when they were shown in our German Show in 2010. Christiane’s vessels have a presence created through high level skills and elegant design. They are tactile pieces which combine traditional and contemporary sensibilities. It is good to have this fine work back in the gallery and I hope that you will like it as much as we do.
PETER BEARD is a doyen of British studio ceramicists. Earth and Fire and was very well received.
This group of pots shows his technical prowess and his design skills. Peter and Christiane have been friends for a long time and I know that they like to show together. The contrast in their work is stunning and Christian’s monochrome pieces sit so well alongside Peter’s often complex decoration. He has recently shown at in the gallery at Rufford concurrent with

CHARLOTTE JONES was one of over forty makers in the Cornwall show last year and many will remember her bowls
which are so redolent of the landscape in which she lives and works. She is a maker completely at one with her environment and you will find it hard to resist picking up these delightful pieces.

CHRISTY KEENEY  is arguably one of the best known and admired of
ceramic sculptures. His deconstructed figures are Christy’s distinctive voice and I never cease to enjoy his take on the human form. Artist in clay is a well-worn clichĂ©, nevertheless it is an entirely appropriate description of this talented maker.

We will also be showing new work form CHRIS CARTER
and the sculpting partnership of OSTINELLI and PRIEST.

Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, 3 July 2013


Before telling you about the new work in the gallery during July, I would like to comment on the Ceramics Now event. We had a good number of visitors who clearly appreciated some of the best makers in studio ceramics. The feedback was universally positive and it was particularly heartening to see the time and focus that so many gave to a fine body of work from our exhibitors. Whilst the on-line galleries and ceramic fairs are important elements in a changing market, we hope that the gallery continues to play an important role in educating and promoting, as well as selling ceramics.
Whilst last month was clearly a high spot in our ceramics calendar, we have endeavoured to bring you new work from makers that will bring you back to Bevere during July. In fact, you can be sure that we will always having something new to stimulate, provoke and give pleasure.
Featured this month are James Oughtibridge, Ashley Howard and Richard Heeley.

James Outibridge has provided a wonderfully crafted feature for the courtyard which consists of two tall sinuous pieces which engage each other in intimate conversation. There are four more of his
James's Large Black Vessel
seductively shaped ceramic sculptures inside the main gallery. I’ve been keen to show James’s work for some time and I know that he will add presence and elegance to the gallery – hope that you agree.

Ashley Howard provides another set of his tea bowls and urns in his inimitable style. David Whiting accurately described him “using tradition and his own idiosyncratic hand to enliven the language of the present, and in so doing, helps to give clay its continuing life”. The synthesis of contemporary aesthetics within a traditional context certainly works for me.

Richard Heeley is new to Bevere and he comes

on the back of an excellent feature in the latest issue of Ceramic Review.  This work is an amalgam of oriental influence, fine draughtsmanship, decorative skills and elegant design. His tea bowls, complete with decorated box and matching paper wrapper for the vessel, show his eye for detail. These pieces are a visual treat.

If these makers are not enough for you, then we have new work from

Peter Hayes, Fritz Rossmann and Keith Varney.
Keith Varney' s Hand built Porcelain
 We are also blessed with a sculpture by young Taiwanese ceramicist Chiu-I Wu which is being shown in the courtyard – I hope that we will have her work in the main gallery next year.
The Ceramics Now show may be over but Bevere continues to truly represent ceramics now.

Saturday, 29 June 2013


  Yoga In the Garden
A full day Workshop with Alix Jones
In the garden at Bevere Knoll, Worcester
Wednesday 12th August 2014

10.00am – 11.45 am     Yoga on the Lawns
11.45am – 1.00pm     Lunch on the Lawns                                                                        followed by time to wander in the                                                       woods and gardens
1.00pm – 4.00pm                  Yoga on the Lawns

Bring layers of clothing and your usual yoga equipment,
Water will be provided

The yoga day will be led by Alexandra Jones, whose emphasis is unwinding tensions and stress through movement , breath work and meditation.  A day to recharged our batteries , with a variety of practices to support body, mind and our spiritual self.

Yoga translates as "to unite" this day will be uniting all sides of ourselves and meeting others in a beautiful environment.

"No previous experience of yoga is necessary, this yoga session is open to all , and inclusive practice  to share.

Alexandra has been teaching Yoga for eight years, in Malvern and London, she runs a yoga centre in Malvern.

The style of yoga is based on the ideas of Vanda Scaravelli.  See my website <>  for more information.

"I look forward to sharing a wonderful day,   Alexandra"

£45 per person inclusive of picnic lunch from Bevere CafĂ©
(If the course leaders need to cancel due to inclement weather, a full refund will be given)


To book your place please call Kim on 07770 980 620 or email her at
Once your dues have been received confirmation will be sent to you
 including directions and parking details

Monday, 17 June 2013

Pot of the Month - June 2013


We have chosen this piece by Ashraf Hanna for several reasons. It is one of a number of pots in the current show – CERAMICS NOW - which I have found quite mesmeric. It has great presence; the cushion like quality of the work gives it an ‘otherness’ which I find difficult to define. Secondly, there have been more conversations with visitors to the gallery about this piece than any other. I should also add a statement of the obvious - it is technically superb.
Ashraf’s new vessels are very different from the familiar Hanna sculptural pieces which are tightly controlled and so often geometrically patterned. Here we have the antithesis; organic simplicity, elegance of line and neutral colour with a hint of shading to emphasise the form. Its shape-shifting quality from the rectangular base and vertical to the ovoid body is nothing less than alchemical. This is hand building of the highest order – and yet how it is made is irrelevant. This is ceramic art at its finest.
You will surmise that Stuart, our Ceramic Curator is smitten with this wonderful object – you would be right!

Mid Month Message from Our Ceramic Curator

Only two more weeks before the end of Ceramics Now - if you haven’t yet been able to see this show and are looking for the best in contemporary studio ceramics, then try to visit before the 29th June.

All those who have visited so far have commented on the range and quality of the show. I was delighted with the look of the exhibition from the outset. It was particularly satisfying to see, for example the luminescent wood-fired pots of Clive Bowen sitting comfortably alongside the outstanding new work of Ashraf Hanna. Ashraf and I have had many conversations about showing at Bevere over the last few years and at last he is here with his stunning vessels which are the product of his time at the RCA undertaking an MA. We have had so many comments about these pieces and they clearly appeal to people of all tastes.
Another talking point has been the completely new style of pot now being made by Gabriele Koch – long admired for her elegant smoke fired and burnished pieces. The black pots with white porcelain inlays make striking punctuation marks in an exhibition which has quality written all over it. This is the ceramic lovers ‘Desert Island’ show.
Incidentally, I am also delighted that one of the exquisite John Ward vessels has been sold to the Director of an eminent art museum in the USA. Good to know we are on the international map as well as confirming what we already know – John Ward is a world class ceramicist.

It would be remiss of me not to mention the fine outdoor ceramics which are now in the newly developed Gallery Outback and will be showing June through August. The scale and undoubted quality of this work, most of which feature as part of the Ceramics Now show, makes these vessels and sculptures ideal focal points, even in the small garden. Whilst I am reluctant to single out individual makers, I am in awe of the technical skills involved in the making of some of the huge pieces we have on show. Try to make time for a visit ‘Outback’ as well as the main gallery.
Do come and see for yourself before the show closes or indeed come again and enjoy the experience one more time.
Stuart Dickens
Ceramic Curator – 16 June 2013