Monday, 15 December 2014

Richard Godfrey

It is with great sadness that we have heard the news of the death on Saturday 13th December of eminent ceramicist Richard Godfrey.
He will be remembered in many different ways by so many people. Primarily, it will be his brilliantly innovative pots and immaculate decorative technique that will remain a permanent reminder of his great talent. His latest and sadly his last work, is amongst his best. It is extraordinary that serious illness should have been the trigger for his most inspirational pieces. Richard’s trademark use of colour and remarkable draughtsmanship has produced works which have been universally admired.
More than this, he had an exceptional personality; unfailingly cheerful and positive, he was an inspirational figure who will be sadly missed by all who knew him. Studio ceramics has lost one of its elite makers.
We have been privileged to represent him over the years and he will remain in our hearts for many more.

Words Richard said about his work:-
"The inspiration for my work comes mostly from the coastline and countryside around my studio. Ideas for forms are often derived from things that I pick up on the beach. Shells, bits of wood, plastic bottles, in fact just about anything. I walk a great deal and usually find things in the hedgerows to inspire me. I love natural forms like insects, seeds and berries. My studio is right on the cliffs here in south Devon, in a very unspoilt area. The light is wonderful and I find a great deal of intense colour throughout the year. I enjoy the changing seasons as each brings it’s own beauty.
 The sunrises in February are often spectacular; the wild flowers in May and June create great sweeps of colour across the cliffs, the berries and bramble leaves of autumn provide intense focal points. I take a lot of photographs, both slides and prints and often use these as source material from which to draw. The drawing process for me is a way of distilling the essence of what I have seen, looking for whatever it was that touched my button, in order that I might use it to touch someone else". 

Wednesday, 29 October 2014


THE CURATOR’S VIEW – November/December 2014
We are fast approaching that time of year – I am reluctant to use the C word when as I write this it is not yet November - nevertheless we want to ensure that the gallery remains a vibrant and exciting showcase of some of the best in studio ceramics. I am particularly delighted that we are showing the work of Ruth King for the first time.
 On the face of it Ruth slab builds, shapes and alters clay to form her shapes of apparent simplicity. However, there is nothing simple about them at all. The shapes are almost a sideways glance at the conventional. They have presence and demand to be looked at more closely. I like these pots because they have such a distinct voice. Ruth’s way of visualising her vessels is unique and genuinely combines high level craft skills with a strong contemporary look. If you haven’t seen Ruth’s work before then be prepared for a pleasant surprise.
Clare Conrad has not shown with us for some time. Here again is a maker with a distinct look. The surface textures are remarkable -
redolent of earthen landscapes viewed from a satellite. The shapes of her vessels are simple to ensure that maximum exposure and emphasis is given to their tactile surfaces.

There was no eureka moment here, what we see is the product of an artist’s vision which has taken time to mature and realise.
Annabel Faraday
 is one of the most able practitioners of print on clay. The group of pieces, which we have this month, are some of the best I have seen.  The subtle use of colour, the choice of images and the spirit of place which she gives to each vessel is a joy. She will be showing again next year and we hope to have work from her which portrays the city of Worcester and environs with the same characteristics.

Ostinelli and Priest
are amongst the most talented of ceramic sculptors. The quality of the modelling is of the highest order and somehow they manage to capture the very essence of the animals which they represent. However it is more than just about modelling skills – what we see is humour and the ability to give personality to each piece. For me it is the eyes which are so expressive. People will have different perspectives on their work but for sure they cannot be ignored and we hope that visitors will be as stimulated by them as we were when we first opened the boxes and removed the wrapping. Sometimes it feels like C……..s even when it’s not.
We will also have new pieces from Matthew Blakely,
Christine Gittins and
 Richard Heeley
and who knows one or two more surprises before we get to Christmas – there I’ve said it.

Stuart Dickens 


Wednesday, 1 October 2014


The history of ceramics is one inextricably linked to functional use as is evidenced by archaeological finds dating back several thousand years. However, tableware remains an important feature of the daily rituals of eating and drinking today and many will say that food is enhanced by the beauty of the pots on the table.  This month’s tableware feature is a reminder – as if we needed it - that there is as much character and inherent beauty in a well-crafted functional vessel as there is in so-called decorative ceramics. The September /October transition is often tricky and we have some delays in sending work – however the five makers who are part of this month’s feature clearly demonstrate the truth of the notion that ceramics is indeed clothes for food.
Two of the five have shown with us before. The oriental inspired work of Kaori Tatebayashi

  has always generated interest and her admirers will not be disappointed in the group that she has put together. It is recognisably Kaori’s work but she continues to develop her range and I particularly like her scalloped bowls.

 Kochevet (Kookie) Bendavid
has also shown here before - although some years ago – and I am delighted to be reminded of the grace and elegance that she brings to her bowls and dishes. Whilst they may be seen as ‘special occasion’ vessels, they will bring a luxuriant elegance to the most mundane of meals.

As for the three new exhibitors, they bring a diversity which we always look for in group features.

 Stuart Carey is making a name for himself with his finely crafted tableware and what appeals to me is the simplicity of design and the throwing skills which he demonstrates in every piece. His use of semi porcelain and subtle monochrome glazes enhances the appeal of these finely crafted pieces. Once again, it is the notion of the potter’s hand on every vessel that sets each piece apart. 

Louisa Taylor
is another new face at the gallery this month. In her own words she makes vessels for sharing and relaxed eating. We see here the notion of eating and ritual; ceramics which enhance such an important aspect of our daily lives.

 Sue Binns is well known to many but has not been at Bevere before. Her strongly decorated work will grace any table and once again provides a contrast to the more subtle decoration of Carey, Tatebayashi and Bendavid.

I hope that – like me - your will be stimulated by the work of five of the most stimulating makers of functional ware today.
If you have read the latest edition of Ceramic Review you will know that Christopher Taylor
is also due to exhibit with us from the 16 October. The article which I commend to you says much about Chris’s work and his approach which has developed since he undertook an MA at the RCA. I know that the coming together of the traditional with the contemporary is something of a cliché but Christopher Taylor clearly has brought them together in a way which makes his work so attractive to many – even those who say . . I don’t normally like this kind of work but . . . I have been an admirer of his pots since he was voted into first place in our Annual Graduate Show some three years ago. He has come some way since then and his work is much in demand. 

Stuart Dickens

Friday, 5 September 2014

THE CURATOR'S VIEW - September 2014

One of the stimulating aspects of curating our featured maker programme is not only the extraordinary diversity of styles and approaches of the work we show at Bevere, but the prospect of showing a maker that we have not shown before.

 I have known Annie Turner
 for some time and at last I have managed to agree an exhibition date that works for her. Annie lives and works in Suffolk and her work is strongly influenced by the River Deben close by where she lives and all of her pieces are redolent of the East Anglian landscape. Despite the geographical focus, her distinctive work has a wide appeal – it has a strong contemporary feel which is well grounded in the heritage of the environment in which she lives and works.
Fritz Rossmann the German potter is no stranger to this gallery and the combination of opacity and translucence in the porcelain body of his some of his pieces always makes for a ready talking point with our visitors. He is often to be seen demonstrating at shows like Art in Action and his craft skills and strong design sense are universally admired. He is a delightful, modest potter whose work we are pleased to show again.
Yo Thom is also a
familiar maker to the gallery although it has been some time since we had a new group of pieces.

Like so many young potters she is striving to combine bringing up a family with the rigours of the making process. The work we have just received is classic Yo Thom. It is functional with an oriental aesthetic and every piece bears her characteristic decoration which is simple and enhances the shape and volume of each pot.

Once again these three potters reinforce our commitment to diversity and contrast – which is always a good reason to visit Bevere Gallery.

Stuart Dickens

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The Curator's View - August 2014

As I mentioned last month Richard Godfrey is providing the gallery with his stunning new work. It is now with us and I am in no doubt that it will be one of a number of delights for visitors to enjoy ion the coming months. What makes this new work from Richard so special? I would say that all of the hall marks of his making - design, draughtsmanship, colour sense, glazing and above all creative energy – are brought together to produce individual works which are not easily characterised. Essentially this is ceramic fine art; the work of an artist in clay.
Wendy Kershaw is new to the gallery.
Her framed porcelain panels are distinctive and often illustrate the everyday in an unexpected way. Wendy’s small group of work has made an immediate impact on staff here and we believe that our visitors will be equally delighted with these exceptional pieces.

David and Margaret Frith   This is studio ceramics of the highest order. I did say that our visitors this month would be in for some special ceramic treats.

are exhibiting again this month. They have been making pots for 50 years and yet they remain inventive and endlessly creative. Sometimes we see long established potters whose work is well made but sadly all too predictable. That can never be said of the Frith’s.

 Hiromi Nakajima 

has been a popular ceramic sculptor whose work has been well received in recent years. However, a young daughter and a change of address have impacted on her production. She has now provided us with new work including hippopotamuses that will raise a smile. Good to see her making again.

Putting up this month’s new work will be a joy and I hope that seeing it in the sunshine -which continues to stream into the gallery this summer - will be something special. 

Stuart Dickens - Ceramic Curator 

Friday, 4 July 2014


Regular readers of this blog will know that each month I try to ensure that the character of the gallery is changed with the showing of work from our featured makers. We know that the prospect of seeing new, perhaps previously unseen, makers as well as a changed feel to the gallery appeals to our visitors and is also appreciated by our exhibitors. This month is no exception; however due to a coming together of a number of differing circumstances – some would say the normal ebb and flow of life -  the new work will not all be ready to show at the beginning of the month. Apologies to those that visit early – you may need to come and see us again later in the month, you will not be disappointed!
One maker who will be with us again by the first Saturday is Sun Kim. She has shown with us before but not for some time. Her work is primarily for daily use but her fine pieces, which display an elegance of design, the highest craft skills and monochrome decoration, will enhance any table. I like this work because it is simply about the vessel, its volume and line. I have recently been rereading Sōetsu Yanagi’s ‘The Unknown Craftsman’ and was struck by the exhortation to look at an object directly without interposing thoughts, personal tastes and habits. This may seem rather philosophical, however, it explains why sometimes we say - ‘I don’t normally like this kind of thing but . . . ‘.It is about seeing directly without any external influence. It may be difficult, but as an aspiration I have no doubt that we will begin to widen our horizons and appreciate an object on its own terms. Sun’s work communicates so effectively - tell me if you agree.
Matthew Chambers has exhibited with us a few times over the years and every time we see show his work we are constantly asked how he makes his extraordinary pieces which unfold like large peonies for us to see layer upon delicate layer. Matthew’s work is like no other. He has developed a technique which enables him to create objects which please the eye as well as challenge our perceptions.
I have enormous admiration for Richard Godfrey, His work will be here later in July.
the man and the potter. His fight against serious illness has been an inspiration. Paradoxically perhaps, it has been a period during which he has experienced a burst of extraordinary creative energy – which is saying something given that he has been consistently creative during his several decades as a maker. I believe he is now producing some of his best work ever. Let’s forget about the craft/art debate, this is fine art from any standpoint. Each distinctive piece demonstrates the range of his artistic imagination and the innovative decorative techniques he uses to express his vision. You may think you know Richard’s work, think again and be prepared for a delightful sensory experience.

Finally, just a brief reminder about the third and final show in The Gallery Outside – Art for Outdoors. There will be more information on our website in a few days, suffice to say that on 12 July 2014 we have exciting new work from Jenny Pickford, Judith Hobbs , Peter Garrard, Amy Daniels and Neil Lossock.
Stuart Dickens
Ceramic Curator

Thursday, 5 June 2014

The Gallery says "Goodbye to a Master Potter"

Bevere Gallery has represented Thomas Hoadley,
the eminent US potter, for several years. We have now agreed with him that we will return the balance of pieces to him in the next month or so. This note is to give our followers notice of this event and to give visitors a last chance to look at and maybe purchase one of the finest exponents of the nerikomi technique.
I have had so many conversations about this truly beautiful work which has been admired by everyone who has seen it. I take the view that if there is an Antiques Roadshow in 100 years – and who knows there probably will be – this work will be seen as a wonderful example of 21st century studio ceramics. If you think that I am overegging the case, come and see his work in the next month or so and make up your own mind.

Stewart   Dickens - Ceramic Curator    

Saturday, 24 May 2014


There is much discussion about the change that we are all experiencing in
the ceramics market.  It is a complex issue that defies ready analysis – one
thing is for sure, it is too simplistic to blame the recession alone, there
are a number of factors. There is undoubtedly a change in public taste; the
market is much more disparate - on line sales, ceramic fairs, open studios
as well as galleries, of which there are fewer sadly. The old collectors who
were the mainstay of the market in the decades up to the turn of the century
are no longer around and the new generation of collectors are much more
eclectic in their interests.

Bevere Gallery is one of the few galleries that represents so many potters.
We believe it is the diversity and quality that makes it an important
destination for anyone with an interest in ceramic art and craft. Our
challenge is to ensure that we continue to show quality makers and maintain
the interest of our visitors. Ceramics have such tactile appeal that we
still believe that seeing, handling and appraising prior to potential
purchase is the important asset of the real, rather than virtual, gallery -
together with thoughtful display and enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff.
 Here we are in the middle of the year already and, as always for the
curator, the realisation of plans put together a year or so ago. The range
and diversity of the work being shown during June is the Bevere signature.

 Firstly, I need to confirm that Part 2 of the Art of Outdoors
show in the
Gallery Outside is due to open on 31st May and will run to 9th July. This
all-ceramic exhibition has stunning work by Patricia Volk,

Shona Leitch,

and Alison Jones.
Make sure you do not miss the opportunity
to see, handle, appraise and maybe purchase one of these fine pieces which
will enhance any garden. In the main gallery, we also have small sculptural
pieces by Patricia Volk. This work combines the imaginative use of colour
with shape, balance and elegant abstraction.

 The featured maker new to the Gallery this month is Karen Bunting.
Karen is the current Chair of the Craft Potters Association whose work is functional and subtly decorative. She has a distinctive style and has been an established maker over a number of years.


will be known, to some
of our visitors, for the evocative maiden gracing the courtyard and Gallery
Outside. This month’s feature of her smaller work has many of the elements
in her larger piece and given the growing interest in the authentically
oriental I am sure that you will share my admiration for this work.

 Matt Horne 
has been a regular exhibitor for a number of years. He is a master of
the crystalline glaze technique. He is a fine thrower of pots and his superb
glazing and elegant shapes are mutually enhancing.

Last, but certainly not least, John Maltby
enthusiasts will be pleased to
see new work that we recently acquired from John. This small group of pieces
shows his unique style to best effect and given the opportunity to choose
what we wanted we are very happy with our choices.

Stop Press. Just in a new group of work from Peter Hayes.
There is certainly
an embarrassment of riches this month.

Stuart Dickens
May 24th 2014

Saturday, 3 May 2014


Before I embark on our May featured makers I must comment on the Art for Outdoors events. The first show of the season looks stunning and we are all delighted with the serene atmosphere that the space now generates. We take the view that good art can add so much to the garden and this series of shows throughout the summer will do much to convince our visitors that nature, ceramics and sculpture are mutually enhancing. Try and catch the exhibitions if you can (see the exhibitions page for  more details & the dates); take your time however - serenity can enhance your wellbeing.
In the gallery this month we are featuring three very different makers. From Eire, we have Mandy Parslow for the first time.
She is an established figure in Irish ceramics and her work is exhibited worldwide. I saw her recently at Ceramic Art London and her display reaffirmed the decision to invite her to show at Bevere. Her work is subtle, organic and tactile; the pots are redolent of ceramic tradition and yet have a distinctly contemporary feel. I am sure her work will be popular with our visitors.
Jill Fanshawe Kato has been shown at Bevere
Parian Ware by Lara Scobie
over a number of years and the small group of her pieces featured this month is finely decorated. She has been very successful in Japan in recent years and the oriental feel to the wildlife motifs on her vessels is perhaps one of the reasons plus of course the respect which the Japanese have for the skilled ceramicist.
Lara Scobie provides a new body of work which has impressed in previous showings. Her use of Parian clay ensures that her distinctive decorative style is shown to best effect and responds so well to light. Lara’s work is well designed, functional and with a strong contemporary feel.

 Carolyn Genders new work will continue to be shown along with her wonderful large garden pieces in the Art for Outdoors show
We also have new pieces from the Leach trained potter Nic Harrison, including five tea bowls marked ‘B’ to indicate that they were made when he undertook a residency at Bevere some time ago.

Once again we have a body of contrasting and high quality ceramics which we are confident you will enjoy. Hope to see you soon!

Tuesday, 1 April 2014


Bevere Gallery are delighted to be supporting, for the 2nd year, RGS The Grange's Art Showcase.  On show in the main school hall is work by every child from year Reception to Year Six, each year has produced artwork within a given category such as Viking longships, the weather and Lowry.  The showcase is open for ALL - whether you have children or not at the school - on Wednesday from 8-9am then 3.30-5.30 pm.

It's a feast for the eyes not to be missed !

Zoe Taylor  whose paintings are regularly 
displayed in the Gallery helping to judge the children's work.  
The winners will be announced on Friday