Tuesday, 22 December 2015

13,000th POT

I have to say that whilst the calendar is a constant reminder of the passing of time, the numbers of fine pieces we show in the gallery accumulates at a rate which always takes me by surprise. We are about to reach 13,000 – that is the number of individual pieces that we have shown in the gallery since we specialised in studio pottery.

It is entirely serendipitous that the vessel in question is part of our annual Graduate Show. Emma Johnson is inspired by geometry and architectural design and her mixed media vessels offer different perspectives with the capacity to interact and change.

It is also appropriate that at the turn of the year we should be reminded of important developments in studio ceramics with the use of computer aided design and printing – more of this in my next blog about the opening show of the year.

Stuart Dickens

Friday, 6 November 2015

The Great Pottery Show Down

The Great British Throw Down is the latest programme to introduce competition into the business of making. The programme brings together the application of basic pottery skills with brief and pertinent technical contributions from specialists. Add to this the demands of time-limited projects and only the skilled and naturally talented will emerge in the final episode providing much to entertain on the journey.

From the perspective of a contemporary ceramics gallery, it clearly demonstrates the skills required to make even the most simple of bowls. The quality of the studio ceramics we show at Bevere Gallery demonstrates just how well honed the professional makers' skills are and matched with considerable creativity. I am sure that the winner of the series will need to
display both.

 IT should stimulate the  ceramic enthusiast and the curiosity of the uninitiated. That must be good for everyone.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Curator's View November 2015

The 2015 featured maker calendar is drawing to an end. However, we like to ensure that, as that special time of year approaches, we have the most interesting group of makers from the beginning of November through to the end of December. As well as those featured makers, which I will introduce in  a moment, there will be the usual array of ceramicists – some very well known, others less familiar – to ensure that we have work to appeal to all tastes.

The featured makers include two names new to Bevere; someone who last appeared here some years ago, and a maker whose new work will be welcomed back again.

Robert Cooper – a newcomer to Bevere -  is an experienced and respected ceramicist who makes much use of recycled materials and found objects. I have always admired his lidded boxes and the quality of his decoration. Each piece is distinctly different and the range of his decoration is evidence of a deep well of creativity. I am sure that visitors will find much to admire.

Charlotte Stockley is another first time exhibitor.  Charlotte is a maker of domestic ware which undoubtedly adds pleasure to eating and drinking. Her pieces, which are thrown and altered,  have a freshness and energy which gives each a distinct look and feel. The Mid Surrey Collection, which will be featured, is decorated with fruit and vegetables. Her use of porcelain gives an added elegance and lambency.

Petra Bittl will be remembered by some of our visitors as one of the makers in our German Show that we put on some years ago. Based in Bonn, Petra is one of Germany's leading potters. She had aspirations to be a painter originally,  however she took the ceramic route instead. As it happens her work is a fine vehicle for her abstract painting and I like the way that shape and decoration interact. It is a pleasure to have her back at Bevere again.

Akiko Hirai has featured at Bevere several times over the years and we are regularly asked when we will be getting new work from her. Well here it is.
Her work displays her Japanese upbringing although she has lived in the UK since 2000. The oriental influence is evident, but this is also distinctly contemporary ware which will enhance both table and home. She is a thoughtful potter who makes constant links between the written word and her ceramics. She sees story lines in her work and the ambiguities of language are similarly expressed. As with so much of the work we are showing, our visitors will ascribe different interpretations.

Like all good art, studio ceramics can and does provoke such a range of responses. Long may it do so.

Stuart Dickens
November 2015

Wednesday, 21 October 2015


The upcoming Graduate Show in January 2016 is the traditional opener to the Gallery year. This particular show has an added significance; it is our tenth and we want to celebrate the event's continuing popularity amongst our visitors.  Although the gallery was founded 43 years ago, it is the 10th anniversary of Bevere as a specialist ceramic gallery.

We have had strong feelings from the outset about the need to promote the work of emerging talent, as well as showing the established names in studio ceramics. It is, then, a good time to offer our thoughts about the ongoing regeneration of a craft which has been a major feature of human culture for millennia.

From a gallery perspective, it is sometimes a little depressing to see the same names featured in one gallery after another. This is not to suggest that they are unworthy; rather that the range and diversity of the craft is self limited. Visitors to Bevere frequently comment on the number of potters represented here and their individual voices. This is, in part, due to our continuing promotion of the best of our graduate exhibitors. Making a living as a ceramicist has never been easy – it could be argued that it has never been more difficult. Supporting emerging makers is a small contribution to getting them on the ladder and importantly bringing new ideas and approaches to the craft.

It is mainly through the graduates that we are beginning to embrace the new technologies of computer aided design and printing. Yes, they are much removed from the underpinning traditional approaches to studio ceramics, but, used effectively, they are no more than an aid to implementing creative thinking. The outcomes may surpass those that we thought were possible.

So, this is an early notice to put the Graduate Show in your new diary – 9th January to 2nd February 2016. We look forward to seeing you then and for your reaction to this year's selected graduates.

Foot note
 I have to say that whilst the calendar is a constant reminder of the passing of time, the numbers of fine pieces we show in the gallery accumulates at a rate which always takes me by surprise. We are about to reach 13,000 – that is the number of individual pieces that we have shown in the gallery since we specialised in studio pottery
It is entirely serendipitous that the vessel in question  is part of our annual Graduate Show. Emma Johnson is inspired by geometry and architectural design and her mixed media vessels offer different perspectives with the capacity to interact and change.

It is also appropriate that at the turn of the year we should be reminded of important developments in studio ceramics with the use of computer aided design and printing – more of this in my next blog about the opening show of the year.

Stuart Dickens
Ceramic Curator

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Curator's View - October 2015

The Gallery's featured maker programme is designed to achieve a number of objectives. Firstly, to highlight those makers that the gallery has represented for some years and give them the opportunity to exhibit new work, Secondly,  to introduce ceramicists, who are new to the gallery - although many will be well established figures - to maintain the freshness and diversity which has become one of the signatures of the gallery.  I know that I tend to go on about diversity but it is the apparently endless range of invention and creativity that sustains the interest of so many ceramic enthusiasts.
In October, we again have three featured makers one of whom is new to the gallery.

 has a reputation as a teacher of ceramics in many well known institutions, including the late lamented Harrow course and also as a maker of fine pots. She is a thrower who enjoys the physical and sensual work with clay to produce organic vessels with impressive abstract decoration. It is a pleasure to see her work at Bevere for the first time.

will need little introduction from me; he has exhibited here on a number of occasions over the last decade. Paul never stands still and his creative biography is one of constant development and experimentation always producing work to stimulate the senses. Paul is a ceramic artist whose constant aim is to create synergy between volume and decoration - expect no less this month.

will be known to those that voted her No 1 in our annual Graduate Show last January. This feature is part of our commitment to her as the winner to support and promote her during the following year. She continues to make and develop her work as will be seen from this group of pieces. Her pots continue to sell and generate interest and positive reactions.  I wish her well as she embarks on her career as a professional studio potter.

These are of course featured makers but we also have a wide range of studio potters in the gallery.

An important event this month is the 50th Anniversary
of MUCHELNEY Pottery in Somerset run by John Leach. To celebrate this fine achievement we will be showing a small group of the standard ware for which Muchelney is well known. It is a pleasure to promote the work of potters who have developed and sustained their business over the past five decades.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

7000th Painting - ZOE TAYLOR'S "Bluster"

 This is the 7000th painting we have offered  in the Gallery and on line. 

Zoe is one of our most popular artists with our visitors and lives locally. 

This is what she says about her work-
"You know those very ‘British’ days we get here? Those days where the clouds scud across the sky and you decide to take a walk and a look at the view? Those days when that patch of blue disappears and all of a sudden you know that you are going to get rain splattered very soon - well that’s the sort of day and 'BLUSTER 'is the description of that wind that carries the rain right at you !
I work in a sketchbook when I’m out and about and that sketchbook feeds my studio work. The pages these days are dirty and splodgy and inky and black and an impression of the place rather than directly representational. I record that wind, rain and light in scratches and muddy splashes across my paintings - trying to capture that energy that you feel out in the wind and the rain.

I also have scenes in my head, as if by osmosis by being in the landscape, and once I start a painting then the sketch and the memory seem to come together and so the process moves along and drifts from the original inspiration. This is why most of my paintings rarely have a place name attached to them, they are as much about the elements as the place.

Bluster started life as a sketch usually work with acrylics on heavyweight watercolour paper. You have to work fast with acrylics so I find that the energy has to be there right from the beginning - if you want to mark the paint in any way, it has to be done whilst that paint is still wet enough to take the mark. Paper sucks the moisture away from the pigment and I just love the feel of the paint across the paper.

My work is still maturing but I feel that it has a long way to go. I’m looking forward to some time in Cornwall in October and hope to do some more direct work outside in the field, working directly to a finished piece, rather than into a sketchbook, to give a more immediate response.h from quite a few years ago and evolved as I worked."

Zoe's paintings hanging in Bevere Gallery

Friday, 25 September 2015


 Muchelney Pottery's 50th anniversary Bevere Gallery has represented Muchelney pottery for almost as long as we have been a specialist ceramic gallery. This is but a fraction of the time that this famous pottery has been working. 50 years ago - in 1965 - John Leach established the pottery and it has been a highly productive and successful enterprise ever since – apart from the debacle of the floods on the Somerset levels which closed down the pottery more than once.

This is a wonderful anniversary and we celebrate with them 50 years of making high quality standard ware as well as the personal pots of John, Nic Rees - who has only been there for forty years - and Mark Melbourne.

Many congratulations and long may the pottery flourish.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Newsy article by Potter Pete Higgs "Spooky Event"

 "I just wanted to share this with you, it may make an interesting piece for the blog!

Iain and I were recently in France on a house hunting trip and decided this time to rent a gite as we were basing our search in the area just south of Poitiers. Online I found a lovely gite near Ruffec called Le Bois de L'Eglise and we had a great week. The owners, Tony and Bev are a great couple and have been really helpful with our house search and the evening before we left, they asked us over to their farmhouse for a meal. Halfway through the meal on the terrace, I glanced over to the doorway and did a double take. There on a stand next to the door was one of my leaf sculptures! It turned out that Tony had bought it for Bev a few years ago from the Bevere Gallery website. And it was shipped over to them.

We were all dumbfounded by this chance of fate. What are the odds that I randomly choose this location to stay and this gite too. Even then, if Tony and Bev hadn't been such a nice couple, then we wouldn't have been on their terrace to be reunited with one of my own sculptures 700 miles from home?"
 This leaf was sold during Bevere Gallery's very first Sculpture Trail in the Gardens of Bevere Knoll
Through the years Pete has made numerous garden sculptures including many leaves.  We do have just one leaf  at the moment available in the Gallery.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

THE CURATOR'S VIEW – September 2015

"We are grateful for the continuing positive feedback from the Gallery's visitors. Whilst most of it is complimentary about so many aspects of what we try to achieve, it is the engagement itself between staff and visitor that is most important whatever opinions are expressed.

Studio ceramics is a live craft; it impacts on our senses as good art should and often demands to be touched. There is something almost preternatural about the pleasure we gain from holding or caressing a tactile vessel or sculptural piece. Equally it is clear that even the inexperienced gallery visitor gains something from articulating his or her feelings about a maker's work. We will always encourage that dialogue – please do chat with us when you have the chance.      

Adam Frew
is the new name to the Gallery this month. He lives and works in Northern Ireland. He loves to throw pots - which is good news in the era of the cast and computer-designed vessel. His signature is his quirky decoration which adds a strong contemporary feel to his functional work. It is that quirkiness which brings renewed pleasure to the owner on each occasion they are used."

Rachel Wood

has featured at Bevere a number of times over past years and her work always pleases. She is strongly influenced by the spirit of place, as a recent residency in Australia demonstrated. Her distinctive painterly decoration will impress those who have not seen her work before and renew the admiration of those that have. I am particularly taken with the shape and volume of her bowls. I know that presence is an overworked word in our vocabulary but they certainly have it.

Chiu-I Wu
is a ceramic sculptor with self-evident oriental influences – she was born in Taiwan - but with a contemporary design that appealed to so many who saw and bought her work when she was last at Bevere. Her craft skills are of the highest order with immaculate attention to detail. This is work that is about line and perspective – it is often that elegance of the whole look of her work that catches the eye. More than that the pieces are distinctly hers".

Stuart Dickens

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Curator's View - August 2015

This month is particularly interesting.  Two of our featured makers have been included because I saw them when they shared a large stand at Ceramic Art London in 2014 - something I don’t think had been done before.  Dennis Farrell and  

Angela Verdon

 have known each other for a long time and they recognised that their utterly contrasting styles would create an impact that would do much to enhance both their work – and so it did. 
I was particularly impressed and felt then that they should be seen in tandem at Bevere. Dennis will be known to some of our visitors for his organic painterly pots strongly influenced by land and seascape. Angela’s pieces are sculptural, sinuous pure white pieces that demand our attention. It will be her first showing at Bevere. The challenge for me will be to maximise the contrasting bodies of work to the benefit of both. Let me know what you think.

Linda Styles
 is the third featured maker and provides yet more contrast. Described as a heady mix of the quirky, haunting and thoughtful, her work is not easy to categorise. Abstract decoration with a free use of contrasting colours gives her pots a
--> ‘second look’ quality which has been a characteristic of her work for some time. Linda is a three dimensional ceramic artist whose work is uncompromising and strikingly original.

During this month we will also be showing new work by Andrew Palin.
A completely different colour palette marks his return to making after recovering from a major operation. Once again we see how time out from the business of making is often the trigger for a change in creative direction.

To say there is something here for everyone is a cliché I know, but part of the joy of curating is to bring together unexpected alliances and to indulge in free-wheeling contrasts. It works for me!

Tuesday, 30 June 2015


This month we have four featured makers. Two have never shown at Bevere before and it is a pleasure to have them here throughout July and hopefully beyond.

James Campbell is a distinguished maker and I cannot understand why we have not shown him before. Never mind, I am delighted that his work is here now. His focus is very much on the relationship between form and image. The painted scenes on his functional pieces are about the spirit of place and as you turn a jug or look at a plate from a different angle new perspectives emerge. This is the joy of three dimensional painting.

Daniel Boyle makes wood-fired, salt-glazed ware with a strong contemporary feel. The craft tradition is here, sure enough, as you succumb to the desire to handle this tactile work. Studio ceramics can bring so much added pleasure to mealtimes and I am in no doubt that Daniel’s work epitomises that notion.

Peter Hayes has shown at Bevere over a number of years and his creativity never falters. This small group of pieces has emerged from his work in developing a craft village in India. He has given much to local craftsmen and, in turn, he has discovered new materials and processes. These pieces, shown along with some of the more recent ceramic work we have of Peter’s, are made of bronze and glass to brilliant and original effect.  

Wendy Kershaw uses porcelain, as she says, to ‘illustrate an intimate world in which small acts of everyday life are imbued with importance. Skilled artwork and her sideways look at the world produces wall pieces which we know our visitors will be drawn to. Once again we are showing the work of an original talent and along with our other featured makers we have a rich and diverse mix in the Bevere tradition.
 Stuart Dickens

Friday, 29 May 2015

June 2015 - Curator's view

Difficult to believe that we are already half way through the year and our evolving collage of fine ceramicists continues to unfold. The three makers featured this month you will have seen before. They are as diverse a group as one could bring together, however they share many of the same qualities – craft skills, a distinct voice, innovative design and a love for their chosen materials.

Gabriele Koch has been amongst the elite of studio potters for many years. She has provided us with a small group of pots which demonstrate her ability to create vessels with great presence, whatever their scale. She has two styles of work on show – smoke-fired (the technique that established her reputation) and black stoneware with inlaid porcelain (work which she has developed over the last two years). They make for a striking contrast. Handling these fine pots brings me particular pleasure - they epitomise, to my eyes, the meaning of ceramic art. I would be surprised if you were not similarly impressed. Tell me if you agree - or disagree for that matter!

Keith Varney has exhibited at Bevere a number of times since appearing in our Graduate Show in 2012. His singular work, meticulously designed and constructed, has made a significant impact on the ceramic landscape. His engineering background is more than evident and his attention to detail enhances the geometric designs that have become must have pieces, judging by his recent sales.

Annabel Faraday has been showing at Bevere for a number of years. My last posting on this blog gave notice of a commission undertaken by Annabel to translate images we had taken of Worcester and environs – some familiar and others less well known - onto her distinctive pots. We are delighted to be showing these for the first time; they are evocative reminders of this historic and attractive city. I hope that you will like them too. We will also be showing some of Annabel’s framed collagraphs – she still sees herself as a printmaker whatever the medium

 Stuart Dickens - Ceramic Curator

Saturday, 9 May 2015


Annabel has shown at Bevere on a number of occasions. She is amongst a small number of ceramicists who have thoroughly mastered print on clay techniques to produce evocative pots which reflect the essence of the many places she illustrates in her work. It was this ability which led us to commission a series of pots using images of Worcester. Whilst there are one or two views that will be instantly recognisable, there are several new takes on familiar landmarks. 

We  are delighted to be featuring these fine vessels in June and hope that you agree with us that they are beautiful reminders of the wealth of striking architectural and riverside imagery that the City of Worcester offers residents and its many visitors.

Sunday, 3 May 2015


"Keeping the gallery as a stimulating visitor experience is a major part of the curatorial challenge at Bevere. Our approach is to maintain the quality standard which defines the gallery and to ensure that there is always something new – either in terms of first time exhibitors or new work from our regular makers. The studio ceramic environment is dynamic and we are seeing more technical and aesthetic developments than at any time I can remember.
This month we have one new featured maker and two previous exhibitors.
Kate Scott is someone whom I have wanted to feature at Bevere for some time. She was particularly known for her tin glazed earthenware; however over the last two years, Kate has developed a range of stoneware which has attractive and innovative decorative features. The work is elegant and instantly attractive and hopefully visitors will have the same response as I did when I first saw it at Ceramic Art London.
I have always had an interest  in ceramic sculpture and this month I am delighted to see the return of Sheila Spear,
one of the most successful exhibitors in the Cornwall Show we held in 2012. Her distinctive figurative pieces display her fascination with the medieval. Once you have seen her work you will always recognise the idiosyncrasy of her modelling and the subtlety of her decoration. Her artistic voice is truly original.
Tim Andrews is
amongst the elite of studio ceramicists who have been a major influence over the last two decades. His smoke-fired raku is technically of the highest order and his design skills are evident in every piece. I have always been struck by the presence which his work has and the way in which it so readily communicates with the viewer. Tim has literally just returned from Japan where he has had a very successful exhibition. The Japanese are the most discerning of ceramophiles and to sell well there is an indication of the impact of Tim’s fine work.

So there we are, once again I hope that we have fulfilled our key criteria – craft skills, original voices and contrasts which reinforce the joy of difference".
   Stuart Dickens