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.