Friday, 14 July 2017

The Curator's View August 2017

There are a number of reasons to look forward to this month's group of featured makers. Two of our exhibitors – Mark Smith and Petra Bittl have been immensely popular on previous occasions and I am delighted that they are showing here again. As is often the case, there is a marked contrast in style and making processes which makes the show that much more stimulating.

The work of Mark Smith, as his followers know well, is inspired by the sea and coastline. His decorative sculptures are redolent of the marine world in colour and his use of materials. Ships, boats, wrecks, beach huts and houses are the main focus of the work, all textured with raised and indented objects that have an indication of our industrial past. He has a bottomless well of creativity, as is manifest in the distinctiveness of each new piece.

Petra Bittl has always made an impact when her work has been shown here. Her sculptural and organic pieces have sophisticated decoration and tactility.

 There are always surprise pieces that are an expression of her creative energy and unique perspective. What I personally like about Petra's work is her ability to produce large-scale sculptural pots alongside small-scale pieces using entirely different making techniques. 

As I have often said, creativity has to be underpinned with high level making skills to be effectively expressed and Petra's skills are self-evident.

Richard Miller is showing here for the first time. His wood-fired stoneware is distinctly decorated and although inspired by the Japanese ceramic culture in which he has spent time, he likes to create functional pots that establish a dialogue with each other and indeed with us. 

Some will be familiar with his name as he was the technician in the last Great Pottery Throwdown TV series

. He is also joining us for the August Makers Lunch – sorry all places now taken up – and we anticipate an interesting and good humoured two hours with our guest.

Sunday, 2 July 2017


Craig has been showing his abstract expressionist pots at Bevere for many years. We are pleased to have  a group of his latest pieces and for the first time a number of his paintings. I have used the term abstract impressionist because of the spontaneity of his decoration and the use of mark making. There is no better person to talk about his work than Craig himself and it was a particular pleasure to have him at Bevere for our Makers Lunch  to talk about the ceramics which we are currently featuring and to discuss his approach to making.

The intimacy of the lunch and the ability to discuss ceramic making in an informal and comfortable setting facilitated a  rich and insightful discussion. Whilst he does not eschew theoretical analysis of his work, what emerged from the discussion was the basic truth that what you see before you in every piece is the essential spirit of the maker. The development of Craig's work over time is, then, likely to be a manifestation of the development of his persona – not some conscious decision to take the work in a new direction.

Craig gave an interesting perspective on the ceramicist as painter and the different approach demanded by two and three dimensional working. He clearly enjoys both and long may he continue.

The purpose of the Makers Lunch is to encourage relationships between the maker and those wanting to learn more about individual makers and the broader aspects of studio ceramics. We have been much encouraged by the Lunches held so far and it confirms our view that the gallery has a wider remit than simply putting the work for sale on a plinth.

Thank you Craig and each of the participants for making it a really enjoyable time together.

The next   Maker's lunch will be with  RICHARD MILLER, 

The technician from 'The Great Pottery Throwdown' on Saturday 5th August