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.

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