Lesley Risby demonstration

Today The Barnet Collection hosted a demonstration with Lesley Risby, a ceramicist who has recently been featured in Ceramic Review.

Lesly demonstrated her techniques of using wire, cotton and porcelain to create nature inspired shapes. Her work resembles shells and seed pods and she said the skeletal effect was in order to show the fragility of nature. She also casts shapes and objects and uses these casts to create repeated forms. Her most recent inspiration has been from natural distribution, in particular the seeds of the sycamore tree.

It was a really lovely afternoon seeing an expert at work! I’m looking forward to future Barnet Collection events.

PS x

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Ceramic Art London 2017

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It was Ceramic Art London this past weekend! My first time going, Beloved and I had tickets for the Sunday. It was a beautiful sunny day with clear blue skies over Kings Cross; a perfect day for wandering around the exhibition and chatting to exhibitors!

The show was in Central Saint Martins and consisted of 90 odd stalls of primarily artists and the odd stall from Ceramic Review, a book stall, Craft Potters Association and one raising money for the new Clay College up in Stoke.

There was a really nice vibe about the place, no doubt helped by the beautiful weather! Who doesn’t love a sunny day?

Having only really experienced Art in Clay at Hatfield House, I thought it might be a little bigger, but that doesn’t reflect the quality of the work on show. It was certainly dominated by statement pieces and less so about functional ware. Don’t get me wrong there were some selling mugs but unlike Art in Clay it seemed much more “art” than everyday use. Which is by no means a criticism! Just an observation. So my hopes of picking up a reasonably priced mug or something was a little restricted. However that didn’t stop me chatting to Lisa Hammond and buying a gorgeous storage jar from her. Her stall had a mix of big beautiful pots and smaller functional jugs, jars and cups. wp-1491230105438.jpgShe was so approachable and happily explained how she made the jar and decorated it with slip. I really love how down to earth potters are! Excuse the pun.wp-image-974943916jpg.jpg

I gambled my chances to win a piece on the Clay College bag lucky dip but sadly was not rewarded. I am now the proud owner of this lovely black tote!

Work that stood out for me was that of Peter Beard, whose pots look like they had been grown from the Great Barrier Reef!

Heidi Warr’s monochromatic pieces were incredibly intricate as were Raewyn Harrison’s historical architecture inspired pieces. Then I couldn’t help but smile at Midori Takaki’s huge polar bear!

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Peter Beard

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Heidi Warr

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Midori Takaki

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Raewyn Harrison

It really was a feast for the eyes wherever you turned. Beloved was impressed with the work of Finn Dam Rasmussen and the demonstration of the 3D clay printer.

Overall we had a really wonderful day and I came away with more confidence that I will be able to translate my ideas into meaningful pots! (As soon as I can find the time…)

And before I sign off – my little blog has appeared in the most recent issue of Ceramics Review! I feel very proud, if a little out of place.

PS xxwp-1491231385592.jpg

 

Ceramic Review vs Clay Craft

Look what the postman delivered this week!

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There is a new clay loving magazine on the shelves this month – Clay Craft!

Whilst the shelves have been dominated by Ceramic Review for years now, there is a fresh face on the block, riding the wave of The Great Pottery Thrown Down, Etsy and all things crafty.

But how do they compare as publications? Where should you be spending your hard earned money? They’re both about clay, so what’s the difference?

Yes the focus of the two publications is clay and ceramics, but I would say strictly speaking, the two publications aren’t necessarily addressing the same audience. Ceramic Review is a high quality, bi-monthly international publication mainly focusing on the work of experienced and innovative potters around the world and sharing stories and events (retailing at £9.90 per issue). Clay Craft is monthly publication, more ‘magazine’ than ‘review’, aimed at everyone from beginners to professionals. The first edition is full of project ideas, a glossary of terms, a review of aprons, short articles with lots of images a directory of events (retailing at £4.99 per issue). I managed to register early and get my first copy for free due to a promotion! The first issue also came with a free kidney tool worth apparently £3 (I wouldn’t have paid £3 for it but it was certainly a pleasant surprise when it fell out of the packaging!).

I’ve been receiving Ceramic Review for almost a year now and the quality of the publication and the writing is evident from the thickness of the page, clarity of colour and style of image as well as the artists interviewed. It really is a joy to hold and read. Every issue has a ‘how to’ section where an artist will demonstrate the steps in a process and the international theme is present throughout the content and events covered. I believe it’s very clear that Ceramic Review targets artists and art lovers alike. What it is not, is an introduction to ceramics as a hobby.

Clay Craft however is much more orientated towards the hobbyist. Although the magazine says it appeals to all abilities – I can’t really see an established ceramic artist gaining much from the content in terms of the level pitched in the first issue – how to make a pinch pot. Now this isn’t a bad thing and perhaps future issues will be different. In fact, when I was first becoming interested in clay and ceramics, this is exactly the kind of magazine I was looking for! I needed (and often still do) a step by step process and terminology explained. I still find myself googling questions well into the night when I can’t figure out what I am supposed to do, e.g. how long to fire a kiln for and how is this different for bisque and glaze firings. Or what are the differences between a quick firing as compared to a long slow firing…?

I can’t imagine Ceramic Review really addressing these questions because the answer is probably obvious or has too many variables, but this is certainly a topic I can imagine might be covered (hopefully!) in Clay Craft.

So is one publication for the ‘Artists’ and one for the ‘Hobbyist’? Well, no. Ceramics Review offers an insight into the art of ceramics and is a visual feast. The inspiration offered by Ceramic Review is not for professionals only and I know I love reading it and my work has certainly benefited from reading it. On the other hand I can imagine a professional ceramicist using Clay Craft to get people/students interested in clay through quick projects or for going back to basics and trying a different technique.

Clay Craft feels cheaper to the touch with a glossy cover and lighter pages than Ceramic Review, but it is jam packed with imagery and full of offers, which is always great for those of us that like a bargain! Which I do. Very much. And at £4.99 per issue, you get two issues for the price of one Ceramic Review. Although it should be noted both publications have offers on for subscriptions at the moment! (Perhaps a nice Valentines gift idea for someone? *ahem*)

I think there is certainly the space in the market for both publications as they bring very different things to the pottery table. Ceramic Review has a solid base and large following, whereas Clay Craft need to establish a readership for which I think a lot will depend on their ability to come up with imaginative and easy to follow projects. However in doing that, they may neglect the intermediate/advanced potter (although freebies may keep people buying, if not reading). As with all things pottery related – time will tell!

I however, look forward to reading both!

PS xx