This month I started a new project working towards an exhibition at Aberystwyth Arts Centre. The project is to make new work in response to the Michael Cardew pots in the Ann Carr collection from the Aberystwyth Ceramics Collection. The exhibition will open July 21st 2018 showing my work alongside selected pots from the collection until October 7th. This is a very exciting project which has been in the planning since July 2017. I grew up using Cardew pots and there are many similar in this collection.
The Ann Carr collection contains 330 pieces of studio pottery which were donated by her son Julian Carr in 2014. Pots from Wenford Bridge and Abuja by a variety of makers are represented. Ann Carr was a neighbour and good friend of Michael’s and would attend kiln openings; selecting the best pots for her home where she used the pottery. Some of the pots arrived at Aberystwyth still with food on or in them!
I have begun by drawing some of Michael’s pots. Carefully noting down details on functional design, banding lines, lids, bodies, feet etc. The title for this project ‘Not Just for Pretty’ is a quote from my Great Uncle Simon Fox who when counting banding lines on a pot by Michael; pointed out that they were situated exactly in the right place for the hands and not just for pretty. As a maker of functional pottery I am particularly interested in these aspects of Michael’s work. The pots from this later period show his roots admiring Edwin Beer Fishley’s pottery in Braunton, learning with his Grandson William Fishley Holland then later at the Leach Pottery before starting his first pottery at Winchcombe. The pots from the Ann Carr collection reflect all this as well as his experiences in Africa. This work could only have been made after a lifetime working in pottery. This variety of experience came together and he was somehow able to reference it all in his pots creating a unity and diversity that without a lifetime would never be possible to develop without the ‘designs’ becoming over crowded. The technical feats he overcame were enormous and again this development is reflected in his work. If I tried to replicate the collection it would be hopeless, rather I intend to create something to reflect on my experience using similar pots. I hope you will follow my journey over the next six months here on this blog and on social media.
The Aberystwyth ceramic collections have been catalogued and can be viewed online.
This project is funded by the Arts Council of Wales.