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Ceramics and Pottery Exhibition, in Collaboration with Thrown Contemporary
The show is a collaboration between OmVed Gardens and specialist ceramics gallery Thrown who will be housing an additional section of the exhibition within their gallery space just around the corner on Highgate High Street. The exhibition will feature ikebana arrangements in response to some of the works on display by Aya Tanaka, professional Japanese flower designer and Ikebana professor, who will also be leading a series of workshops (tickets required) throughout the week.
Alison West uses the ancient ceramic process of Saggar Firing to create natural surface pattern with local organic materials such as ferns, leaves, grasses and naturally occurring minerals.
‘I am inspired by work decorated by flame and fire that reflects the process of making and firing. I fire in a saggar (a container) packed with organic combustible material in which pots are buried. The sagger is sealed and placed in a gas kiln and fired slowly. The natural materials collected from Dartmoor and the Devon coast turn from solid to gas and transfer colour, pattern and texture to the pot. The combination of the elements permeate the clay and create unique, unrepeatable surfaces.’
Alison West first discovered ceramics while living in Japan before returning to the UK and training with established potter Bruce Chivers. She now lives and works from her home in Dartmoor. Her work has been exhibited widely across the UK since 2013.
‘My collection features white clay pressed with flowers and foliage from the garden and hedgerows in Wales. Once dry, I paint the impressions with cobalt oxide or mazarine blue; bisque fire and glaze with a glossy, food safeglaze and fire again. These ‘impresssions’, with their often startling detail, inform many of the designs in my other collections.’
Zuleika Melluish has always immersed herself in the decorative arts with particular fascination in the Arts and Crafts movement, and Persian painting, craft and pottery. Her first pottery class a few years ago left her smitten: ‘Little could beat the age-old alchemy that takes what is essentially earth and transforms it into a useful and beautiful object.’ She now focuses on ceramics full time, making one-off and small batch ceramics from her studio in Kentish Town, London.
Joseph Ludkin’s interest primarily lies in experimental techniques and finding personal connections within process of making as well as creating specific narratives in the work he creates.
Joseph uses a lot of found and donated materials in his work; he digs local clays from his garden in South London and collects river silt for the clay body and slip mixes and uses ash created from local sources such as trees, shrubs and plants to make the majority of his glazes or glaze additions. He also uses local willow, climbing vines and cuttings to make handles and decorative details in his work. Joseph feels that this ‘homemade’ approach brings him closer to the work he produces and creates a narrative discussing the relationships between objects, materials, people and places. Combining local materials with borrowed aesthetics and making techniques ensures that Joseph’s work resonates with issues surrounding Identity, borders, boundaries, cross cultural design, cultural ownership/cultural appropriation and globalisation.
After graduating with BA and MA in Design from Goldsmiths College, Joseph worked as a designer for many years and was introduced to pottery four years ago after being bought a series of lessons as a surprise present. This was his ‘eureka moment’ Clay was the vehicle he was looking for, Pottery and Ceramic Art became his obsession, passion and now his living.
Lise Herud Braten
‘Having lived in a big city for a long time, I feel compelled to create work that reminds me of the natural environment I love so much, and to bring an impression of that into the home environment. My work can often be described as somewhere between fine art and functional. I like the idea that a vessel that looks like a piece of rock can hold water and flowers, just like the way small fragile flowers cling to tiny cracks in a rocky landscape, but looks equally beautiful as an object in its own right.’
My work reflects my memories of growing up in Norway, surrounded by mountains, forests and rocky beaches. I find the textures in craggy rock faces, lichen, moss and layered tree bark endlessly fascinating, as well as the natural asymmetry and imperfection that makes nature so beautiful. I find new life and states of decay equally inspiring. Many think of rocks and treebark as not being very colourful, but when you look closely there is a huge range of colours, and I use slips, oxides and glazes to recreate some of this rich palette of sometimes unexpected colour combinations.
Lise Herud Brtan was born in Norway and had a 20 year career in bespoke tailoring and haute couture before coming to ceramics. Her work was shortlisted for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 2017 as well as having been exhibited as part of London Design Week. She currently works from the Kiln Rooms in Peckham.
‘I am passionate about flowers. Inspired by their complex forms, I recreate their individual strectures using a fabric manipulation technique. Each flower is stitched individually, every one unique.’
Isabel Dodd graduated from the RCA in 1995 with an MA in embroidered textiles. She makes floral structures from composite fabric and wire, each one individually stitched and moulded. Some are trapped in domes, others into plinth which catch the breeze and gently sway
‘I like to see a little of the history of the making in my work, as materials pass through their stages of transformation to the finished item – that may then, ultimately, begin a new life when used as an everyday functional object. I prefer to make functional forms, as I like the thought that the more something is used the more real and meaningful it may be.’
Tom Crew was born in Malta ‘a long time ago’, considers himself a Londoner, lives in Shoreditch and describes himself as a late starter to pottery. Tom will be showcasing a brand new collection of planters for this show.
‘My work aspires to such tenderness and love that is within and without. The creation of my imaginings will always fall short of what I wish them to be until they are the effortless effort of Ati or Great Perfection, as one is always striving and becoming, preventing this non-struggle.
Porcelain conveys some of this in its very essence. Exuding purity yet containing impurities that are not it but a part of it and thus porcelain is perfect in its imperfection. ‘
Alistair Blair is a cinematographer, photographer and ceramicist based in Cape Town, South Africa. His collection features a series of vases made especially for ikebana as well as lidded earthy forms.
Lisa Ommanney is a Hackney based ceramicist making functional and sculptural hand built pieces. She studied Fine Art at London Guildhall University.
Her overarching aesthetic is informed by the relationship between the human and natural worlds: the beauty and brutality of nature; the messy geometry and cyclical decay of cities; the synergies and dissonance between the two. The coexistence of these worlds, and specifically the parallels between their visual languages – pattern and repetition, growth and decay – form the spectrum within which she works.
Much of her work is built with rough, groggy clays, and she frequently leave sections of a piece unglazed, highlighting the contrast between the glazed and naked surfaces.
Opening image: Lisa Ommanney