potter sarah monk standing in front of her ceramics at her studio on the eastnor castle estate

Contemporary Ceramics is a prestigious gallery in Central London specialising in studio ceramics. For the last 6 months Eastnor Pottery co-director Sarah Monk has been developing a new a collection for exhibition at the gallery.

The work features new colours, new clay, new techniques, new slips and new glazes. The work is on show until the end of October 2018.

Here’s an extract from the article she composed for the Gallery blog.

“Creating the collection has been a winter-evening pursuit, when our busy Studio is closed to customers. By day we offer Pottery Experiences, and have been doing so for the last 24 years. Having just a few hours at the end of a busy day really focuses the creative process for me!

I am a designer-maker specializing in functional ceramics to fit comfortably in the home, particularly the kitchen (my favorite room in our house).

Breakfast has been my starting point; berry bowls and spoons, toast racks and knife rests, egg cups with decorative storage boxes and bowls of all shapes and sizes. The whole range is mix and match.  

Growing up, my Mum collected Watcombe Pottery. Over the years she managed to collect more than 400 pieces and they over-flowed from two dining-room dressers in our kitchen. I remember showing it to my school friends and enjoyed reading all the sgraffito sayings and looking at the vibrant slip-trailed patterns. My plan this year has been to fill a dresser at Eastnor Pottery with my own slipware designs, reveling in the easy-going feel of a country potter. In fact, I have already filled this dresser…..maybe I need to get a second one too!

When making my own work, my approach is relaxed and playful, and I hope this translates through to the finished pieces. I love our studio workshop and make full-use of our facilities; from the electric potter’s wheels to the table spaces for hand-building and modeling – whatever takes my fancy! Slips are brushed on, sgraffito designs drawn into the surface and spriggs applied, making the pieces tactile, a deliberate consideration. I restrict my pallet to blue and white slip on terracotta clay; it links everything together and has a country cottage appeal. All of my making happens at the wet clay stage. After a biscuit firing I don’t add anything else to the surface except for a simple lead-free glaze.”

 

contemporary tableware by herefordshire potter sarah monk

More work can been seen on Sarah’s Instagram.

Look out! there’s something lurking in the rhubarb patch at Kingham Lodge.

terracotta caterpilla mad by oxforshire primary school children

These fabulous terracotta creepy crawlies were made by five Oxfordshire primary schools earlier in the year. Jon the Potter was commissioned by Kingham Lodge to co-create the artwork with the children to be exhibited in the Sculpture at Kingham Lodge exhibition He spent a half day in each school working on the collaborative insects.

The schools who took part:

Bledington

Leafield

Great Rollright

Ducklington

Kitebrook

The children’s work can be seen alongside sculpture made by professional artists in the beautiful gardens set in the heart of the Cotswolds. The show runs from Saturday 5th May – Sunday 15th May. Open 10am – 5pm daily.

collaborative terracotta bee and snail made by oxfordshire primary school children collaborative terracotta mini-beasts made by Oxfordshire primary schools

Collaborative terracotta mammoth made by families at WM&AG and Eastnor PotteryThis rather striking terracotta mammoth was made by Jon the Potter at Worcester Museum and Art Gallery. Families were invited to drop by and help make the ice age beast as part of an exciting year long project called Lost Landscapes of Worcestershire. The project culminates in the summer of 2018 with an exhibition at both the Museum in Forgate Street and The Hive.

Jon Williams' finished clay bees made for Creative Black Country

Back in the depths of Winter Jon was approached by Creative Black Country to contribute a work of art for a field of ceramic flowers, being ‘grown’ by community groups in West Bromwich and the surrounding area.

He submitted several ideas, but the one that really captured the imagination of CBC was a swarm of touch sensitive ceramic bees that buzzed when handled.

Jon’s practice is interactive and playful and the more layers of engagement the better. FAB LAB were the technology collaborators on this occasion with the outstanding problem solving capabilities of Anne Scrimshaw playing a huge part in the project.

The bees are a development of his work on the Random String project with Ludicrooms and a more recent collaboration with creative technologist Ashley James Brown.

The bees were also featured on BBC Midlands today.

Jon showing how to throw a bee on the Potter's Wheel   Jon Williams being interviewed for BBC Midlands Today   Satnam Rana learning to throw on the Potter's Wheel at EP Central

Sonic apples made by Jon Williams from Eastnor Pottery and exhibited in The Cider Museum in Hereford. photo by Kirsty Pye

Ceramic Apples made by Jon Williams 2015

Jon Williams of Eastnor Pottery made ceramic sonic apples for cider museum

Craftspace is celebrating its 30th anniversary of Made in the Middle, an exhibition event celebrating emerging and established contemporary craft makers across the Midlands.

The exhibition which began life as the ‘West Midlands Crafts Open’ in 1998 and 1991, has been a constant element in Craftspace’s programme across these 30 years.

Some makers have taken part once, some several times. Jon Williams has been selected a couple of times to take part and has played a role in delivering the social engagement programme connected with the exhibitions.

In the lead up to the eighth Made in the Middle, to take place at the end of 2016, Craftspace has launched a website dedicated to the history of MITM and the people involved in it.

Here’s Jons page from 30 years – 30 makers

Jon also gets a mention in the introductory essay by Louise Taylor, linking to a short video of his work.