Friday, 22 July 2011

Out and About in London Part 1- Contemporary Ceramics Centre

After spending an exhausting day seeking inspiration in London I am pleased to present my first gallery review. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the CCC (A.K.A Contemporary Ceramics Centre), it is located conveniently directly opposite of the British Museum, and definitely right up my street! I haven't visited it since January so was eager see what exciting new works I would find.

Here you can view the works of some of Britain's most talented, established potters Sandy Brown and Emmanuel Cooper (the creme de la creme of the ceramics world) to name but a few, in a modern, spacious, clean lit setting. Pieces by the same artist are exhibited with enough space in between to showcase their individuality- there's nothing worse than having lots of pieces cramped together on a tiny space. The staff are informed and friendly enough to answer questions, unlike some of the snobbish posh galleries I've been to. Surprisingly not everything will set a massive dent in your wallet (although there was a stunning Gareth Mason vessel priced £5800!), with small pieces starting from £40, such as adorable, dainty cups by Ikuko Iwamoto, one of my favourite ceramicists.

Of all the designers exhibiting, I could never not mention Gareth Mason, an amazing ceramicist and a lovely man who I recently met in person. His large, part hand built and thrown porcelain vessels are like abstract expressionist paintings that have crashed on Mars, with rock like forms protruding out of craters, dribbling with delicate blue, brown and red glazes.

Next, my eye was caught by these breathtakingly beautiful handbuilt porcelain vessels by Mary White, a Welsh potter whose fluid works can also be seen at the V&A. Drawing inspiration from the sea, the organic, paper thin white forms fan out like the rippled edges of seashells, enhanced in blue and lilac. It is one thing to see them in web resolution, but truly another to see it in person!

Finally my hot new discovery was Jack Doherty's textured and stained thrown bowl, with soft ethereal colours (created by adding soda vapour during firing) reminiscing delicate watercolour paintings of breaking dawn.

There were many other outstanding pieces by old and new ceramicists, so if you are passionate about ceramics like I am, or simply want to try something new after a long, tired day bustling with annoying, noisy foreign tourists in London(admit it, you'd feel the same way too!), this is a tranquil spot well worth visiting.

Contemporary Ceramics Centre
63 Great Russell Street
Greater London WC1B 3BF


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