February 26th — May 31st 2021
JOANNA BIRD CONTEMPORARY COLLECTIONS has exhibited at COLLECT every year since it began in 2004. This year Joanna is delighted to be showing outstanding examples of work by a selection of international artists, each of whom is supremely accomplished in their field: ceramics, glass, sculpture, gold-tooled leather, textiles.
Joanna represents artists from across the world – Japan, Australia and Europe – and gives their innovative and cutting-edge work a historical context by showing examples of the best of 20th-century ceramics: Lucie Rie, Michael Cardew, Bernard Leach, William Staite Murray.
Having trained and worked with Michael Cardew, Joanna is recognised as an international authority on contemporary studio ceramics, and she is consulted by private collectors and museums worldwide.
We hope you will enjoy the collection that Joanna has selected for COLLECT at Artsy.com from February 26th — March 26th and thereafter until May 31st appointments are welcome to view the Exhibition at our Chiswick Gallery when Government directives allow.
Artists exhibiting: Michael Cardew, Halima Cassell, Vittorio Costantini, Natasha Daintry, Steffen Dam, Pippin Drysdale, Elizabeth Fritsch, Bernard Leach, Hattori Makiko, Micheluzzi Glass, William Staite Murray, James Oughtibridge, Tanja Pak, Lucie Rie, Tracey Rowledge, Rupert Spira, Susie Thomson, John Ward, Gregory Warren Wilson.
Brought up in Manchester and now living in rural Shropshire, Halima’s multi-cultural background is tangibly present in her work. Her natural creativity presented itself at an early age and was nurtured to fruition. She carved her way through an art-based education, culminating in an MA from the Royal College of Art in 2002.
Her outstandingly original work fuses her Asian heritage with a fascination for African pattern work and a passion for architectural geometry. The pieces she produces are intense yet playful, structured yet creative, substantial yet dynamic. Her work is always visually compelling.
Combining strong geometric elements with recurrent patterns and architectural principles, Halima’s sculpture integrates curvaceous lines and dramatic angles. She concentrates on simple forms, producing contrasting areas of light and shadow. Her art manifests the universal language of pattern, but it also creates a sense of living architecture.
Her work has been acquired by the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Jerwood Foundation. It is represented in many regional collections, as well as being in private collections here in the UK and abroad. At Collect 2013 Halima was awarded the prestigious Art Fund Prize for her piece Caliope, which was acquire by the Birmingham City Museum.
She was awarded an MBE in 2021.
Born in 1944 on the island of Burano, Venice, Vittorio Costantini started working with glass at the age of eleven. He was an apprentice at the local glass factory, but the craft of working with live flame, lamp-work, became his sole artistic focus, and he opened his own workshop in Venice to pursue his passion.
Vittorio’s extraordinarily detailed work is entirely handmade. He constructs intricate insects and flowers, exquisite translucent fish, butterflies, and a host of other creatures, all of which are derived from the natural world. Scrupulously observant, he is inspired by the sea, the earth, and by the kinds of natural beauty that sometimes go overlooked. He creates an exceptionally realistic world in miniature – a microcosm that enthralls all those who discover his workshop in Venice.
Vittorio’s work has been exhibited in collections worldwide, including the Tacoma Museum of Glass, Washington; the Public Glass Centre for Glass Art, San Francisco; the National Glass Museum, Leerdam, Holland; and the Museo dell’Arte Veneziana in Japan, to name but a few.
He regularly gives demonstrations and masterclasses internationally.
Natasha Daintry studied Japanese at Cambridge, and Ceramics at both the Surrey Institute of Art & Design, and the Royal College of Art. Since 1995 Natasha has run her own company, designing for industry as well as creating her own ceramic works of art.
She uses high-fired white porcelain as a luminous ground for exploring colour, and exploits the clay’s natural muscularity and delicacy to investigate scale, making both massive and tiny vessels. Inspired by her experience working with the ceramic industry in Stoke-on-Trent, Natasha employs the potter’s repertoire of repetition which enables her to create extensive fields of coloured pots.
Installations form an important part of Natasha’s work, and in 2018 she completed a commission for Chatsworth House, Sowing Colour.
She has won numerous awards, and has exhibited widely in the UK, including Collect, and the York Museums Trust Collection.
Steffen originally trained as a toolmaker, and worked for some years as such, before realising his curiosity spanned more than that which is measurable. In glass, he found these qualities. The uncompromising nature of this material exactly fitted the precise and analytic way of thinking that he was taught in constructing industrial tools.
During his first ten years of glass making, Dam was practising and experimenting with all the different techniques to become a good craftsman. While doing so, he discovered a new kind of beauty in the fringes of the well-crafted glass he was making. In the area of mistakes and faults – the unwanted air bubbles, ash marks, soot, cracks and crookedness – he found something that could not be predicted or sketched beforehand. He set aside the established and traditional techniques, and started making glass that was all ‘wrong’ in an attempt to capture the good in the bad. Out of these experiments came ‘fossils’ and ‘plants’ and other objects – like frozen extracts of chaos to be watch undisturbed.
In 2020 he was invited by the Ebletoft Museum to make a design for their restroom; he has given this substantial commission the title Journey to M31.
Dam’s work has been the subject of a great deal of interest, and it features in several important public and private collections across the UK, the United States and his native Denmark.
Pippin Drysdale’s career as a ceramicist spans forty years, and she is now a highly acclaimed artist with an international following. In 2015 she was chosen as a Living Treasure of Western Australia. Her passion for ceramics merges with her love of landscape. She has travelled widely across several continents, and in recent years has focused on the vivid desert landscapes of Australia.
Her finely crafted porcelain vessels evoke a timeless and breathtaking sense of space and place. Each piece documents the mesmerising vastness, and the vivid colours, that are found in the unique Australian landscape. This landscape is an ever-constant lure for her, and the catalyst for her making process; it is also the connecting point and anchor for each new development in her ambitious body of work. Each piece that she makes represents this engagement with the sites that inspire her as an artist.
Pippin has exhibited all over the world and has won numerous awards, including Master of Australian Craft in 2007, and a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Arts in 2011. Her work is in many permanent collections , including the Victoria & Albert Museum, the National Museum of Scotland , the Marco Polo Corporation (Singapore), MAK Museum (Frankfurt, Germany), the Museum of Modern Art (Gifu, Japan) and the Australian National Gallery.
Born in 1940, Elizabeth trained as a musician before taking up pottery in 1966. She studied ceramics at the Royal College of Art under Hans Coper. After graduating in 1971 she worked at the Bing and Grondahl factory in Copenhagen, where she held her first exhibition, and she was a major prize winner in the Royal Copenhagen Jubilee Competition. In 1987 she set up her own studio in London, and the same year was chosen for the Bernard Leach Centenary Post Office Stamp issue with Hans Coper and Lucie Rie.
Elizabeth was one of the first people to flatten perspective in hand-built pots. Her style integrates music and colour into her work.
She is represented in many public collections, including the Belle Rive Museum, Zurich; the Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Paris; the Shigaraki Museum, Japan; and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
Joanna Bird has been representing Elizabeth Fritsch since 2003.
Hattori Makiko is a Japanese artist, working in clay. She creates shapes that resemble functional pots, but then applies ribbons of porcelain which cover the entire surface. Rather than following a design or motif, she prefers to work on this repetitive procedure in a meditative state, adding minute quantities of clay piece by piece and completing the whole surface in a single, total. continuity.
Makiko says of her work: ‘I would be happy if the audience can immediately be drawn into the work before any other explanation because of the visual and tactile impact of the surface. The work in involves an incessantly repetitive process, nonetheless I never get tired with this Zen-like operation. I confront this long procedure with a very relaxed transcendent state of mind.’
Makiko’s work has been exhibited extensively in her native Japan, and has been acquired by public collections as far afield as Minneapolis and Taipei.
Micheluzzi Glass is an exclusive range of handmade glass designs produced by Elena and Margherita Micheluzzi. Daughters of the celebrated Venetian glass artist Massimo Micheluzzi, the two sisters continue the family tradition, specialising in innovative glass design and developing a new line of pieces, all of which are intended to be used in the home.
The strong bond that they have with their native city, Venice, combined with the profound working knowledge they have of glass, thanks to their father’s outstanding expertise, have inspired the sisters to experiment firsthand with this ancient Venetian craft and its infinite creative possibilities. The pieces in their collections are unique. They are handblown in Murano in collaboration with skilled artisans, and each piece is then finished using techniques that transform the surface in a variety of subtle and beautiful ways.
Differing in shape, size and colour, these designs are conceived as decorative objects that can be matched in multiple compositions, and can serve as vessels in a domestic setting. The sisters create precious objets that convey their sophisticated taste, their intimate knowledge of the material, and their love of designing for glass.
James Oughtibridge is a graduate of the Royal College of Art, where he studied ceramics and glass. He has been exhibiting since 2002, and wasa prize winner at Art in Action. Oughtibridge also won the Liaigre Prize at Collect in 2018 – his first exhibition with Joanna Bird.
His ceramic sculpture is defined by the tactility of its surface, and by the movement of line and shadow created by his concave and convex shapes. His work evokes a sense of rhythm and fluidity in the still object. Free standing and stately, his sculptural pieces are also reminiscent of forms found in the natural world; they call to mind rock formations and fragments of bone.
Oughtibridge’s work is unglazed; he decorates by utilizing the nature of the clay body itself – marking it, creating textured surfaces, and emphasizing line and form.
His work is in numerous collections, including the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.
Tanja Pak’s glass practise investigates the intimate relationships we each have with the space around us and with one another. Her contemplative glass sculptures and spatial installations explore the intangible and unseen, attempting to capture and manifest impermanence and ephemeral human states.
She says: ‘I tend to reach below the surface until the glass becomes merely the bearer of the stories, metaphors, expressions; a skin of my thoughts, a breath of my dreams and my longings.’
There is an ease with which Pak uses her material in her art, capturing a sense of both movement and time, as if seized in the midst of a choreographed dance.
Tanja Pak received an MA from the Royal College of Art in 1996, and the Academy of Fine Art at the University of Ljubljana, where she is currently Professor of Glass and Ceramics. Her work is represented in numerous public and private collections. She has completed residencies at the Corning Museum of Glass, the Creative Glass Centre of America, Pilchuck, and the Musee de Verre in France. Pak exhibited in the Palazzo Loredan during Venice Glass Week in 2019. She was a finalist in the Arte Laguna Prize, Venice, in 2020.
Tracey Rowledge lives and works in London. After graduating from Goldsmiths, University of London, with a degree in Fine Art, Rowledge went on to study Fine Bookbinding and Conservation at Guildford College. Rowledge’s practice draws from both her fine art and bookbinding training, utilising traditional tools and materials. Through mark-making, Rowledge explores the materiality of objects, and their function.
Tracey is a partner in Benchmark Bindery, established in 2009 with Kathy Abbott, to produce high quality and intelligent bookbinding work. She is a founding member of Tomorrow’s Past, an international bookbinding
collective, and a founding member of the independent artists’ group 60 I 40, which was formed in 2008 with the ceramicist Clare Twomey and the silversmith David Clarke, to expand the opportunities for the applied arts.
Tracey’s work has been exhibited internationally and is held in numerous public and private collections, including the Victoria & Albert Museum and the British Library.
Rupert Spira was born in London in 1960. He studied at West Surrey College of Art and Design from 1978 – 80 under Henry Hammond, and later trained with Michael Cardew at Wenford Bridge Pottery. In 1996 he set up his own studio at Church Farm in Shropshire.
Throwing is the basis of his work. He sets very high standards in the craft and technique of his art, and gives scrupulous attention to everything that he makes.
His versatility and skill enable him to work over an extensive repertoire of forms: in terms of scale, from miniature to monumental. His decoration ranges from monochrome to intricate texts written by hand. He sometimes applies raised lettering to his pieces; occasionally, this is poetry that he has written himself.
Susie Thomson is a Yeoman Member of the Worshipful Company of Basket Makers. Her work has been exhibited at Contemporary Applied Arts. She has undertaken many commercial and private commissions. Thomson is also known for the installation of fretwork made by her late partner, Khadambi Asalache, at 575 Wandsworth Road. This is now in the care of the National Trust.
Thomson is inspired by different important moments in her life, and her work reflects these recollections. The subtle curves and the flow of her work are natural to her.
She says: ‘Undulation and movement have always been part of my understanding, starting with growing up surrounded by the Angus landscape.’
Thomson’s work is both playful and abstract. It is imbued with meaning through the visual rhythm of its lines and colour, and the texture of her forms.
Born in Islington, London, in 1938, John Ward is one of the most distinguished British potters. His pots are both simple and complex in their form and decoration. He is best known for his black and white stoneware vessels which combine sensitive harmonious lines with powerful geometric designs.
Ward came to his career in ceramics later in life, having first worked as a cameraman at the BBC. In the 1960s he trained at East Ham Technical College, London, and then at Camberwell School of Art and Crafts, London, where he studied ceramics under Lucie Rie and Hans Coper. He had two workshops in London during the 1970s before moving to Dyfed in Wales in 1979.
Ward uses matt glazes and hand-applied oxides. Most of his pots are twice fired in an electric kiln. The main influences on his work are the simple forms of ancient pre-glaze pottery from China and Egypt, early Cypriot pottery, and early Persian bowls.
He says: ‘It is not surprising that the green, blue and ochre glazes have properties similar to some of the surface colours and textures of rocks and pebbles where I am living. Being near the sea has probably had an effect on the banded decoration I use, either reflecting the movement of water and waves or the dips and folds of the strata revealed in cliff faces.’
His work is in major museums and private collections internationally.
Gregory Warren Wilson graduated with honours from the Royal College of Music as a violinist. Throughout his professional life his work as a visual artist has run concurrently with his work as a classical musician, each discipline deepening his understanding of the other. He has had one-man shows in London, Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra.
His most recent work in glass is the culmination of twenty-five years of design. He balances colour in such a way that each design appears definitively resolved, while at the same time maintaining its asymmetry.
Much of the glass he uses comes from Murano in Venice. By working on multiple layers of glass set within deep frames, he enables light to interact spatially with the glass, making his work sculptural in its concerns. The refracted light scintillates in brilliantly colourful, subtle, and unpredictable ways.
Michael Cardew was one of the most distinguished and influential British potters of the twentieth century. He was one of Bernard Leach’s first pupils, and in 1926 he re-established a traditional English pottery in Winchcombe, Gloucestershire.
His revived the British slipware tradition, and his early works are full of energy and vitality. He mixed his own clay body, ground all the pigments for decorating, and experimented until he found the correct formula for raw glazes. His ideal method of firing was with wood, and during his life he designed and built several wood-fired kilns.
He studied chemistry in order to deepen his understanding of the complex process of firing, and archaeology so as to be familiar with the historical context of ceramics. Above all, he considered truth to materials to be of supreme importance.
He worked in Africa over a period of twenty years, building three potteries there and using local materials. He trained West African potters and brought his western ideas and technology to the traditional pottery of West Africa.
He was a pioneer in the field of ceramics, and embraced cross-cultural exchange. Among his students are Michael O’Brian, Svend Bayer, Rupert Spira, Mark Hewitt, Miranda Thomas and Joanna Bird.
His work is represented in major public collections worldwide.
Bernard Leach was born in Hong Kong and grew up in East Asia until the age of ten. He later studied drawing at the Slade School of Art under Henry Tonks, and in 1909 he went to Japan as an etcher. His first experience of working with clay was in Tokyo in 1911 at a raku party. He was enthralled by the rapid change of colour in the glaze, brought about by the raku firing. This moment was to inspire his future career and his lifetime’s work. He met Yanagi Soetsu, the influential philosopher, in the same year, and they became close friends.
Through Yanagi, Leach became part of the Mingei movement, developing strong beliefs in the human aspect of craft, and working to a very high standard both technically and aesthetically. Bernard expressed his beliefs and principles in print, publishing A Potter’s Book in 1940. His long friendship with Shoji Hamada was a very important one; together they established the St. Ives Pottery, which became England’s single greatest ceramic institution of the twentieth century.
Bernard Leach was the pre-eminent artist potter of the Studio Pottery Movement. Described as its ‘father’, in both the West and Japan, his influence on the Movement and its growth was profound, and is still palpable today. He wrote many books, and his work has been extensively exhibited. He is represented in major collections worldwide.
William Staite Murray was born in Deptford, London. He attended pottery classes at Camberwell College of Art from 1909 to 1912, and set up his own pottery in Rotherhithe, London, in 1919. He was appointed Head of Ceramics at the Royal College of Art, London, in 1926.
Staite Murray was one of the most celebrated, influential, and successful British studio potters in the years before the second world war. He exhibited in fine art galleries with painters and sculptors, and his work commanded high prices for that time. He considered himself to be a fine artist and distanced himself from the folk craft tradition of his potting contemporaries. However, like Bernard Leach he looked to the East, finding aesthetic inspiration in the Oriental ceramic tradition, and spiritual sustenance in Buddhism.
Stylistically, his work is distinctive. He worked in stoneware and earthenware, threw large pots and often left the throwing marks visible as expressive features even though he turned the feet. He built his own gas-fired kiln, and applied rich glazes in stoney and mossy greys and browns. His brushwork often consisted of a few abstract strokes which tended to enhance the form.
He thought of his pots as inhabiting a space midway between sculpture and painting.
Born in Vienna, Lucie Rie studied ceramics at the Wiener Kunstgeweberschule under Michael Powolny and Robert Obseiger from 1921 to 1926. She exhibited her work in various exhibitions concerned with the Wiener Sezession, including the Paris exhibitions of 1925 and 1936. She arrived in England in 1938 and established her studio in Albion Mews, West London, where she remained for the rest of her working life.
Her earliest English products were ceramic buttons, brooches and tableware. Once the wartime exigencies and the immediate post-war austerities were over, Lucie Rie was free to develop her unique ceramic style. She devised a completely original way of working, exercising her subtle taste in both the forms she made, and the glazes she used.
Her life’s work represents a new departure from the Oriental influences that had, until then, been the most influential source of reference for British studio potters.
Lucie Rie’s work is represented in major collections worldwide.
We hope that you have enjoyed our exhibition for Collect 2021, and we look forward to seeing you again next year.
We would like to thank all the artists, photographers Alick Cotterill and Sylvain Deleu, and filmmakers Rupert Newman and Alex J. Wright.
With all good wishes,
Joanna and team