JOANNA BIRD IS DELIGHTED TO BE PRESENTING a selection of compelling new work for her eighteenth year of exhibiting at COLLECT. This year, the gallery will be showing outstanding examples of work by a selection of international artists, each of whom is supremely accomplished in their field: ceramics, glass, sculpture and lacquer.
Representing contemporary makers from across the world – Japan, Australia and Europe, Joanna will present their innovative and cutting-edge work within the historic context of works by past Masters.
COLLECT is the leading international fair for contemporary craft and design to be held at Somerset House, London, from 25–27 February 2022, with preview days on 23–24 February.
Artists exhibiting: Silvia Aguirre, Svend Bayer, Dawn Bendick, Halima Cassell, Steffen Dam, Pippin Drysdale, Elizabeth Fritsch, Marie-Rose Kahane for Yali Glass, Hattori Makiko, William Staite Murray, James Oughtibridge, Tanja Pak, Katharine Pleydell-Bouverie, Lucie Rie, Rupert Spira, Matthew Warner and Gregory Warren Wilson.
We would like to congratulate Dawn Bendick who has been shortlisted for the esteemed Brookfield Properties Craft Award 2022, in partnership with the Crafts Council. We will be presenting a selection of Dawn’s work at COLLECT, including an installation in the West Wing Niche.
Silvia Aguirre has studied ceramics, mosaics and book conservation. After receiving a Higher National Diploma from the London College of Printing, she went to Japan and studied the basis of Japanese Lacquer and its restoration for two years. Since then, Aquirre has lived in Japan for 17 years, working mainly in Japanese Lacquer restoration and Kintsugi. Now back in her native Spain, she continues her studio practice in Kintsugi, Lacquer Restoration and original lacquer work. She also works to commission.
Svend Bayer is best known for his large amphorae, but also makes domestic wares. His work is wood-fired in a cross-drought, single-chamber 800 cubic feet kiln.
He was born of Swedish parents in Uganda in 1946, and came to England when he was sixteen. He studied at Exeter University from 1965 to 1968 and started working with Michael Cardew at Wenford Bridge in 1969. In 1972 he joined the Branham Pottery where he worked as a thrower for a year. After travelling in the Far East, Asia and the U.S. he set up his workshop in Devon.
Svend’s work is always strong in form. He modifies the long wood firings he undertakes to produce wonderful, deep and sophisticated glaze effects. He is represented in the following museums; V&A, Fitzwilliam, Exeter Museums, and he has been represented by Joanna Bird Pottery since 1994.
Dawn Bendick is an artist working with time, light and dichroic glass. Bendick considers how the changing properties of a material can signal the passage of time. She works with a combination of natural and artificial lights to trigger changes in the colour of this unusual and magical material. Her work is inspired by natural light and our intuitive ability to track time without technology. By tapping into our peripheral senses she questions how we can become more aware of the changes in seasons, atmospheric light and weather.
Combining strong geometric patterns with architectural principles, Halima Cassell’s work exploits curvaceous lines and dramatic angles, producing contrasting areas of light and shade which manifest the universal language of pattern and create a sense of living architecture. Halima concentrates on simple forms as the basis of her work to maximise the impact of the complex surface patterns. Her exquisite, intricate carving in clay often produces small apertures where light can penetrate, adding to the theatrical, dramatic effect she seeks to convey.
Halima works in stoneware, porcelain, bronze, glass, wood, iron and concrete.
Michael Cardew was one of Bernard Leach’s first pupils. In 1926, he set up a traditional English pottery in Winchcombe, Gloucestershire. His aim was to produce functional, affordable pieces. He worked from grass roots, mixing his own clay body and all the pigments and glazes.
In 1939, he returned to Cornwall to set up a pottery at Wenford Bridge and in 1942, he established a pottery in Ghana. He trained West African potters and brought his western ideas and technology to the more traditional primitive pottery of West Africa.
Michael Cardew was a pioneer in his field and embraced cross cultural exchanges. He was awarded an MBE and a CBE. His work can be found in all major Public Collections. Joanna Bird was a student of Michael’s for three years in the 1970s.
Steffen Dam originally trained as a toolmaker, but after some years in the metal industry, he was attracted to ceramics and glass. With very little knowledge of these materials he began work in his first studio in 1985. He developed his skill and artistic vocabulary practicing his craft during the ensuing years. Dam’s work is characterised by his remarkable workmanship, always technically precise, in order to give the artistic idea free expression. He set the established and traditional techniques aside and started making glass all “wrong” in an attempt to capture the good in the bad. Out of these experiments came the “Fossils”, “Plants” and other objects – like frozen extracts of chaos to be watched undisturbed.
His work is to be found in many major museums including: the Victoria and Albert Museum.
An acclaimed International Artist and Master of Australian Craft, Pippin Drysdale’s career as a ceramic artist spans forty years. The Western Australian landscape is indelibly printed on her psyche. Her passion for the craft merges with a love of her native landscape and in most recent years has focused on the vivid deserts of Australia.
The forms are as important as the glaze, conveying the vastness and cinematic scope of the Australian landscape.
Pippin Drysdale has been chosen as one of Western Australia’s Fifteen Living Treasures. The recipients of the 2015 State Living Treasures Award were chosen by a panel of distinguished members of the arts and culture community.
For Collect we are exhibiting her iconic lustre vessels and a suite of ‘Rare Earth Marbles’.
Elizabeth trained as a musician before taking up pottery in 1966. She studied ceramics at the Royal College of Art under Hans Coper. After leaving in 1971 she worked in the Bing and Grondahl factory in Copenhagen where she held her first exhibition. She was a major prize winner in the Royal Copenhagen Jubilee Competition. In 1987, she set up her own studio in London and in that year, was chosen for the Bernard Leach Centenary Post Office Stamp issue with Hans Coper and Lucie Rie.
Her work can be seen in many public collections including the Belle Rive Museum, Zurich, the Musee Des Arts Decoratifs, Paris, the Shigaraki Museum, Japan, and the V&A Museum. Joanna Bird has represented her work since 2003, and curated a solo exhibition for her at The Fine Arts Society in 2008.
(1896 – 1967)
Pierre Jeanneret was a Swiss architect who collaborated with his cousin, Charles Edouard Jeanneret (who assumed the pseudonym Le Corbusier). The cousins set up an architectural practice together in 1922 and designed many buildings, including a number of villas and holiday homes. Pierre also designed furniture, both independently and with his cousin, Le Corbusier.
In the early 1950s Pierre Jeanneret began a new project at Chandigarh, in India, at the invitation of his cousin Le Corbusier. Pierre was responsible for a significant amount of designing for the Panjab University, including the Gandhi Bhawan and the University Library. After the project finished, Pierre Jeanneret stayed on as Chief Architect of the city for over a decade.
(1887 – 1979)
Bernard Leach was born in Hong Kong and grew up in the Far East until the age of ten. He studied drawing at the Slade School of Art under Professor Henry Tonks, and in 1909 he went to Japan to develop his art as an etcher. In 1911, at a Raku party of Tomimoto Kenkichi’s, he discovered the rapid change of colour in the firing from unfired glaze on each pot to the final glaze colours. This caught his imagination and inspired his future career. He met Yanagi Soetsu, the philosopher, who became a close friend and colleague the same year.
Through Yanagi, Leach and Hamada became part of the Mingei movement, developing strong beliefs in the human aspects of creating craft, and working only to a very high standard of quality inspired in part by the Song Dynasty. Bernard expressed these beliefs and principles in print as well as in clay, 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 in Japan, his influence on the Movement and its growth has been profound, and is still palpable.
His work is in numerous international and private collections.
Hattori Makiko is a Japanese artist initially creating shapes resembling functional pots, then applying ribbons of porcelain to tightly fill the entire surface of each form, thus transforming it into sculpture. Working freely, she prefers to work in a meditative state with the repetitive process by adding tiny individual parts to complete the whole surface harmoniously.
Hattori says this about 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 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’.
(1839 – 1917)
William de Morgan was an English potter, tile designer and author. He was a friend of William Morris and designed for Morris & Co. from 1863 to 1872. His tiles were characterized by medieval or Islamic design patterns. Motifs such as galleons, fish, birds, and animals were also common in his design work. His work is part of the permanent collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
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. He 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.
Exploring scale and monumental sculpture, James Oughtibridge has developed vessel forms using his preferred slab building technique. James enjoys surface texture through sgraffito mark-making applied to the slabs during the building process which offers a greater sense of visual movement to the form.
Oughtibridge’s work is in the Fitzwilliam Museum Collection.
Tanja Pak’s conceptual glass work addresses the intimate relationships we have with the space around us, and with one another. Her work is a manifestation of such ephemeral things as human breaths and thought processes.
Pak was invited to show her work at the Palazzo Loredan, Venice during Venice Glass Week, 2021 and 2019. She is Professor of Glass and Ceramics at the Academy of Fine Art, University of Ljubliana, Slovenia.
Her work is part of the permanent collection at the National Museum of Slovenia and Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague.
Born in Berkshire, Katharine Pleydell-Bouverie grew up in a seventeenth century stately home, as the granddaughter of Sir Edward Hulse, 5th Baronet and Jacob Pleydell-Bouverie, 4th Earl of Radnor. In the 1920s, she moved to London and visited Roger Fry at his Omega Workshops; this inspired her to attend the Central School of Arts and Crafts, London where she was a student of Dora Billington.
In 1924 Pleydell-Bouverie was taken on by Bernard Leach at his pottery in St. Ives. She remained at the Leach Pottery for a year and worked beside; Michael Cardew, Shoji Hamada and Tsuronosuke Matsubayashi. The following year Pleydell-Bouverie started her first pottery with a wood-fired kiln in the grounds of her family estate in Berkshire. She used ash glazes, prepared from wood and vegetables growing on the estate. In 1946 she moved to her second pottery at Kilmington Manor in Wiltshire where she worked until her death in 1985. At Kilmington she used first an oil fired kiln, and eventually an electric one.
Her work is known for its integrity, always modest, revealing aspects of nature which appealed to her such as birds’ eggs and simple sgraffito designs. Katharine was very inventive in her glaze making and her numerous ash glaze recipes are safely kept at the Farnham Crafts Study Centre Archive. She experimented with hawthorne, chrysanthemum, holly, beech, elder, rose, honeysuckle, larch, box, maple, vine and nettle. Many of her ash glazes crazed making her pots reflect aspects of the Sung period.
Born in Vienna, Lucie Rie (née Gomperz) studied ceramics at the Wiener Kunstgeweberschule under Michael Powolny and Robert Obseiger from 1921 to 1926. She showed her work in various exhibitions concerned with the products of 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 works were ceramic buttons, brooches and tableware, which she made with the assistance of Hans Coper after the Second World War. However, once wartime exigencies and immediate post-war austerities were over, Rie was free to develop her work, bringing to it an infallible sense of style combined with a certain ‘English’ sense of balance between form and surface.
Even after Hans Coper left to set up his own studio in 1958, they continued to exhibit together and their work, although very different, represented a new departure from the Oriental influences that until then had been the British studio potter’s sole source of reference. Lucie Rie’s work is to be found in numerous major public collections including: the British Museum in London, the York Art Gallery, the Paisley Museum in Scotland, and in the United States including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Carnegie Museum of Art.
Rupert Spira was born in London in 1960. He gained a degree 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, Shropshire.
The skill of throwing on a potter’s wheel is the basis of Rupert Spira’s work. Having been the apprentice to some major ceramic artists he sets very high standards in the craft of his art – making things larger and with extraordinary attention to detail than one might anticipate.
The versatility of his skills mean that works vary in scale from miniature to monumental and in decoration from monochrome to intricately hand-written texts. Rupert also painstakingly applies raised texts to some pieces, and in some cases poetry he has written himself. Recently he has not made any work and has moved on from making pots to teaching the branch of Non Duality and Consciousness study (Advaita in Sanskrit), exploring the nature of experience through talks and texts. His work is in the collection of the V & A Museum, Sainsbury Centre, the Fitzwilliam Museum and National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo.
Born in 1938 London, John Ward is regarded as one of Briton’s greatest potters. Influenced by ancient pre-glaze pottery from China and Cypress, he was inspired by more modem influences such as Hans Coper’s formal strength, Lucie Rie’s colour palette and Ian Godfrey’s playful textures.
In 1966, Ward enrolled as a student at the Camberwell School of Art and Crafts Ceramics course after developing a fascination for pottery during Adult Education classes. After graduating he worked as a part time pottery teacher in London while also developing his studio. In 1979 he and his wife moved to Pembrokeshire where he still resides and works.
‘There is something compelling about the making of pots, regardless of function, which keeps me within the particular sphere; they are the focus of some many interests and associations. My aim is to make pots which have simple forms with integral decoration and aspects which can interact with the environment in interesting ways; to try and express a balance between these dynamic qualities and a sense of stillness or containment. Form above all, but expressed through light and colour’ John Ward
Gregory Warren Wilson’s brilliantly colourful and innovative work in glass plays with the translucency of the material.
Warren Wilson’s work is, in part, sculptural. His abstract designs are conceived on multiple layers – sometimes as many as eight – and these layers allow light to interact with the glass spatially, penetrating the depths within each frame. The designs he makes sparkle and scintillate, exulting in pure colour. They also invite the eye to investigate the mysterious depths of the material itself.
Having lived for many years in Italy and Australia, light is crucial to his work as an artist. The tesserae he uses are hand-cut in Murano, and the irregularity of each unique piece enlivens the surface of his work, refracting light in ways that are eye-catching and unpredictable.
Warren Wilson is a prize-winning poet. He has published five collections and was awarded an Arts Council Grant in 2008. A number of his glass designs take as their starting point a fragment of poetry. Over time, his visual response develops into a ‘correlative’, resulting in a glasswork that exists in its own right, while alluding, albeit obliquely, to the original literary source.
He divides his time between London and Venice. The artistic riches of Venice, together with the longstanding traditions of Venetian glass-working, are a constant source of inspiration for him.
Matthew Warner completed his BA at Camberwell College of Art in 2010. He went on to study under Julian Stair and now has his own workshop in London. Matthew is inspired by the work of 18C potter, Josiah Wedgwood and frequently makes work inspired by Wedgwood but with a modern twist.
‘Pots fascinate me because they embody and articulate so much information about society and culture. They are relics or signals of taste, social behaviour and cultural history. Their forms are incredibly diverse and at the same time carry a universal understanding. These everyday objects span social divides and convey very concentrated messages about their environment. I am particularly interested in the social connotations of these objects throughout history and more specifically how they have been deployed to promote ideas of class, power, and even moral understanding. My new work explores these perceptions of status and how they are influenced by functionality, social environment, material and ideas of luxury.’
Marie-Rose started by designing drinking glasses for a private home. The first collection of tumblers was popular and in demand for other house. From there without much planning they grew organically. With each order and each project they have developed in new directions. New designs for drinking glasses, decanters, plates and bowls as well as large lamps and flower vases have developed from these early roots.
Marie-Rose Kahane’s passion for glass and design, from working and living in Venice makes it possible for her to look at different types of glass from the Renaissance to the timeless work of Carlo Scarpa.
Vital to Yali are the very talented and committed artisans of Murano. Supporting their craftsmanship is an honour and a pleasure.
We hope that you have enjoyed our exhibition for Collect 2022, and we look forward to seeing you again next year.
We would like to thank all the artists, filmmaker Alex J. Wright, photographers Alick Cotterill and Sylvain Deleu, Collect and the Crafts Council.
With all good wishes,
Joanna and team
All images by Alick Cotterill and Sylvain Deleu