Exhibitions are fun to put together, you never really know until the end of the hang (and getting to know the work that you are showing) how it is going to look and where the impact will lie. This is a constant challenge – I love mixing it up a little and surprising people.
Michael Cardew, Pioneer Potter Exhibition
26 September - 3 October 2012
Joanna Bird presented a seminal group of works by Michael Cardew at the Fine Art Society, London to coincide with the launch of Tanya Harrod’s major biography The Last Sane Man: Michael Cardew: Modern Pots, Colonialism, and Counterculture published by Yale University Press for the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art.
The exhibition included examples of Michael’s work throughout his career. These include bowls and lamps from Winchcombe, Abuja soy and talc pots and Wenford stem cups.
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.