Articles

Highlights from the Ceramics collection



the ceramics collections at the VNA are really unparalleled anywhere in the world they are truly encyclopedic and they are global in nature so we have fantastic collections from China from Japan Korea and Southeast Asia but also from the Middle East and northern Africa and then we have fantastic collections of European and British ceramics as well so the collections range all the way from about 2500 BC to the present day there are galleries devoted to world ceramics where you can really learn about the history of ceramic through the ages around the globe one of the great things about the world ceramics galleries is that it tells you stories about trade and cultural interaction and a lot of this originated in China so such a beautiful Chinese blue and white porcelain from the 14th century that had a huge impact on customers and public in the West one of the great highlights of the V&A collection is the Italian Malecha that this thin glazed earthenware from the Renaissance period so 15 16th centuries so there are highly colored decorative wares that often have whole scenes depicted on them and they were used for special occasions but also for display I'm cape Malone and I work with ceramics I make pots I make public art and I glaze research I have two maybe 1/3 hidden away pieces in the Victorian Albert Museum the first is the Millennium jug of symbols a jug is a symbol of sharing you pass it around the table so this this symbol of optimism and joy my objective is to impart a sense of joy and optimism and sharing with ceramics it's the pleasure of making that I want to show and the main piece is snow Lady gourd which is all about life it's all about the life force a pot is a character a pot has a lip a shoulder a belly and a foot and she is like a sort of great strong woman fizzing with these balls of energy so I worked maybe 20% of my time on glaze research and my particular interest is crystalline glazes every glaze has a recipe and they're full of zinc and they super saturate and they throw out crystals so when you look closely at snow lady God there are these crystals these magical crystals that have grown is this sort of essence and life force which is exemplary within the glaze within the firing process so my favorite pieces in the VNA collection are all of them one of them is excel salto there is this bravery and there's this exploration in his work that I find totally inspiring it's extraordinary you can see the body you can see the grog in the body showing through but this is beautiful and presume it's inspired by leaves or tree it could be tree bark or it could be patterns cross-sections through trees and this is SATA this is nature and in fact this is Copenhagen blazing as well and the glaze relates to the form so well in fact in the same way as I move glazes around my form on snow lady gold you've got all this movement you can actually see the movement that's happened in the kiln but I think he would have taken the VARs and it this is where you connect with a maker you were taking the bus and push these areas out with his fingers the extraordinary thing about ceramics is it was makers hands and fingers that make them on the whole of course there are tools but you can put your hand inside a jug from the 14th 12th century BC you could you can put your head and you can feel that maker's finger tips there and it's so tactile it's as if they're speaking to you across time and it's just the most wonderful thing and all the things here that's probably why it makes me feel so humble and emotional is that there are people's there's tenderness within every piece and that is just so beautiful so the 20th and 21st century ceramic collections here at the V&A are unrivaled in terms of their scope and their quality they're very rich in objects from all around the world and include important works by artists from all around the world so this showcase displays worked from the 1950s and 1960s studio ceramics and artists ceramics and it's a really wonderful time because it's a kind of opening out of the of the field with many different types of work and very fresh new types of work one of the star objects in the display is this piece here this sculpture by Pablo Picasso from about 1951 and it's a subpoenaed one of many hundreds in fact of pieces he made in at the Madeira pottery and Provence where he worked from about 1947 and it's really a lively object lively sculptural object has this zoomorphic and too perfect character it's a wine pitcher in the sense but it's also a sculpture of a mounted Cavalier and it's the plot of playful work that you really expect from Picasso ceramics in this period in our gallery that we call making ceramics that really explores that idea of process we have a whole series of case studies of different historic workshops that's really how we go about exploring the idea of how ceramics are made but one of the most exciting of those case studies if you like is a recreation of a corner of loo series studio Luci we came to London in 1938 and established a pottery in Albion Mews in Paddington not that far from the being day and it was quite a small pottery workshop as studio pottery workshops tend to be and she worked there for the rest of her life through to the 1990s and after her death all of the material that was in the studio was saved so we were able to put on this representation of over her studio with all her original equipment including the two pottery wheels that she made all her work on traditionally the museum has engaged with artists really through collecting their work and putting it on display but in more recent years we've tried to be slightly more dynamic in the way we approach contemporary artists and we work with them more on a kind of project type basis sometimes to display installations in the museum but also particularly in recent years we've run a really exciting residency program where artists come to us for a period of around six months or more and they work with the collections and they work with the staff of the museum and they really have the opportunity to explore what the museum is all about and take their practice in new directions and make work actually on-site in the museum I first visited the VNA when I was the students at the Royal College roll the collections had a massive impact on me because they introduced ceramics as a material and the scope of the material from the ubiquitous cup and saucer to its application as an architectural medium to sculpture it provided a vast insight into what ceramics was and its possibilities my practice intersects a range of different fields so I'm this hybrid artist archaeologist hath knock refer so it's this fusion of different methods I got into ceramics because I was born in stoke-on-trent sir conference is a world capital of ceramics which developed during the 18th century and it consisted of six towns which were famed for their industrial scale ceramic production well this subjects is made by John and David earless during the 1690s and it's a particular points of fascination for me because these objects were made in the place where I grew up these are two Dutch silversmiths you come over to North Staffordshire and they come to use this wonderful seam of red clay to copy Chinese red wares people start to really see these people as pioneers of Industry it's amazing to pick these objects up because they represent something so important to my personal history I grew up on this seam of red clay and to handle some of these things there's just a jury really the VNA will always be a constant source of inspiration for me working I can come back to some of these spaces and I can look at these objects with it with a fresh lens and with different experiences come back to some of these things and they'll represents a new meaning and I can take some of the nuances from these objects and and again rethink them for me the ceramic collections of the VNA represents such a wonderful testimony to human endeavor you could look at periods of making which are very primordial through objects which have that extreme sophistication through technologies which we develop through industrialization so they're very kind of human qualities which I think a lot of people can identify with because ceramics are used in the everyday I think we cannot ignore his strength and these collections and not just dusty showcases even though I'm very familiar with some of these objects I can see new things and new ideas spark from objects which I have loved in the past you

6 Comments

  1. Big Lumpy Beetle

    this is beautyfull. but seriously what I really want to do is eat just a load of beef in that chinese dragon plate, and then lick all of the sauce from that dragons face.

    Reply
  2. Peter Fordyce

    Thanks, that was a really fascinating video. I've always admired the affects of supersaturated glazes without knowing what it is, it's nice to know what they are.

    Reply
  3. Agusta Sister

    What a libtard know it all…somehow she comes across as just a pwrson who likes flamboyant verbs and has no substance in science.

    Reply

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