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Stalwarts / Saturday 4th February 2017 - Saturday 18th March 2017

This exhibition presents ceramic works by John Leach, John Ward, David & Margaret Frith, Emily Myers, Duncan Ross and Gabriele Koch.

All have a long standing relationship with Bluecoat Display Centre and will be showing a new collection of works. These luminaries can be seen in major national public collections. This exhibition represents a unique opportunity for the general public to view and purchase their very collectable work.

There will also be a supporting loan display of earlier works by these artists drawn from the collection of National Museums, Liverpool with all the works having been purchased in the past from Bluecoat Display Centre.

The exhibition has been curated by Display Centre Director, Dr.Maureen Bampton. It will link in with the Bluecoat’s programme celebrating the buildings 300th year anniversary, sharing a private view night to enable cross over audiences with shared interests.

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“Excellently curated "Stalwarts Exhibition"---All the ceramics of the highest integrity. Came from Manchester on Friday afternoon for the Private View and unfortunately delayed in motorway traffic,arrived at 5.45 and devasted to see red spots on both…”


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As the eldest grandson of Bernard Leach and son of David Leach, John was fortunate to be given the best possible training as a potter and to be able to continue the family tradition, making honest, hand-thrown pots in his own 16th century, thatch-roofed pottery at Muchelney in the beautiful English West Country.

His range of stoneware kitchen pots using local clays has been in constant production for over 50 years but his greatest joy is in creating his one-off designs. Some are fired in sawdust-filled saggars, producing exciting black pots with unpredictable markings. Others explore his fascination with antique leather bottles, African and early English and American pottery. A selection of these signed, collectable pots is available in the John Leach Gallery at Muchelney and through this website.

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John Ward, born 1938 in Islington, London, studied at East Ham Technical College and Camberwell School of Art. He had two workshops in South East London during the 1970s – at Anerley and Charlton – before moving to Dyfed in Wales in 1979.

John uses coiling techniques to produce hollow vessels with simple but subtle shapes and surface textures. He mixes his own body clay and finishes his pots by scraping and burnishing them. He sometimes uses underglaze painted decoration.

His work has been exhibited widely, is in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, and is of much interest to serious collectors.

Referenced from: http://www.studiopottery.com/

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David and Margaret Frith have been making pots for more than fifty years. They trained in the oriental tradition at Stoke-on-Trent College of Art under ex-Leach apprentice Derek Emms before establishing their first pottery together in the mid-1960s, and now live and work at Brookhouse Pottery in Denbigh, North Wales.

Making beautiful, complimentary pots in the domestic style, these two celebrated artist nevertheless take distinctly different approaches to their work. David’s wood-fired, stoneware pieces are thrown, pressed or slabbed and finished in tenmoku, celadon and ash glazes. Multiple layers of glaze, combined with wax resist, trailed pigments and distinctive, heavy over-glazes are paired with Hakeme brush work to create bold surface decoration.

In contrast, Margaret’s delicate, thrown porcelain works are carved, fluted and decorated with subtler, more refined surface patterns using various techniques, including layered ash and celadon glazes, wax resist and elegant freehand brushwork.

David has travelled extensively; teaching – both pottery and kiln-building, giving exhibitions and holding workshops.

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Emily Myers is an established Studio Potter, Fellow of The Craft Potters Association and Crafts Council selected maker. She works in porcelain and red stoneware clay, her work is domestic in scale but sculptural in form. Emily’s pieces are often carved and fired with beautiful glazes.

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My work is thrown and burnished using many layers of a fine terra-sigillata slip with resist and inlay decoration.

I began working with sigillata to develop a rich surface with a combination of form and pattern that would be integral to the clay. Starting with  line and dense burnishing, I  experimented to obtain a feeling of depth, allowing the smoke process to play its essential and unpredictable part.

I am searching for development that comes from themes and variations; allowing the ideas to flow from one group of work to the next, adding and omitting to arrive at a natural relationship of surface to form.

The challenge lies in the relationship of form and pattern. Balance, rhythm and proportion are all important.

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‘In Ceramics, there is something that lies beyond skill and experience: it is passion, an intensity which is evident in the work of Gabriele Koch.’ Tony Birks.

I am concentrating on simple forms, trying to integrate balance and tension, stillness and movement, expansion and the containment of volume.

All pieces are hand built and some are burnished to achieve a tactile surface. In some pots I have incorporated texture to create a contrast between rough and burnished surface areas. The distinctive patterning which complements these burnished forms is achieved in a carefully organized secondary smoke firing.

My most recent work sees a shift from low fired earthenware to high fired stoneware, combining rough black clay with white porcelain, giving me the opportunity to create strong graphic designs in contrasting colours.

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Your Comments

  1. Lawrence and Averil Cooper / MANCHESTER,U.K.

    Excellently curated “Stalwarts Exhibition”—All the ceramics of the highest integrity. Came from Manchester on Friday afternoon for the Private View and unfortunately delayed in motorway traffic,arrived at 5.45 and devasted to see red spots on both John Wards superbly understated pots! C’est la vie.Please,Please let us know if any others become available Yours Averil and Lawrence Cooper

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