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Annual Gardner Medwin Lecture given by Walter Keeler

Walter Keeler Solo / Saturday 1st October 2016 – Saturday 12th November 2016
Bluecoat Display Centre are delighted to present a solo exhibition of ceramics by the acclaimed potter Walter Keeler.

Potter Walter Keeler has been working in clay for over forty years and during that time his work has ranged from stoneware and raku to earthenware. His forms are equally various, with an early interest in sculptural pieces gradually being replaced by strictly functional pots. His functional pots are rarely straightforward and many have a strong ornamental element with often witty, unexpected details. They bridge the gap between practical domestic pottery and fine-art orientated ceramics – they are beautifully made studio pottery pieces but with highly innovative and contemporary forms.

‘The pottery tradition is at the heart of all my work. Pottery for use has been central to all settled human communities. Seldom merely functional, it has been a vehicle for expression and the fulfilment of a delight in the pleasure of handling a sensual and incredibly versatile material; the useful bound up with the intellect and the imagination.

I discovered pottery as a boy, becoming intimate with fragments of ancient pots picked up on the beaches of the Thames in London. They infiltrated my mind and my senses, giving me an insight to the syntax of thrown pottery; a sense of what is authentic, which I only fully understood as I gained experience in the craft.

So my work is informed by my passion for pots from the past, but also by making and firing, and the world and times in which I live. Sometimes I make simple useful things like mugs or jugs, on other occasions my work is less straightforward, making demands, even challenging the user to negotiate with an unexpected pot to do an ordinary job. I hope my pottery brings with its seriousness, some humour and sensual pleasure’ – Walter Keeler