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Ceramic Art London 2022: Meaning is Everything

Today the wonderful Ceramic Art London return to Kings Cross London after an enforced two year absence. Much missed, this high quality fair and celebration of all things made of clay is definitely one to see. Some of Design-Nation’s most impressive makers will be there, so if you are lucky enough to get in do look for their work.

We hear the event is mostly sold out, although the patient can queue on the day to get in during quieter times (CAL’s website helpfully explains the best options). And while you’re waiting, or if you can’t, the On Air installation is free to view in the impressive high-ceilinged foyer.

Design-maker Harriet Caslin is particularly excited to be at CAL this year – she was on a waiting list and only had her place confirmed at the end of last year. Nothing daunted she has pushed herself with development of a whole new range, entitled “ Nature/Nurture”. This series includes vessels and wall pieces, all exploring layers, shadow and contrasts within the container.

Harriet says, “It’s really early days with [this range] and has taken a lot of trial and error so far, but I am really excited by what this new direction represents to me and what I want to continue to explore. It’s hard to communicate exactly what this new collection of work means to me after a cathartic year personally: there are so may threads I could pull on and this will evolve over time.” These subtly multi-hued and boldly curvaceous pieces are real statements and are sure to find many homes.  Harriet concludes, “I’ve found recently that meaning is everything when it comes to making.” A statement we very much concur with.

CAL’s own theme is “works for all sizes of budget and home”. Justine Allison‘s work is a great example – her trademark faceted striped and plain vessels look as if they could nest inside each other, their hand-built shapes echoing each other even as the dimensions change. Justine says, “Form is paramount; function is a driving motivation, but it is the aesthetics of a piece that are key to my making. The early influences from London; buildings, windows, streets and sounds remain with me although living in rural Wales.”

Sussex based Heidi Harrington looks to nature for her inspiration, bringing the shapes and shades of vegetation into play on her unique printed tableware. She’ll be showing new Cicely wall plates and  larger vessels and groups, including a large Woodland garniture. Heidi will also have some new cups, all screen printed with her own images.

Sasha Wardell is excited about her new Galaxy bowls, made in her distinctive and painstaking process of slipcasting layers of bone china and then cutting back to show the earlier. The precision involved is amazing but Sasha loves that challenge:  “It is very satisfying paring down the through the layers to reveal the colours underneath and hopefully not going through!” She has clear ideas about how to showcase these stunning works: “Ideally I would envisage these pieces to be placed on a bright windowsill or, in a lit display unit to maximise the translucency.”

If you are looking for functional pieces, made a beeline for Sue Pryke whose eye for clean contemporary forms is impressive. Sue’s mastery of pastel slipcast pieces is renowned but for CAL she’s choosing to investigate her dark side, showing a range matt and gloss black pieces. (Exemplified here in the Mr & Mrs Teapot.) Sue is also giving a talk on Sunday.

Finally we mentioned the On Air installation in the foyer at Central St Martins – its the brain child of Annemarie Piscaer and Iris de Kievith, the founders of  Lab AIR, a design collective based in Rotterdam, Netherlands. LAB Air focuses on making the abstract problems that take place in the air visible and experienceable.

Their current project Smogware includes DN member Linda Bloomfield, a joint showcase to explore the tangible effects of air pollution.  Smogware’s tea set is glazed with air pollution particulates collected around London, and Linda’s new green lichen-effect pieces show how air pollution affects lichen biodiversity. Also on show will be their  collaborative ‘Lab Air’ laboratory, with glaze test tiles, test tubes of pollution particulates and research.

Ceramic Art London 8-10 April 2022, Central St Martins.


News index page: vessels by Justine Allison, photo by Zuza Grubecka.

Carousel: Nature/Nurture range by Harriet Caslin; vessels by Justine Allison; Cicely Plate and Alpine Beakers by Heidi Harrington; Galaxy bowls by Sasha Wardell: matt black Mrs & Mrs Teapot with brass handle by Sue Pryke; green lichenaceous vessels in woodland by Linda Bloomfield.

All photos courtesy the makers.


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Liz Cooper


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