5 (Ceramic) Art Things to do in Coronavirus Lock Down (Edition 2)

Beautiful flecked Stoneware Beakers by J G Pottery

Welcome to my second edition of ‘5 things to do in Coronavirus lockdown’ – miraculously I am only a day late on my self imposed weekly deadline. I blame the weather. There was no way I was going to sit at my desk yesterday instead of reading the papers and listening to podcasts in the sun.

As it tuns out I am going to focus this week’s blog on a love very close to my own heart – ceramics. I started collecting hand thrown mugs way before I even got into art. Collecting mugs helped me develop many of the skills I now use in my art consultancy business – they helped develop my ‘eye’, I learnt to observe, to pick things up, assess, ask questions and engage with artists (albeit ceramic ones). Potters are like geographers – you never meet a nasty one – and I found their humble earthiness gave me the confidence to start engaging in the art world at the more approachable end of the spectrum. I have a lot to thank the ceramic world for and I find myself often retreating there when life is getting a bit out of control. Ceramics anchor me and I hope you find some quiet stillness and joy in the following few ideas.

Idea 1. Buy yourself your favourite tea or coffee and buy a hand thrown mug to go with it.

Dry Grey Flower Pattern Cup by Akiko Hirai.

I first encountered the sublime work of Akiko Hirai at Ceramic Art London – one of the first ‘art fairs’ I ever went to. The mug that I bought off her is my absolute favourite mug in my collection in which to drink herbal tea (I have other favourites for my PG moments!). Her mug, a cup of herbal tea and a quiet corner can make for a very very happy moment indeed. Other favourite makers that make my tea and coffee sing include Chris Keenan, Derek Wilson and if you want the ultimate hand thrown mug for builders tea it has to be a John Leach – it keeps the tea hotter for longer like no other and I can sit for days staring and wondering just how a handle can be so beautifully affixed.

Idea 2. Buy a ticket for a tenner and watch over 25 pottery workshops without leaving home on May 1st-3rd

Jo Taylor Composure I and II, height 23 and 20cm, 2015.

On May 1st-3rd you can watch over 25 pottery workshops. This event is hosted by the Ceramic School and is called The Ceramics Congress. I have to admit I have not subscribed before but it has a great list of contributing potters including the fabulous Jo Taylor pictured above. I think this surely has to be worth a £10 punt for anyone remotely interested in ceramics.

Idea 3. Follow the hashtag artistsupportpledge on Instagram.

I am fairly sure that this idea will feature every week we are in lock down. For those that did not read last week’s blog – this amazing idea was conceived by artist Matthew Burrows from the realisation that the world was going to suddenly get a lot harder for artists during lockdown with many of their usual sales channels suddenly closed (galleries, art fairs, studio shows). The idea is simple. Artists post works for sale under the #artistsupportpledge for £200 or less. Once they have sold £1000 of work they purchase £200 of work from another artist – thus sharing the love.

Here are a selection of ceramic artists that are getting involved that you can support at this difficult time. Please check out my other blogs from week one here and week three here for other ideas.

Justine Alison is currently participating in #artistsupportpledge
JG Pottery is too
Georgie Gardiner is as well

Idea 4. Listen to a podcast from master potter Kate Malone MBE

Actually you can listen to pretty much any of these fascinating podcasts from the series ‘Material Matters with Grant Gibson‘. But in keeping with this blog’s ceramic theme I have to recommend the episode from Kate Malone MBE – an art girl crush of mine for many years and of course now one of the judge’s on the wonderful Great Pottery Throw Down

One that got away. I have always regretted not buying this Kate Malone pot from Adrian Sassoon 10 years ago.

Idea 5. Find an objet that you will love looking at for the next 4 months and one that might well serve you well for the next 20 years.

Ceramics has been an interesting growth area in the art world over the last 10 years. Some shrewd buys back then have reaped great returns now. Ceramics anchor rooms, give great calm to spaces and can give you great joy. If you have been looking at a space on your shelf or sideboard thinking ‘I really must get something for that’ then we can do a zoom call (or Skype if that’s your thing), we can discuss light, atmosphere, size and style. And we can discuss if you have kids and buying ceramics is remotely a good idea at this stage. This costs £150 and I will send you 10 ideas for the space.

A pot by Jennifer Lee. Her work has increased in value tenfold over the last 10 years. This piece sold recently at auction for £15,000

If you want to look at something that give you as much joy then please get in touch on 07855 803509.

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