Around 1900, independent potters started setting up their own studios to make individual pots by hand in reaction to mass-produced ‘soul-less’ industrial ceramics. The work they made became known as ‘Studio Pottery’. Inspired by historic examples, particularly from China, Japan and Korea, they aimed to find a new approach that would also resonate with the contemporary world.
This exhibition explores the evolution of studio pottery through a loose chronology and through eight key forms connected with its functional origins: moon jar, vase, bowl, charger, set, vessel, pot and monument.
The story of British Studio Pottery is a global one, with pots and potters travelling between Britain, continental Europe, Asia, Africa, and beyond. But it is also one of stillness, showing how handmade vessels can centre our place in the world. As potter Michael Cardew is said to have remarked:
“If you are lucky and if you live long enough, and if you trust your materials and you trust your instincts, you will see things of beauty growing up in front of you…”