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Monumental Jar VIII, 2011, Monumental Jar XII, 2012, Monumental Jar X, 2012, all by Julian Stair © The Artist. Photography by Jan Baldwin

More recently, many artists have tried to re-claim clay afresh, breaking away from more traditionalist elements of the British Studio Pottery Movement. Some artists have done this through site-specific installation, or performative work. But for others, their work has grown, quite literally, in ambition. This physical growth, sometimes at human scale, enabled by technological developments, is the result of different motivations. For some potters working in historicist styles, the increase in size is a technical challenge. For others, it provides scope for a sculptural or architectural approach, or a means by which to propose a metaphorical narrative.

Whatever their motivation, each of these artists has changed the physical and psychological relationship of the pot to the human body. Their ceramics are no longer intimate, but commanding presences in their own right. Studio pottery has literally grown up over the past century; but it remains the most grounded of artistic disciplines.

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