Ceramic Archive

School of Art, Aberystwyth University,


Issue No.10 2008/9



Education & Outreach


Ceramic Collection



Interpreting Ceramics

The Archive Team


Web page and contacts



Collaboration is the key word for all our current initiatives which offer exciting new prospects for the future in the present funding climate. The National Centre for Ceramics in Wales consolidates our partnership with the ceramic department at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff. Through this we are planning student projects and research initiatives starting in April 2009 with the student day associated with A Sense of Affinity, Ceramics in Series. The exhibition Barrett-Danes – a Continuing Tradition is a joint project with Llantarnam Grange Art Centre and we are also planning further educational projects and small exhibitions with works from Aberystwyth at the recently remodelled Ruthin Craft Centre. In January 2007 we launched the new website which makes available on line every work in the ceramic collection. The most recent addition to this will be pages for the For Love or Money project with interview abstracts and sound-bites as podcasts. Check it out at


Photograph 1:

Caption: Gwyn Hanssen-Piggott Three Ashed Bottles, Art Fund 2008

A Sense of Affinity – Ceramics in Series

In recent years many ceramic artists have begun to use assemblage and groupings to bring new meaning and resonance to their work. By exploring this theme this exhibition shows examples from the permanent collection alongside work by three invited artists. The display takes as its starting point Three Ashed Bottles by Gwyn Hanssen-Piggott, a piece recently acquired for the Ceramic Collection with the help of grant funding from The Art Fund. Hanssen-Pigott is Australian but worked in the UK and France for many years. Inspired in part by the work of the Italian painter Giorgio Morandi (1890-1964), she developed a system of showing her serene and minimalist bottles and bowls in carefully composed groups. They evoke a timeless stillness emphasizing the subtle surfaces of the wood-fired porcelain.

Melanie Brown is well known for her ‘families’ of teapots and has recently extended the theme in Family Portrait. The domed glass showcases the teapot alongside elegant scrolls of white porcelain, the bi-product of making the piece. Kate Wilson is showing four out of a set of twelve ‘botanatomical’ jars which make reference to Delft ware but have tongue-in-cheek botanical and anatomical designs and evocative inscriptions in fake latin. The link is made effective by displaying in the opposite case three 17 th century Delft plates from the Aberystwyth collection. The third invited artist is Sara Moorhouse whose work has been developed in relation to her PhD at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff. Inspired by colour theory and landscape formations, including the paintings by JMW Turner of Mount Rigi, she works in series to explore the optical effects of colour on form. The vibrant greens, yellows and blues and shifting proportions on each piece play out an intriguing visual game.

Other exhibitions

Lombok Pottery

2. Photograph “

Caption: Women potters in Lombok, 2008

The Indonesian island of Lombok lies to the East of Bali in the Indian Ocean. In a field trip in March 2008, Moira Vincentelli visited the island and collected a group of work which illustrates the way traditional pottery is being transformed to cater for new markets. Once in many villages, Sasak women potters produced a wide range of domestic pottery for water storage, cooking and ceremonial events. Now such earthenware is less widely used on the island and the pottery industry is confined to three villages, Banumulek, Penujack and Masbagik. The potters use their traditional techniques to produce beautiful burnished earthenware for the global market place. In the present century the work is more likely to be found in urban interiors as functional and domestic decoration.

The potters of Lombok hand build pieces by coiling, moulding or beating out. The pieces are burnished (polished) and fired in open bonfires. Some of them are finished by smoke firing which turns the work a shiny black, typical of women’s pottery in many parts of the world. While pottery is still mainly made by women, men are now much more active in the business, as middlemen and traders and in developing new forms of decorative finishes. The ceramics on display in the gallery was purchased through Lombok Pottery Centre, a project set up between Lombok and New Zealand in 1989. It is managed by women advisors who work with the potters to produce high quality pieces that respect traditional forms and techniques but which will also appeal to contemporary western tastes.

Ceramics from the The Lee Arts Center, Arlington VA, USA

Through the collaboration with Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre we showed an exhibition of challenging new contemporary ceramics from the USA featuring work by Ramon Camarillo, Malcolm Davis, Elizabeth Kendall, Jacqueline Kierans, Gisele Nimic, Alfredo Ratinoff, Elke Seefeldt, Judit Varga and Novie Trump who, as part of an exchange programme with Fireworks Studio in Cardiff, was artist in residence there in the summer of 2008. Her installation pieces were inspired by the leaves and natural forms she had found in the new environment.

Photograph 3.

Caption: Judit Varga, Elements II, 2007

Photograph 4.

Alan and Ruth Barrett-Danes

Barrett-Danes, a Continuing Tradition

The exhibition showing in Aberystwyth in the summer of 2009 is a tribute to a family who represent four generations of pottery in Britain. Organised by Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre in collaboration with Aberystwyth, its main focus is the work of Alan and Ruth Barrett-Danes who, over many years, worked together and independently in unusual ways. Edward Baker, Alan’s grandfather and uncles ran the Upchurch Pottery in Kent (1913-1963) which was set up to produce ‘modern’ pottery although the potters’ skills and techniques drew on the Baker family inheritance from country potters of the nineteenth century. As a youth Alan disappointed his grandfather by choosing an art college training rather than an apprenticeship in the family business. He went on to work as an industrial designer in Stoke-on-Trent in his early career before taking up a teaching post at Cardiff College of Art in 1967. Combining his interest in technical experimentation and with his wife, Ruth’s imaginative and figurative bent they produced intriguing joint works in the cabbage kingdom series and later in beautiful domestic slipware with lively animal drawings by Ruth. The exhibition also shows fine examples of Ruth’s anthropomorphic sculptures as well as an elegant coffee set designed by Alan in 1960. Finally their son, Jonathan Barrett-Danes, shows his characterful sculptures of sheep, some of which are full life-size.

Touring Exhibitions

Through TEG we advertise the small touring exhibitions which we continue to keep available. Animal Fantasies and Sensational Ceramics were in the Michael Heseltine Gallery, Chenderit School, Oxford in the autumn 2008 and in Cleethorpes Discovery Centre in April 2009. Sankofa, Ceramics Tales from Africa toured to the Peter Scott Gallery in Lancaster April-June 2008. Some parts of that also went to the USA and formed a section in the exhibition World Ceramics, Transforming Women’s Traditions (Northern Clay Centre and Carleton College Minneapolis, September-November 2008).

Photograph 5.

Caption: Family Learning workshop 2009

Education and Outreach Family Learning: In January 2008 The Ceramic Collection and Archive won an Inspiring Learning Grant from CyMAL to run a pilot scheme of Family Learning events in the Ceramic Gallery. The programme consisted of arts and craft activities, storytelling and performances around the themes of making and collecting ceramics. All events were booked up within one week of advertising and thoroughly enjoyed by 350 participants. Following this success and further demand from families, we secured additional funding from CyMAL, to develop this work and continue running events throughout 2008/ 2009.

Events are currently run during school term times on the last Saturday of every month in the Ceramic Gallery in the Arts Centre.

Schools: Jill Piercy runs the schools workshops in conjunction with the Arts Centre. These have continued to be popular and find a regular audience of new classes of primary age children. Some new schools also become involved in the programme. The children spend half of the time working in the gallery with the collection and have another hands-on session working in the ceramics studio in the Arts Centre.

Life Long Learning: Moira Vincentelli has worked with Angharad Taris to develop a Life Long learning course in ceramics which has incorporated handling sessions and talks in relation to the collection. The group showed their final work in the Ceramics Gallery in September 2008.

Photograph 6.

Caption: Carol Windham, commemorative piece celebrating Aberystwyth Ceramics Festival 2007



Over the last two years we have added nearly 80 pieces of ceramics to the collection with many additional pieces for the handling collection. We are grateful to the British Council who donated a large number of works from their touring exhibitions in the 1990s, Time for Tea and Dish of the Day. Some makers are already represented in the collection but we are particularly pleased to have works by Rupert Spira, Carol McNicoll, Seth Cardew and Will Levi Marshall who had not been previously represented. From the last International Ceramics Festival we acquired work by Angelica Velazquez Cruz (Mexico), Francois Dufayard (France) Antal Pazmandi (Hungary), Nick Hoogland (Netherlands), Genya Senobe (Japan), M. Palanniappan (India). Carol Windham (UK) made a wonderful and witty sculpture based on her observations as a demonstrator at the event. With the help of funding from the V&A Purchase Grant Fund and the Art Fund we acquired a porcelain sculpture by Ruth Duckworth (V&A and AF), a delicate slipcast porcelain bucket from Bodil Manz (V&A) and the Three Ashed Bottles from Gwyn Hanssen-Piggott (AF). Other new makers in the collection include Piet Stockmans (Belgium) Ting-Ju Shao (Taiwan) Judit Varga (USA), Jenny Beavan (UK), Dan Stafford (UK), and from Wales: Justine Allison, Wendy Lawrence, Jacqui Atkin and Katy Scarlett-Howard. Marianne de Trey gifted us a small collection of her work, some of which can be used in our handling collections and Frances Marx gifted a group of works by her mother, the ceramic designer, Greta Marx.

Photograph 7.

Caption : Students handling Marianne de Trey’s work in the School of Art 2009


We are very grateful for donations of books and papers from Ceramic Review; from the estate of Robert Fournier; from Peter and Diane Stichbury of material relating to Harry Davis; and from Alan Wallwork of material relating to the CPA.

Below we print an extract form one of the documents sent by Alan Wallwork from the CPA news sheet of August 1965. Like so many artist’s associations, the CPA struggled with the concept of ‘standards’ and here we have an indication of the tensions concerning quality control that circulated in the group in these early years. But it also goes on to announce another important moment in the history of the CPA when Bernard Leach, who had always held back, finally consented to accept Honorary membership

The Craftsmen Potters’ Association

Lowndes Court Carnaby Street London W!


From the Secretary’s Desk

I’m happy to say that the standard of work at the Shop goes up and up, but I’m also sorry to have to report that some members are tending to send their second best work to C.P.A. The letter from an Associate member in the News Sheet underlines the point.

It stands to reson that a potter will accumulate out of his production, a percentage of work which while it is too good to scrap, it is at the same time not up to the standard he sets himself. What to do with these pots is the question. I suggest that local shop outlets or home sales should be the method to dispose of these, but please don’t use C.P.A. as a means of disposal.

When you open the Kiln and are allocating the pots unloaded, I suggest you should make your selection for the C.P.A. Shop on the basis of whether or no you would care to submit them, as a new applicant for membership, to the Selection Committee. The Craftsmen potters Shop, which is your showroom, is rapidly becoming recognised as the shop window for the best British Craft Pottery so please give your support by sending in work you can be proud of.

Now I have an event to report which gives me the greatest possible pleasure and will, I am sure, meet with an equal response from all members.

Bernard leach has accepted the invitation of the Council to become an Honorary Life Member of the Association and will be exhibiting at the Craftsmen potters Shop. This is the development which many of us have looked forward to for some years and seems to me to mark the most important point in our development to date – a kind of “coming of age”

David Canter


In relation to the For Love or Money project, in September 2007 with support from the Arts Council of Wales we ran a conference entitled ‘Making Good-Women Artists in Wales’ which brought together ceramic artists and fine artists to discuss business and practice; and in November 2007 papers were presented in an AHRC conference in Cardiff and at Neocraft in Halifax in Canada. The funding finished in 2008 and the project will be presented in a digital form on the Ceramic Archive website.

Photograph 8. Catalogue image of World ceramics-no caption

Between 2007 -8 Moira Vincentelli worked with Northern Clay Centre, Minneapolis and Carleton College, Minnesota to curate World Ceramics, Transforming Women’s Traditions which showed at the two venues in the autumn of 2008. In relation to this Vincentelli made a study visit to Lombok in Indonesia to document and select work for the show. A special number of Interpreting Ceramics was published to coincide with the exhibition where some of the articles derive from presentations at the Traditional Women Potters: Old Forms, New Markets symposium held in Aberystwyth in July 2007.

Family Learning and Foundation Phase Toolkit

We are using our experience from our Family Learning programme, to research and develop a Family Learning Toolkit for other small venues such as local museums, galleries and heritage sites. This is designed to give practical advice on planning, marketing, and evaluation for venues who wish to become Family Learning providers, but have limited resources in staff, space and time. At the same time we are developing a project to adapt the toolkit towards the Foundation Phase so that small museums and galleries can offer holistic learning programmes to include formal and informal learning opportunities especially for families with children under 7 years of age. This project is funded an Inspiring Learning Grant from CyMAL.

Four PhD research students have been pursuing research on ceramics and related topics. Our congratulations to Terence Cartlidge completed his PhD on the work of Charles and Nell Vyse in 2009. Kathy Talbot is researching early twentieth century hand-painted ceramics with special reference to Llanelly Pottery; Ndubuisi Ezeluomba is working Olukun sculptures in Benin. Helga Gamboa is researching ceramics in Angola in relation to her own work for a PhD in practice. In 2008 she had a 2 person show in Luanda, Angola and undertook a five- week residency at Northern Clay Centre in Minneapolis, USA. Kathy Talbot published The Welsh Industries Association, Philanthropy, Craft and Commerce, The Swansea History Journal, Minerva Vol 16 2008/9

Interpreting Ceramics

Interpreting Ceramics is a refereed electronic journal committed to interdisciplinary research in relation to recording, interrogating, interpreting and communicating the practice and history of ceramics. Founded in 2001 by a group of academic staff in four universities in the UK: University of Wales Institute Cardiff, Aberystwyth University, the University of the West of England Bristol and Bath Spa University it aims to publish exciting new approaches to the field. Issues have focused variously on history, studio ceramics, makers writing about their own work and world ceramics. The journal is freely accessible, without charge and can be found at

The Archive Team

Moira Vincentelli is Senior Lecturer in Art History and Curator of the Ceramic Collection, Louise Chennell and Kathy Talbot are archive assistants, Amanda Roberts, Carol Bainbridge part-time assistant researchers, Neil Holland is Curator of Collections; Jill Piercy is consultant project researcher and education officer; Jane Davies of Asplash is the web designer and consultant.


Arts Council of Wales £13,300 (2006-7) and £10,300 (2007-8)

CyMAL Inspiring Learning Grants for Family learning £7,500 (2007/8) and £3,000 for developing web pages in relation to ‘love or Money’ project

V&A/Resource Purchase Grant Fund and the Art Fund for works by Ruth Duckworth, Gwyn Hanssen-Piggott, Bodil Manz.

Arts & Humanities Research Board, £151,000 received in 2004-8 for research project For Love or Money .

Web Page & Contact

The Web site for the Archive continues to be developed and expanded with more information and images. The address is

E-mail contact is

Postal address: Ceramic Archive, School of Art, Buarth Mawr, Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth SY23 1NE


The Ceramic Archive is based at the School of Art, Aberystwyth University. We are grateful to the following bodies who have supported our work: Arts Council of Wales. CyMAL, the V&A/Resource Purchase Grant Fund, The Art Fund.

(AU logo)(CyMAL logo) Arts Council Logo

ISSN 1461-3719