Tuesday, 16 September 2008

London Life

With such an intriguing title as Thinking is Clay, which features the work of Nobuko Tsuchiya, a trip to the fashionable (ring the door bell for admittance) Anthony Reynolds Gallery (60 Great Marlborough Street W1, until 4 October) was one I could not refuse. Although making use of such diverse materials as metal, wire, wax, resin, fabric, plastic, there was no clay in sight. One piece, North West Passage, suggests a wealth of associations – direction, chill, sea, transit, change, endurance, labour, discovery – though the sculpture, illustrated, has an intriguing anthropomorphic quality, which I enjoyed. Standing in the centre of the downstairs gallery, it also recalls a slightly dishevelled ship of state, but one with which I could identify. The artist does confess to responding to ‘a material through its very nature and the “mindset” I perceive embedded within it’. She goes on to say that she uses ‘the texture of thought as a primary material, trying to use “thinking” as a kind of “clay”.’ I enjoyed the show, but did wonder if at some point Nobuko Tsuchiya would be drawn to discover the subtleties of clay and thinking and material could be united. Why don’t ceramists tax us with such thoughts?

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Issue 234 Update

As I write we are deeply involved in planning the November/December issue of CR, even though there are still whiffs of summer in the air. We try to avoid any seasonal references, so we do not feature Christmas gifts, though Contemporary Ceramics and other galleries have this in mind for their December exhibitions. Along with featuring inventive tableware by four highly talented potters, the issue has a global reach, with accounts of a potters’ tour in Thailand, African potters in South Africa, sculptural ceramics in California, pottery in India and a potter in Mexico. While contributing to the ‘international language’ of ceramics, all relate closely to the country in which they work, suggesting that there may be something of a common language, but regional and national dialects prevail.

The Ceramics Book

For addicts, the new edition of The Ceramics Book has just been published. Fully revised, with some 260 new images of current work, the book gives a flavour of what is happening in the ceramics world in the UK, as well as listing addresses and contact numbers for those who want to go on a pottery tour. An ideal companion.

In the Pot

At this time of year, when corn on the cob are at their best – full, ripe and a golden yellow – they are delicious, far superior to anything found in a tin or frozen packs. My local market was selling three for a £1. To cook, if you have a microwave, is simple. Wash and place in a casserole such as those made by Jeremy Steward, Josie Walter or Jonathan Keep, cover loosely with a lid and microwave for five minutes. The corn should now be even more golden and tender, according to age. Five minutes I find just right. Smother with butter and black pepper and eat with fingers. For a more sophisticated dressing try virgin olive oil and black pepper – delicious as a starter or as vegetable, but chew thoroughly to enjoy the full, golden flavour and the heat of summer. Good old fashioned boiling in water for around 25-30 minutes will work, but slightly dilutes the flavour. One up for the dreaded microwave.


Welcome to Ceramic Review’s blog site. As communication becomes quicker, easier and more interactive, we thought it time CR moved out from the office and communicated directly with readers, and you with us. We welcome your ideas, thoughts, news and above all your response to what you see in Ceramic Review. Sometimes the team here in the office long to know what you think, how you think some articles work, what is missing, what issues concern potters today. We are here to produce the magazine that you want; we talk to potters, collectors, enthusiasts, teachers and writers, but it is you the reader whose views we value more. Join in the debate, as Mrs Merton observed.