At Table: Part I Contemporary Ceramics Tableware

5 February - 20 April 2008

In 2008 Blackwell will host two linked selling exhibitions highlighting the work of selected contemporary makers working in the field of tableware. At the beginning of the year At Table, Part 1: Contemporary Ceramic Tableware will take place (5 February – 20 April 2008). The calendar will be rounded off with At Table, Part 2: Contemporary Tableware in Metalwork and Silver (11 November – 31 December 2008).

At Table, Part 1 will showcase a tempting range of ceramics by nine contemporary makers, selected for their combined aesthetic appeal and practicality. These are objects with function at their heart, designed not only to be treasured, but also used and enjoyed. They remove the humdrum from the everyday. “People will always need plates” observed the BT advert character Beatrice Bellman on being told that her grandson had failed all but his pottery and sociology GCSE. So why not enrich daily experience by using tableware true to the fundamental values of functionality and beauty?

Akiko Hirai and Kaori Tatebayashi both make domestic wares within a Japanese tradition. Childhood memories of Arita and Kyoto motivated Kaori Tatebayshi to create her ‘Kumo’ range of tableware, in which the rims of the cups, bowls and plates resemble the gentle curve and lilt of the Kyoto mountains. Reticent about the motivation behind her work, Akiko hopes that her pieces appeal to their users because of their ambiguity.

Isobel Dallas and Joanna Howells both work in porcelain; Isobel achieves subtle effects with blue and green celadon glazes, whilst Joanna creates work that concentrates on form and texture.

Louise Gibb’s interest lies largely in surface decoration, and she often uses a narrative or story as a starting point, such as Rudyard Kipling’s How the Leopard Got His Spots, which inspired her ‘Leaping Leopards’ collection.

Maria Lintott is interested in how we form emotional attachments to objects, and her bone china tableware encourages this interaction.

Jhan Stanley’s work combines contemporary ideas with classical and traditional materials and techniques; she focuses on innate domesticity to explore her ideas in several ranges of tableware.

Louisa Taylor found inspiration in the 18th century creamware collection in the V&A, which led her to question how functional ceramics have evolved to suit the dining rituals of today’s society. Her tableware adapts and ‘multifunctions’ to suit contemporary living.

Image - Maria Lintott, ‘Relief (left) and Elevated Presentation (right) Bowls’, all work in slip-cast bone china 2007/8
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