A Line Around a Shadow: Edmund de Waal
8 October - 31 December 2005
This exhibition of new work in porcelain by potter and writer Edmund de Waal has been devised in close collaboration with the artist, who has made pieces inspired by Blackwell and its interiors. Showing alongside is work by nine of Edmund de Waal's studio apprentices, each of whom have gone on to establish their own successful practices. These include Helen Beard, Jacob van der Beugel, Georgina Frankel, Marie T Hermann, Olivia Horley, Chris Keenan, Hyejeong Kim, Sun Hyung Kim and Hortense Suleyman.
Edmund de Waal is widely regarded as one of Britain's leading potters, working mainly in porcelain with minimal decoration and subtle glazes. His pieces have a calm and contemplative quality; he has also developed a completely new set of glazes with a range of different types of white glaze inspired by the changing light in the white drawing room alone.
Part of the plan of this exhibition is to reinvigorate the way that ceramics can be displayed and de Waal has created a series of works - installations (groupings of a series of pots displayed together) as well as single pieces - that act as punctuation marks within the house. None of the pieces in the show are behind glass, and all are in places where they can breathe.
"Blackwell presents me with the greatest challenge so far. It is a complex house: a series of unfolding spaces that move between dark narrow corridors, light-filled rooms and double height volumes. There are many interstices: internal windows that look into spaces, window seats from which you can catch glimpses of other parts of the house. The layering of the house is also decorative: there are repeated motifs in the woodwork, the plasterwork and the stone carving... The effect is akin to that of a piece of music."
Following an apprenticeship to Geoffrey Whiting, Edmund de Waal studied English at Cambridge University and then, in 1991, he was awarded a Daiwa Foundation scholarship to study in Japan.
The accompanying exhibition catalogue, designed by Pentagram, contains photographs of the works on display at Blackwell and includes essays by Alun Graves and Simon Olding.
Many of the works are for sale, offering a rare opportunity for collectors to purchase a wide range of work by some of the country's leading ceramicists. Items between £100 and £2000 may be bought through the Arts Council's "Own Art" scheme that enables the purchase of contemporay art and craft through interest free loans.