Art exhibition at Blackwell House in Bowness-on-Windermere

Form over Function: Ceramic Art at Blackwell

Friday 18 May – Sunday 9 September 2018

This exhibition challenges the notion that ceramics are primarily functional. Explore how artists create art out of craft.

Ranging from a playful hippo sculpture to an optical illusion box, works are themed into Animals, Clay as a canvas, Sculpture and Community. Through loans from Centre of Ceramic Art at York Art Gallery, our own and private collections, we explore William Morris’ saying: “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

Form over Function includes sculptural forms, painted surfaces and narrative works by some of the greatest ceramicists. Artists on show include Lucie Rie, Hans Coper, Gordon Baldwin, Ewen Henderson, Rosemary Wren and Alison Britton.

Traditionally clay has been used to make functional things which support us in our daily lives. But over the centuries there’s been an increasing emphasis on decoration, transforming once functional designs into beautiful objects for the home. Museums and galleries have developed large collections ranging from Chinese export ware to early designs by Josiah Wedgwood, using them as a basis for Decorative Arts collections.

Over the last century clay has transcended the function of either being ‘useful’ or ‘beautiful’ - becoming a medium of choice for artists.

As well as this exhibition inside Blackwell, we have some fantastic contemporay art outside: Di Mainstone's Time Mirror.

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  • Rosemary Wren, Hippo, Courtesy of York Museums Trust © The Rosemary Wren Estate