Ceramic Art London, one of the most important international ceramics events of the year, starts this Friday. The event, held at the new Central St Martin's Building in Kings Cross, showcases the work of 88 established and emerging artists especially chosen to represent some of the most exciting work that is currently being made in the UK and across the world. As a Turning Earth member or supporter, I very much encourage you to check it out.
Ceramic Art London is produced through the collaborative efforts of the Craft Potters Association and Ceramic Review magazine. Part high-end ceramics sale, part exhibition, part industry showcase, it's paradise for anyone that loves ceramics.
This year, Turning Earth supporter Ali Tomlin is one of the exhibitors. We love her delicate colouring of porcelain. Akiko Hirai, another personal favourite, will also be there. Her pieces, like Delft paintings, somehow manage to bind the light. I'm also very much looking forward to seeing the lively little animals of sculptural artist, Charlotte Mary Pack, a Central St Martins graduate from 2013.
And there are talks and films too. One that might interest Turning Earth members is Javier Cuadros' Saturday morning talk on clay mineralogy and geochemistry. We hear he will be presenting a time trip "to the origin of Life and back, with a detour on Mars". Clayground Collective and London Potters are organising a foraging session by the Thames on Saturday morning, to coincide with the event, so you can learn about the development of ceramics and the history of London. Led by Thames archeologist, Mike Webber, it promises to be fascinating; the beach is apparently the biggest archaeological trench in the country, littered with pot shards.
Ceramic Art London has always been my favourite art event in this city (well, now apart from Turning Earth sales, of course!) Taken there for the first time in 2008, I fell in love with a large wall piece, a ceramic on mesh 'canvas' by the wonderful French artist Olivia Chague. Not having the guts or the cash to buy it at the time (in my mid-twenties and my first job), I ended up following her back to her atelier in the Alps that summer, where I had an unforgettable day seeing where she worked, in a pit in her garden in the warm sun. I realised that day that I really wanted to learn to make things in ceramics myself. And I also decided I wanted a career promoting other artists (I still feel that Olivia's work should be more widely known). I bought the piece, which cost me about 10 percent of my small graduate annual salary. It felt a bit foolish back then, especially as it waited patiently in storage in London for seven long years until I returned to the UK and had somewhere to put it. The piece is in my kitchen now, and reminds me every day of how much I love ceramics, and the journeys - physical and emotional - that I went through to get Turning Earth open. I imagine many journeys in this craft begin at Ceramic Art London.
If you haven't been before, then I strongly recommend you get your tickets here and go along. It's one of the most inspiring events in the city.
Ceramic Art London: Friday 8, Saturday 9, Sunday 10 April 2016
Venue: Central St Martins, Kings Cross
London Potters contact (for the shore walk): firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on other walks contact Clayground Collective.
Images (from top left): Bowl by Ali Tomlin, monkeys by Charlotte Mary Pack, tea bowls by Akiko Hirai, vase by Elke Sada, installation by Emily Gardin, bowl by Kyra Cane.