British Ceramics Biennial | Special Exhibitions and Clay Play Workshops

British Ceramics Biennial | Special Exhibitions and Clay Play Workshops

Saturday 23rd September - Sunday 5th November 2017

Free entrance to the Wedgwood Museum

World of Wedgwood is proud to be partnering with the BCB to bring you two special exhibitions from world renowned artists Neil Brownsword and Juree Kim and Central Saint Martins College Ceramic Design students.

Place and Practices | Neil Brownsword and Juree Kim

Place and Practices is a site orientated project where artists Neil Brownsword (UK) and Juree Kim (KR) present a cross-cultural response to themes of materiality, place and tradition. Both artists further their ongoing investigations into architectural heritage and the social and political histories of place and labour. The outcomes of this research constitute a major installation at the former Spode Factory, together with this intervention which draws upon themes and objects within the Wedgwood Museum’s historic collection.

FACTORY | Neil Brownsword

Throughout history ceramics have played an important role in the phenomenon of cultural transfer. For centuries China, Korea and Japan have influenced each other’s aesthetics, practices and technologies. Subsequent trade with the West, and the imitation and assimilation of Oriental styles in the late 17th and 18th centuries greatly influenced the development of new ceramic traditions in Europe.

During North Staffordshire’s early industrialisation, the artistic/technological advances that evolved out of this period of cultural borrowing, is of particular interest to Brownsword. Demand for objects that imitated expensive Chinese porcelains resulted in significant material innovations and new techniques that changed the organisation and structure of early factories. Perhaps the most important development was that of a local workforce becoming increasingly skill specialised through new divisions of labour. This surge in the sophistications of knowledge, honed and passed down from generation to generation, is exemplified in the collections of the Wedgwood Museum. In citing this early period of innovation, Brownsword juxtaposes industrial crafts that due to transitions in the ceramics industry in recent decades remain endangered. Working with former china flower maker Rita Floyd, Brownsword raises questions surrounding the preservation of marginalised skill as a valuable aspect of Britain’s intangible cultural heritage.

Evanescent Landscape: Terraced Houses | Juree Kim

By the mid 18th century, as archaeological discoveries were being excavated at the Roman cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii, Classical influence began to be absorbed into many aspects of design and architecture. Many manufacturers including Josiah Wedgwood satisfied the demand for these fashions, that were often influenced by romantic representations of the ruin and picturesque decay as a result of the Grand Tour.

Juree Kim revisits these historic themes through a contemporary lens, but her concerns are for less exotic architectural reference points. Pioneer industrialists such as Wedgwood, Spode and Minton were responsible for accommodating their workforce in purpose built housing, with the belief that ‘well-housed workers produced better work’. The rows of terraced houses linked intrinsically to the Middleport Pottery in Stoke-on-Trent, typify the style of houses built for pottery workers in the nineteenth century. Those which have not been demolished or modernised for residential purposes, are planned to be re-developed as a community-focused heritage centre. Through her response, Kim draws attention to the paradoxes of regeneration and the displacement of community through ‘urban cleansing’.

What Can Ceramics Do? | Central Saint Martins

Every year, second year BA Ceramic Design students engage in ‘The Client Project’ which sees five businesses or organisations working with small groups of students who act as a design consultancy.

Students were asked to explore the power of the ceramic material and its possibilities for social impact by working with five Charities or social enterprises.
As part of BCB 2017 this work will be exhibited in the Wedgwood Museum at World of Wedgwood.

As well as the two special exhibitions there will also be three Clay Play workshops on 1st October, 15th October and 24th October.

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