So wonders Eloise Kitson – doyenne of Masterworks Gallery, weary of fending off likely clients who are looking for interesting, handmade, functional tableware. Seems there is a new wind blowing and a new market opening where clients are seeking the original, the unique and the individual for their dinner party table and for everyday sparkle and enjoyment in use. Eloise does not want to turn any more away with just a ‘sorry, none around’.
So, to this end she has instituted a competition to see if there is some good new and fresh work out there that speaks confidently that it was conceived and made this century. So, no Cardew clones or Rie replicas; no point in rolling out those shino tea-bowls or a dish with that ubiquitous 4-3-2-1 limestone, unless you are doing something from the 21st century with them in which case – how very exciting that could be – history revisited and reconfigured! Anything is fair game – this is, after all, a post, post-modern era. Why not approach, not through what we know well but via changes in eating habits/diet in this new century? What or how do we eat now that we didn’t back in the 1960s for much work seen contemporarily manifests as if conceived and made then. But Eloise would be equally content with simply new form/surface for some familiar functions.
We have long concentrated upon the decorative piece – the largely non-functional vessel (but with elaborated surface in some way), the ‘sculpture’ (but really ‘object’ as most has little to do with what goes on in sculpture) – those dust-catching personal statements for which the average home has limited space. But tableware – there is almost always room for an extra serving platter in the cupboard, mug or teapot for the shelf, candelabra for the table centre or an extra bowl for holding lemons or red onions on the kitchen bench simply because they look great sitting there.
Eloise insists on utility and the contemporary in the hope this will stimulate fresh thinking and production in our field. There will be an exhibition in the front, most prominent space of her gallery and a prize. It happens early next year so you have time. She is sole arbiter and adds that if nothing much is entered all will be abandoned without a second thought as she doesn’t consider she should show second rate work as this would do nothing for the artists in her gallery stable.
Masterworks has taken a useful leadership role in recent times by instituting areas in the gallery such as their ThinkSpace and a vigorous exhibition programme. They put in much effort and constructive thought to keep things lively in the applied arts field.
This is a new venture and one worthy of consideration and support. We have rich histories in this area. It would be good to see them honoured by a positive response.
Look to their website for more information.