NEWS AND MISCELLANY, ODDS ‘N ENDS

Whanganui potter Ross Mitchell-Anyon has been in hospital following a 12metre fall from a ladder, on April 21st, while bringing the sprinkler system, in one of his heritage buildings in Whanganui, up to scratch . As you might imagine, the situation was serious. Ross was taken from Whanganui Hospital to Wellington Hospital the next day as he needed more specialised care and a ventilator. He is still there although moved now from ICU to a Neurological ward as he is now breathing unassisted.

Bobbi, his wife says ‘It’s going to be a long journey but he’s on the mend’. She continues, “He’s out of danger. He keeps trying to wake up and opening his eyes, but it’s extremely tiring and he goes back to sleep” She said he was going in and out of consciousness. “It’s a very exhausting time and he needs all his rest, which is so unlike him”.

However I have permission to post this now so that a wider range of the ceramic community can know the good news. He will soon be able to see cards etc so if you wish to post something to him please send it to the following address from which Bobbi will collect and read to him.

90 Mortimer Terrace, Brooklyn, 6021 Wellington. No flowers please – hospital rules.

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Those who know the Frank Lloyd Gallery in Bergamot Station in Santa Monica, Los Angeles will regret that it has just closed its doors there. Originally bought from Garth Clark when he moved to New York it was in La Brea Avenue near Melrose in West Hollywood but soon, under Frank Lloyd, moved to Bergamot Station, a walled in gathering of galleries and cafes and a museum – about 25 businesses in all, in Santa Monica. Not easy to get to without a car (little is in LA) but some of our more intrepid managed it. It was a gallery that, while not fully specialising in ceramics did show them regularly along with sculpture, paintings, prints and drawings. Frank Lloyd regularly wrote an interesting blog on his interviews and ruminations and occasionally produced high quality publications on his artists. There were usually Voulkos and Mason works in the stock room (he, like may galleries in USA also did re-sales of pre-owned works) as well as Ken Price, Adrian Saxe and Gustavo Perez and it was there I saw my first pieces from the Canadian, George Jeanclos and his poignant and powerful narrative works, often contemplations on death and dying, eliciting the fragility of life and made in undecorated, extremely thin, grey terra-cotta. I recall their effect on me still.

Lloyd has moved his base to Pasadena – even harder to get to but for the determined it can be found at, 131 North San Gabriel Boulevard, Pasadena, Ca91107. However it’s necessary to email or telephone because the exhibitions programme is largely dispensed with as he now works full-time on being the representative for the estates of Peter Voulkos and Craig Kauffmann. After being around the LA art scene for twenty years he’s pulling back.

However if you do get that far be sure to visit The Norton Simon Art Museum which is a privately endowed art museum that is strong on Impressionist paintings and early to mid-20th C work in particular, but plenty of other works including drawings by modern masters and in the very lovely grounds is a great selection of mostly mid-20thC sculpture including a number of works in clay by John Mason. However these are primarily sculpture rather than ceramics if you get my meaning.

That’s not to say there is no clay in LA. Not as rich in ceramics as New York is currently but LA galleries represent some of America’s hottest – Arlene Schechet and Kathy Butterly at Shoshanna Wayne and at Edward Cella is Adam Silverman and Brad Miller while L.A.Louver shows Richard Deacon’s ceramic works alongside his other sculpture. AMOCA (American Museum of Ceramic Art) will soon mount a 300 piece collection exhibition. Out in eastern suburban Pomona, AMOCA holds classes, gives lectures and generally acts as a social centre around ceramics. It’s not unlike any Society here except much bigger and with a lively exhibition programme – usually several at the same time – and a large collection of ceramics – American mostly, and strong on 50s/60s, but some international.

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London has long had a design week and a fashion festival and now it turns a spotlight on potters, glass blowers, textile artists, metalsmiths and an assortment of other artists and artisans during London Craft Week, May 6 to 10.

Craft exhibitions are to be held at luxury department stores including Fortnum and Mason, Fenwicks and Selfridges and at institutions such as The British Library.

The Victoria and Albert Museum and the Crafts Council is partnering for the exhibition, “What is Luxury?”, and the Council will present the headline event, Collect: The International Art Fair for Contemporary Objects. Collect is now in its 12th year and is currently held in the Saachi Gallery on The King’s Road in Chelsea. It showcases contemporary craft and object art from galleries across the world and is currently considered the most prestigious event for object art in Europe.

Among some of the non-traditional offerings for this year’s Craft Week is that attendees will have opportunity to visit the studio of designer and tattoo artist, Mo Coppoletta and another artisan, Vacheron Constantin will offer watchmaking demonstrations.

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The London Craft Week falls hard on the heels of the Ceramic Art London event at The Royal College of Art. This is a unique showcase for 80 contemporary studio ceramists from well-known and established makers through to newly emerging graduates from Royal College and artists from Europe, Japan and Korea. There is also an integrated series of talks, lectures, films and demonstrations to enhance understanding and enjoyment of studio ceramics. This includes lectures by theorists, Martina Margetts who considers how and why the language of ceramics in Britain has spread its influence around the world with a focus on contemporary practice. And Kyra Cane talking about the different ways potters and ceramicists use drawing to support and develop their work. Then talks by artists, Richard Slee, Kate Malone, Jean Nicolas Gerard, Sasha Wardell and Gareth Mason to mention just some and the films are by Goldmark Gallery that made the great one on Takeshi Yasuda that he showed us last year. This time they are on Korean traditional potter Lee Kang Hyo and Frenchman, Jean Nicolas Gerard.

As we know some folk who are attending these events we’ll await, with pleasurable anticipation, some news or report from this.

Then, on top of all that, next month, throughout the UK is Craft and Design Month with events across the country.

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All that interest has helped to propel the craft sector and its army of applied artists and small manufacturers into a position of some economic influence. Figures compiled last year by the Crafts Council showed there were 11,620 craft businesses in the UK, with 43,000 employees. Most startling of all, once the economic contribution of craft professionals working in non-craft industries was added, the overall value of craft skills to the British economy each year was £3.4bn. That’s a lot of corn dollies…..

“Craft”, it appears, is the new food, following the trend for artisan, hand-crafted food. The buzz term in brewing nowadays is not ‘real ale’, but ‘craft beer’.

Annie Warburton, the UK Crafts Council’s creative programme director, said: “At one level our lives are increasingly virtual. The return to making and working with our hands is in part a reaction to that. There’s also an increased awareness of provenance. People are aware of the ethics of where things come from and how they are produced. Then there is the sense of wellbeing that comes with making things yourself.” Hope some of that positivity rubs off here…

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Finally, now that Top Gear has bitten the dust and petrol heads with posh accents will no longer grace our screens, there is the enormously exciting news that the BBC has turned to pottery as its new competitive reality programme! There have been highly rated programmes on sewing and allotment gardens, others on best amateur hair stylist and a-cappella singing groups and the Great British Bake-off final apparently hit the top viewing spot. So the BBC has turned to pottery and will hold a competition series that pits learner throwers against one another. Looking for ‘Britain’s best budding potter’, there will be a six part series featuring 10 contestants and called The Great British Pottery Throw and we shall see, before our very eyes, ‘budding artists transform a lump of clay to glazed pottery’. Judges include Keith Brymer and Kate Malone.

Watch for it on a programme coming to you…

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Finally, a quote from Garth Clark….

Authoring a book is an exhausting, frustrating, hair-pulling and insanity inducing undertaking.

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1 Comment

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One response to “NEWS AND MISCELLANY, ODDS ‘N ENDS

  1. Philip Clarke

    thanks for this great digest of news Moyra

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