Ceramics in Weymouth for Dorset Art Weeks


Alchemy is such a wonderful word with so many connotations but none better than when applied to the magical process of converting an unpromising piece of clammy clay into an object of desire.  David Walker’s elegant raku pots emerge from the bed of sawdust into which they are plunged, hot from the kiln, and  as the pieces of glaze fall away they are revealed in all their stunning smokey beauty.  The resist which he uses allows him to make what are essentially unglazed pots from biscuit fired vessels so that the dramatic graphic lines demand much more attention than on a conventionally  glazed raku pot.  Walker’s sculptural forms create a nice counterpoint to the three-dimensional quality of Jan Walker’s acrylic paintings of the Jurassic coast exhibited in the same location..

I was definitely seeing the world in 3D this morning since my next visit was to Caroline Sharp who makes organic forms in willow and dogwood amongst other materials and recently installed a piece in the grounds of Arts University College Bournemouth following a residency there.  She had drawings too using charcoal.  She spent some time with charcoal burner John Calder and has made a series of drawings in response to observing the firing.  She showed me a box,  a wonderfully battered old whiskey tin in which her own pieces of willow were fired and are now burnt and bent; lovely objects in their own right.

My next visit was to the Gallery on the Wey opened eighteen months ago by Gee and Paul Sutton.  A cornucopia of lovely objects ranging from wacky jewelery to screen-printed cushions, paintings by Margaret Lawton and Antonia Phillips.   Lots of ceramics on show here, from Pippa Hill animals to more functional teapots and mugs.

Just along from the gallery Upwey potters have their usual slot in the village hall.  Some charmingly wonky coffee pots make an appearance on Irene Passmore’s new tiles for the kitchen and Pat March has been making what she calls ‘future fossils’ in pots based on her observations of the rusty residues of a workshop which had fallen into the sea near Lyme.  Bill Crumbleholme was busy working into the surfaces of beautifully thrown bowls which had been fired with shells pressed into them.  The workshops are open with working kilns and other members of the Upwey potters busy at work.

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