A lunchtime tour of our Radical Clay exhibition by our applied art curator, Helen Brown.
Studio pottery is not just a load of brown pots! In the mid-20th century it was part of a movement against standardisation and mass production, aiming to reconnect people with traditional materials and celebrate the unique and authentic.
This was reflected in creative approaches to teaching, and the two came together in the form of a significant pottery collection run by Bristol & Avon Schools Loans Service. Lent out to local schools to inspire young minds, it was created to give children access to the very best. A few pieces even have cracks and chips to show for it.
The Radical Clay exhibition includes ceramics by radical potters, including Ruth Duckworth and Gillian Lowndes whose pioneering work in the late 1950s and early 1960s created a new language for ceramics.
Other work includes Bernard Leach and Michael Cardew from the first generation of studio potters as well as Lucy Rie and Hans Coper, both refugees whose timeless ceramics were highly acclaimed. The ceramic historian, Paul Rice, commenting on the collection in 2003 particularly noted the work by the women potters, Janet Leach, Ruth Duckworth and Gillian Lowndes as being of ‘national interest’ and often of ‘exceptional quality’.
Designed to fit around your lunch hour, our lunchtime talks explore a selection of treasures from our exhibitions and collections.