Saturday, April 25, 2015

Pots on a sunny day

We are fortunate to have an excellent couple of galleries nearby, showing high quality work.  The Craft Study Centre in Farnham is the University Museum of Modern Crafts attached to the University for the Creative Arts.  At present in their temporary exhibitions gallery is a show curated by the director Simon Oldfield with Magdalene Odundo the potter and professor of ceramics at the university.
I have long been a great fan of Odundo's work (image above from here).  She acknowledges the influence of Ladi Kwali whose work is on exhibition at present.
It's the hand built pots which spoke loudest to me, pulling me towards them, wanting to hug the warm shapes with their beautifully elegant scraffito decoration.  (image above from here, image below from here)
I find something visceral about hand built ceramics in traditional round shapes like this.  In today's Guardian newspaper there is an interesting article by the writer Orhan Pamuk about having wanted to be a painter, and how he visited Anselm Kiefer who had wanted to be a writer.  Two means of expression which attract my imagination are tapestry weaving and pottery - especially using coil and pinch hand built technique.  When I saw Ladi Kwali's pots this morning I had that longing feeling again.  Here is a vimeo of Ladi Kwali at work.
And to complement the pots perfectly, seen behind them through the transparent display window, hanging on a long wall a beautiful printed textile made by Zimbabwean artist Babette Fitzgerald, part of the Craft Study Centre collection. The image of the cloth does not show the detail,
so here is a close-up of another similar piece (from here), showing the similar scratch-design style.


  1. I like the first pot. The textiles are divine.

  2. The large hanging was creating a wonderful conversation with the exhibited pots - which unfortunately did not include any of Magdalene Odundo's work.

  3. I love the contrast between the Odundo's smooth, exquisitely crafted pot and the lively, hand built pots of Ladi Kwali with their generous shapes - fascinating that Magdelene Odundo should acknowledge the influence of Kwali's work on her own ...and thank you for the introduction to both. At a previous time in my life, I threw many pots and still have a longing for it but now it is not practical.

  4. I have long wished that we had parallel lives! I too made a few pots many years ago, but as you say, practicality pushes some options out of sight. I count myself lucky that I do have another satisfying way of engaging my creativity.