site visit to Spode

loss bench

Last week, I was back in Stoke-on-Trent, roaming amongst the pigeons, smashed plates, ghosts and artists that now occupy the vast complex that is the original Spode Factory and, come autumn, site of the 2013 British Ceramics Biennial.  It’s a fascinating, impressive wasteland, populated by migratory mountains of discarded knife handles or teapot lids; with each artist passing through and with each fox making its bed, Spode is still on the move.  It was good to return after last year’s pop-up show in the China Hall just to keep an eye on the place.

plates

various formsceilingsignkilnI liked this portrait of Stoke as a faded blank, but I like even more the remains of the kiln firing up shoots of fern.  

I was in Stoke to research the site for my Explore commission, awarded earlier this year by the British Ceramics Biennial.  It turned into an excellent, distressing dream of a day as I set about destroying my initial plans for my project, collecting tiny, shattered treasures and talking to ceramic artist Monika Patuszyńska, another of the Explore artists who was looking at water damage in the mould stores.

I also got to hear a little about the programme of this year’s festival.  I’ve only got a hurried list of names and events scribbled into my notebook, but even in this format it’s clear that it’s going to be a staggering show in Stoke this autumn.  Very excited to be a part of it.

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