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  • Pot, Hans Coper, 1975. Crafts Council Collection (P41)

Pot by Hans Coper

Chosen by Julia Weiner, Guest Curator at the Jewish Museum London

We ask makers, curators, designers, creative practitioners and the Crafts Council team to select their favourite object from the Crafts Council Collection and to tell us why.

I love the fact that it draws on so many influences, recalling a prehistoric flint arrowhead, the neck and shoulders of an ancient figurine but also the bird-like sculptures of renowned modernist sculptor Constantin Brancusi.

This pot features in the exhibition Shaping Ceramics: Lucie Rie to Edmund de Waal at the Jewish Museum London, curated by Julia Weiner and Agi Katz. The exhibition explores the contribution made by émigré potters of Jewish heritage to the British art scene. Hans Coper (1920-1981) was born in Germany but in 1936, his Jewish father committed suicide in an effort to make things less difficult for his family. Coper fled Germany in 1939.

In 1946, despite having no previous experience, he became Lucie Rie's studio assistant, working alongside her for 12 years before setting up his own pottery.  Rie was well aware of the talent of her young protégé, commenting 'I am a potter but he was an artist'.  Whilst many have commented on the sculptural qualities of Coper’s work, he referred to himself as a potter and this work, which at first sight seems to be a sculpture, is described as a pot, has a small cavity and has been made waterproof.

It was relatively complex to make, the main body of the pot joined to the ceramic base after firing by running a short metal pin up through the body from the base.   The matt black surface is the result of a manganese glaze and lots of burnishing and shows off the form to perfection.  

Pot is part of Shaping Ceramics: Lucie Rie to Edmund de Waal which will be showing at the Jewish Museum London, from 10 November 2016 to 26 February 2017

View this object in the Collections Online