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  • Work by Yuta Segawa. Photo courtesy Craft Potters Association

Ceramic Art London: makers go digital to beat the coronavirus closure

We spotlight some of the highlights

Ceramic Art London, the biggest event in the UK’s ceramics calendar, was due to open today – until the coronavirus took hold. Thankfully makers are a resourceful bunch, so many have now launched their collections online instead. To help give their work the airing it deserves this weekend, we're spotlighting a handful of highlights from the 110 makers that were due to exhibit at the fair. You can discover more on the hashtags #virtualCAL, #virtualCAL2020 and #instaCAL before CAL launches its own digital showcase.

Chloƫ Dowds, dyed thrown porcelain with inlay. Photo courtesy the artist

Chloë Dowds

‘As artists, we are "self isolating" for most of the year! So it's always wonderful to get out and do a show, get feedback and meet with old friends and new,’ says Dowds. To counteract the coronavirus closure, she has turned to her online community for support – and is offering her meticulously crafted vessels on her website instead. Created from her studio on the east coast of Ireland in County Wicklow, each is hand-thrown using dyed porcelain then turned and polished.

Adam Frew, porcelain mug. Photo courtesy the artist

Adam Frew

‘I’m interested in contrasts; sharp lines, crayon scribbles, brush marks, sponged back sections,’ says Adam Frew. ‘It is this ongoing investigation that invigorates my making.’ The potter, who is based in rural Northern Ireland, now has a spring-like selection of porcelain pots available online: mugs, cups and round vessels decorated with his signature blue-green celadon glaze. 

Lucas Ferreira, White & Blue Stream, 2020. Photo courtesy the artist

Lucas Ferreira

Each of Lucas Ferreira’s wall-based works is made from hundreds of porcelain pieces, creating abstract art in a cool palette of blues and whites. ‘I like to think of my handcrafted fragments as building blocks,’ the Brazilian-born ceramic artist comments. Lucas responded to CAL’s closure by simply moving his stand online: ‘I’ve created an online store with all the artworks I intended to exhibit at the fair.’

Verity Howard, monoprinted black clay. Photo courtesy the artist

Verity Howard

‘My thoughts go out to everyone involved who has been working so hard in preparation for the event’, says ceramic artist Verity Howard. ‘I hope to be back next year!’ The Crafts Council's Hothouse alumna uses black clay as a sculptural surface for monoprinting, using materials such as chicken wire and netting to make marks. These pieces are now on offer via her Instagram.

Yuta Segawa, a selection of miniature pots. Photo courtesy the artist

Yuta Segawa

Japanese potter and CAL favourite Yuta Segawa is best known for his kaleidoscopic displays of tiny pots – some as small a sugarcube. ‘Physical exhibitions are difficult in this situation,’ he says, ‘so I am going to upload 500 pieces I made for this exhibition on my website.’ For this year’s fair, Yuta collaborated with ceramic artist Miyu Kurihara, who hand-painted his work to create miniature masterpieces inspired by Japanese kimono design and ancient Asian art. Find them on sale now in Miyu’s online shop.

Deniol Williams, woodfired stoneware pots with rock inclusions. Photo courtesy the artist

Deiniol Williams

This Yorkshire potter pushes his pots to the limit: throwing clay dotted with rocks gathered from the Welsh valleys and Yorkshire moors that, when fired, crack and distort each piece. Deiniol Williams’ cups, bottles and platters are glazed using the ash from local trees, then fired in a wood-fired kiln. He says: ‘It's going to be a tough year for makers, so any support will be greatly appreciated. Stay safe, look out for others, and be kind.’ Find his work on sale now at his webshop.

Jin Eui Kim, OPject - Spherical form 09, 2020. Photo courtesy the artist

Jin Eui Kim

Making the shift from physical to digital is hardest for those who have previously stayed IRL only. For Japanese ceramic artist Jin Eui Kim, this online exhibition is his first. Twenty new works, previously destined for CAL, are now on Etsy: sculptural vessels with eye-popping tonal bands that create optical illusions. ‘Thank you so much for supporting me,’ he comments. ‘From next week, I will focus on developing work. Ideas on the sketchbook will be coming out in real life.’

Read more: Support for makers during the coronavirus lockdown

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