Festival: British Ceramics Biennial, various venues, Stoke-on-Trent, September 30 - November 13 2011
© Stephen Dixon
Stoke-on-Trent is known worldwide as the home of UK pottery, and the British Ceramics Biennial will celebrate that legacy with a six-week festival of the very best in contemporary ceramics this autumn, highlighting the region’s industrial and architectural heritage.
The former Spode Pottery Factory, which dates back to 1767, will be the creative hub of the 2011 festival, with a mass of exhibitions and installations.
Further shows, including work by international artists Tony Cragg, Hella Jongerus and Anne Ausioos, will take place in venues across the city, including the European Ceramics Work Centre and Gladstone Pottery Museum.
BCB co-director, Barney Hare Duke said: “We are delighted to present the second Biennial for Stoke, which we’re confident will fascinate and excite new audiences as well as revealing the potential of the city as a centre for innovation.”
One of the key focuses of the festival is the opportunity for one UK-based ceramics artist to win a £10,000 prize at Award on 21 October.
The prize was open to any professional clay crafter, and the 28 finalists will have their work exhibited at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery.
The judging panel will include legendary potters Alison Britton OBE and Emmanuel Cooper OBE, with all the nominees at the cutting edge of ceramics.
New artists will also get to showcase their work as part of Fresh at the BCB Exhibition Space in the former Spode site.
© Aimee Lax
The exhibition features work from 40 recent graduates including studio pottery, tableware & industrial design, and figurative & abstract sculpture.
Fresh will also highlight the Crafts Council’s ‘Firing Up’ project by giving visitors the opportunity to see pieces crafted in secondary school ceramics classes.
At the other end of the spectrum, acclaimed Stoke-based artist, Phil Eglin, will exhibit his latest work, made from the discarded ceramic moulds at Spode.
Mould Store is part of the Artists into Heritage programme, and Eglin’s work will allow visitors to explore the historic ten-acre site.