First visit to the New Ceramics Gallery – V&A

Eventually I arrived on the 6th floor of the V&A to see the Ceramics. Its not easy to find… I’d made my way up to the 4th floor to discover the lift doesn’t go any higher! So down I went, back to the Informatin Desk to get a different lift up to the lofty 6th floor!

Worth the trip, although I did wonder how many people actually make it there…

Greeted my floor to ceiling glass shelves snaking all round a long room filled from above your head to your feet with every type and design of polite tea set and vase you could imagine:

The Contemporary Gallery was impressive and displayed the vibrancy of the ceramic world, if a little briefly. The architecture and well chosen black walls dramatising the work yet again. Edmund De Wall’s installation hung beautifully above the domed cornice above a circular display of a variety of other artists’ pieces.

 

Ken Eastman (‘November Night’ pictured below) and Martin Smith are old favourites:

I kept my pace and found what I’d expect in the Factory Ceramics Room and the Studio Ceramics Gallery. The interpretation a little hard work in it’s small font to seek out. Especially as most visitors may require these labels to make sense of the mass of china surrounding them.

A long room walks us through all the processes involved in making ceramic pieces right from the locations of raw materials. Lucie Rie’s studio and the video of her making a pot whilst talking with David Attenborough was exceptionally good I thought.

I noticed the beautiful assortment of Emmanuel Cooper’s glaze samples. They look fab Steve! Even if you didn’t enjoy mixing all those recipes and glazing all those tiles to be photographed fthe glaze recipe book.


I happily encountered the Architectural Ceramics Gallery, so often over looked with our preoccupation with tea cups and preconceived notions of domestic ceramics. A broad collection of ceramics here, tiles next to giant decorated wood burners. I felt quit let down however, in how little the UKs contribution was mentioned. Fair enough display collections from around the world, as we can walk into the London streets to see UK examples, but I do feel the prevalence of UK architectural ceramics should have been hi lighted. Perhaps a suggested tour around London to experience the best architectural terracotta first hand…? I feel a project coming on!

And that was just Friday!
Saturday provided wonderful chats with an old friend, in which we found our paths have collided once again and collaborations shine bright for the future. I can’t wait to tell you about the 100,000,000 Sunflower Seeds in the Tate’s Turbine Hall, but you’ll have to wait til my next post to hear about that….

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