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Article

Andrew Weiner

(b Beirut, 1925).

Lebanese painter and writer active in the USA. Daughter of a Greek Christian mother and a Syrian Muslim father, Adnan was educated in Lebanon before going on to study philosophy at the Sorbonne, Harvard, and the University of California, Berkeley. For many years she taught aesthetics at Dominican College, San Rafael, CA; she also lectured and taught at many other colleges and universities. During the 1970s Adnan regularly contributed editorials, essays, and cultural criticism to the Beirut-based publications Al-Safa and L’Orient-Le Jour. In 1978 she published the novel Sitt Marie Rose, which won considerable acclaim for its critical portrayal of cultural and social politics during the early years of the Lebanese Civil War. Adnan published numerous books of poetry, originating in her opposition to the American war in Vietnam and proceeding to encompass topics as diverse as the landscape of Northern California and the geopolitics of the Middle East. Her poetry served as the basis for numerous works of theater and contemporary classical music....

Article

Lisa M. Binder

(b Anyako, Ghana, June 13, 1944).

Ghanaian sculptor, active in Nigeria. He earned a bachelor’s degree in sculpture (1968) and a postgraduate diploma in art education from the University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana (1969). After graduation he taught at the Specialist Training College (now University of Winneba), Ghana, in a position vacated by the eminent sculptor Vincent Kofi. From 1975 he was Professor of Sculpture at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Anatsui’s practice often makes use of found objects including bottle caps, milk-tins and cassava graters. However, he is not concerned with recycling or salvaging; instead he seeks meaning in the ways materials can be transformed to make statements about history, culture and memory.

His early work consists of ceramic sculptures manipulated to reconfigure pieces of memory. In 1978 he began his Broken Pots series, which was exhibited the following year at the British Council in Enugu, Nigeria. Several of the ceramic works were made of sherds that were fused together by a grog-like cement of broken pieces. Making art historical references to ...

Article

Gordon Campbell

German porcelain factory founded in 1887 in the Bavarian city of Arzberg. The factory’s most famous design is a set of tableware known as ‘Form 1382’, which was designed by Hermann Gretsch (1895–1950) and has been sold since 1931. In August 2000 the company merged with three smaller manufacturers to become SKV-ARZBERG-Porzellan GmbH, which since ...

Article

(b Harrow, Middx, May 4, 1948).

English potter. After a foundation year at Leeds College of Art (1966–7), she studied ceramics at the Central School of Art, London (1967–70), and then at the Royal College of Art (1970–73) under Hans Coper. She is well known as a teacher and writer as well as a potter. She began her career decorating tiles. Her first solo exhibition was at the Amalgam Gallery, London, in 1976. In 1979 the Crafts Council, London, held an important show of her colourfully glazed and painted jugs, decorated with naive, figural motifs. The jugs gained her fast recognition and with hindsight were regarded as a breakthrough for British ceramics. She hand-built her pieces from slabs of earthenware that were rolled flat, painted and then cut and used to construct asymmetrical vessels. The early naive motifs of 1976 to 1979 (jugs, 1978; London, V&A) gave way in the 1980s to abstract patterns, and her forms became tougher and more complex (green vessels set, ...

Article

Margaret Moore Booker

(b Cow Springs, AZ, March 21, 1946).

Native American potter. The daughter of famed Navajo potter Rose Williams, Cling broke with tradition by creating highly polished, red-hued decorative ware in a contemporary style that ushered in a new generation of Navajo art potters (including her two sisters).

After graduating from the Intermountain Indian School in Brigham City, UT, she married Jerry Cling and worked as a teacher’s aide at the Shonto Boarding School. Initially learning to pot from her mother while a young girl, she became interested in the craft in the 1970s and over time developed an innovative style that reflected her own individual vision.

Cling used the traditional method of coiling and pinching clay into the desired form, then sanded, polished and coated her pottery with piñon pitch. She worked in the small communal room of her home in the Shonto-Cow Springs region of Arizona, watched by her mother, who lived across the highway. Her pots were fired outdoors in an open pit with juniper wood (and sometimes sheep manure) for fuel....

Article

(b Whitchurch, Salop, Sept 11, 1940).

Welsh potter. She studied harp and piano at the Royal Academy of Music, London (1958–64), but inclined towards the plastic arts and in 1968 took a three-year course at the Royal College of Art, under Hans Coper. She worked at the Bing & Grøndahl factory (now merged with the Royal Porcelain Factory), Copenhagen (1972–3). The Crafts Advisory Council/British Council, London, organized her first solo exhibition in 1974 since when her work has been shown extensively in Britain, Europe and Japan. Her stoneware, earthenware and porcelain pots are coil built, then scraped and smoothed and painted with softly coloured slip in geometric designs inspired by musical rhythms and notation (‘Saxophone and Piano Duo’, 1978; London, V&A) and influenced by Pre-Columbian and African art. Although her pots are vessels, they are not functional. Early pots were designed to be picked up and held in the hand; more recent ones are meant to be viewed from one or two angles like abstract still-lifes. (For an example of her stoneware pots....

Article

Joanna Grabski

(b St Louis, February 6, 1953).

Senegalese glass painter, potter and teacher. She earned an MA in literature at the Université Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar (1980), then graduated from the Ecole Normale Supérieure d'Education Artistique (1983). Her early work in both literature and fine arts dealt with the social role of women in colonial Senegal. In the 1980s and 1990s, she worked primarily with glass painting or sous verre, a medium with a long history in Senegal. Her work advances well-known conventional glass paintings that depict colorful quotidian and religious scenes. She works with a palette of intense hues, applying them across the glass support so as to maximize the expressive potential of the medium. Although she created figural works in the 1980s, her work in the 1990s became increasingly abstract. Her glass paintings, such as Nature (1998; priv. col.), are characterized by their luminescence and large scale. In addition to exhibiting her work in Africa and Europe, she has been involved in a number of educational and humanitarian projects. Her achievements have been recognized by two prestigious awards from the government of Senegal, including the Chevalièr de l’Ordre du Mérite (...

Article

Gordon Campbell

French pottery factory. In 1821 a pottery was founded in Gien (Loiret) by an Englishman, Thomas Hall. The factory produced simply-decorated creamware, mostly functional tableware. The product lines expanded to included formal dinnerware and display pottery, and in the 1860s began to produce more highly decorated pottery, using lustres and flambé glazes. The factory is still producing high-quality earthenware...

Article

Elizabeth Collard

(b Vancouver, Nov 14, 1943).

Canadian potter. He studied at the Alberta College of Art, Calgary (1964–9). He initially worked in stoneware making utilitarian wares but in 1975 began devoting himself exclusively to the production of individual porcelain items and was one of the first 20th-century Canadian potters to make porcelain his prime medium. Profoundly interested in the oriental tradition, particularly porcelain of the Song dynasty, he searched for self-expression within this aesthetic. His works have such glazes as celadon and temmoku and such motifs as the iris, sometimes used in three-dimensional form on vases, and are marked by technical and aesthetic standards that limit output. Examples of his work were shown in the Canadian pavilion at the Expo ’70 World Fair in Osaka, Japan. In 1972 he taught at the University of Calgary and subsequently at selected workshops. The numerous Canadian awards he has received commend not only his own work but equally his influence in the craft community of Canada. Examples of his work are in the Glenbow–Alberta Institute, Calgary, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Royal Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh....

Article

G. Lola Worthington

(b Santa Clara Pueblo, NM, Jan 26, 1932).

Native American (Santa Clara Pueblo) potter. A renowned potter and member of the Tafoya family, his father, Camilio Sunflower Tafoya, revived ancestral traditional pottery forms and techniques and his sister, Grace Medicine Flower, was also a successful potter. Camilio produced Santa Clara’s first carved black and brick red pots characteristic of Mimbres pottery. Of his Pueblo upbringing, LoneWolf recalled, “We’d sit in the evenings and do beadwork, drawing, painting, clay modeling, woodworking, costume repairing … while our grandparents told us the old legend and stories.”

LoneWolf was a precision mining equipment machinist until 1971 when a back injury forced him to retire. The job provided him with an awareness of natural Colorado clays, which when heated or fired produce different colors and various effects from the local imbedded metals and chemicals. After his accident, he turned to pottery for a new career that coincided with his family’s pottery revival....

Article

G. Lola Worthington

(b Santa Clara Pueblo, NM, 1938).

Native American (Santa Clara Pueblo) potter. Her father Camilio Sunflower Tafoya, mother Agapita and aunt Margaret Tafoya revived ancestral pottery techniques characteristic of Mimbres pottery. Furthermore, they fabricated superior black and brick red carved-incised pottery forms. A member of the renowned Tafoya family, she, along with her father and brother, Joseph LoneWolf, further revived and expanded pottery forms and techniques in Santa Clara.

Surrounded by celebrated and respected potters, she began making traditional pottery. In the late 1960s, along with her brother Joseph, she began etching designs directly onto the clay using a Sgraffito method. Grace’s work, elegant and aesthetically ingenious, transforms pottery into phenomenal and celebrated showpieces.

Many steps are involved in creating her wares from locally obtained clay. Innovative combined techniques of polished polychrome clay with incised sgraffito produce spectacular creative objects. Coil built, dried, hand polished to a smooth finish with stone or painted with clay slips, she will often add additional color to the body. The contrast of matte clay against polished surface juxtaposes intricately layered designs with negative spaces. After the slip completely dries, she carves fine-line storytelling illustrations into the greenware clay. Polished steel cutting tools produce the very precise and painstaking ...

Article

Marla C. Berns

(Anyango Namakhiya)

(b Nairobi, May 5, 1950).

British ceramist of Kenyan birth. Odundo built an international reputation on the creation of rigorously beautiful and conceptually resonant vessel forms. She moved from Kenya to England in 1971 to continue her education, receiving her BA in 1976 from the West Surrey College of Art and Design and an MA in 1982 from the Royal College of Art in London. In 2001 she became professor of ceramics at the Surrey Institute of Art and Design (from 2005 the University for the Creative Arts, Surrey and Kent). Distinctive to her process is the use of millennia-old techniques of hand-coiling she learnt from rural women potters in Nigeria in the early 1970s. While the meticulous working of clay is pivotal to her vessels’ graceful shapes and harmonious balance, it is through the finishing and firing that they are ultimately transformed. They are fired one or more times in a kiln, first in a purely oxidizing environment to turn them a lustrous red–orange, and then again, if desired, in a reducing atmosphere to turn them a rich charcoal-black. The variations in the surface of the latter examples can be dazzling, especially the shimmering explosions of iridescence resulting from accidents in the firing process (...

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b Chelmsford, Essex, March 24, 1960).

English ceramicist, embroiderer and film maker. He studied at the Braintree College of Further Education (1978–9), and at Portsmouth Polytechnic (1979–82). He was included in the New Contemporaries exhibition at the ICA, London, in 1981 and 1982, and later exhibited regularly both in Britain and abroad; his first solo exhibitions took place in 1984. Perry’s ceramic work mixes obscene and genteel imagery in a naive, awkward style; his pots sport ‘rude confessions’ that glorify what Perry describes as ‘the ugly, the twee and the suburban’ (see Jar with Rude Words). His choice of ceramic as a ‘feminine’ medium was strongly influenced by his identification with feminity and transvestism—he often appears at his openings as Claire Perry—suggesting a concern with self-image and the status of pottery within the contemporary art world. Many of his pots have a critical edge focused on the vanities of the art world, as in ...

Article

Laura E. Leaper

(b Santa Barbara de Tutuaca, May 6, 1940).

Mexican ceramicist. Quezada is credited with reviving the Mesoamerican polychrome pottery of the Casas Grandes tradition. Quezada observed the techniques, styles and materials of Casas Grandes potsherds in the fields surrounding his small village of Mata Ortiz, near the ancient ruins of Paquimé in Chihuahua, Mexico. After mastering the technology to replicate these ceramic objects, Quezada not only revived the ancient art form of his ancestors, but also helped to train a generation of potters, including his brother Reynaldo. The Mata Ortiz school stands out among imitators of Casas Grandes ware in both its craftsmanship and design.

As a young child Quezada showed extraordinary artistic and inventive talent. He left school at the age of 12 to begin work, harvesting goods to sell at market. In the mountains where he gathered fruits and nuts for sale, he began finding ancient potsherds. At the age of 16, after observing and collecting hundreds of pieces of pottery, he decided to try to make his own and he was eventually able to quit his job and become a potter full-time....

Article

Erin-Moira West

(b Cabo Delgado, 1954).

Mozambican sculptor and potter. She was trained as a potter by the women in her family. When she began to include female figurative elements atop her vessels she transgressed established gender divisions, which may have led to her relocation to Maputo. Her work is decorated with the same incised patterns seen on ceramic containers, the same as those applied to bodies during initiation processes. Based in Makonde beliefs, practices and stories, her pieces are often playful and humorous but also convey a strong sense of cultural belonging and pride. She speaks only Makonde as a political statement against colonialism. Her work has been exhibited in Mozambique, England, Spain and in the first Johannesburg Biennale, in ...

Article

(b Rugby, Warwicks, April 5, 1942).

English ceramicist. She trained at the Harrow Studio Pottery Course (1969–71). In 1971 she established a workshop in Peckham, London, where she produced a range of plain-coloured, hand-thrown domestic stoneware. Her characteristic colourful and exuberant style was formed after travels in the mid-1970s to Russia and the Middle East, where she was influenced by the vivid decoration of local ceramics and textiles. From 1979 she used freehand trailed coloured glazes to decorate bold, press-moulded or hand-thrown pieces. From 1984 she was chief designer for the Dartington Pottery, where she designed their highly successful range of domestic ware (e.g. stoneware plate, 1988; London, V&A).

Tchalenko was also commissioned to design a range for Next Interiors and to produce limited editions of pots for the Designers’ Guild, London. Collaborations with other artists include Clous-Non clous (exh. V&A Crafts Council shop, 1990) with the sculptor Richard Wentworth (b 1947...

Article

Kimberley Chandler

(b Ipswich, Dec 19, 1968).

English ceramic artist, researcher, and curator. Twomey studied ceramics at Edinburgh College of Art (1991–4) before going on to do an MA in Ceramics and Glass at the Royal College of Art, London (1994–6). In 2011 she became an AHRC Research Fellow at the University of Westminster, London. Twomey is a leading figure in the applied arts; along with ceramists such as Edmund de Waal and Keith Harrison, she is an advocate for craft as commensurable in significance to the wider visual arts. Her practice can be understood as ‘post-studio ceramics’, as her work engages with clay, yet often at a critical distance. Twomey’s work negotiates the realms of performance, serial production, and transience, and often involves site-specific installations. She is especially concerned with the affective relations that bind people and things, and how objects can enable a dialogue with the viewer (‘it is about an articulated use of the constructs that surround clay materials’; see ...

Article

Klaus Ottmann

( Panagiotis Harry )

(b Bozeman, MT, Jan 29, 1924; d Bowling Green, OH, Feb 16, 2002).

American ceramic artist, known for his experimental clay sculptures. The third of five children of Greek immigrants, Voulkos studied painting and printmaking on the GI Bill in the late 1940s at Montana State College, Bozeman and ceramics at the California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland. One of the first artists to pioneer ceramics as an autonomous art form, his original clay works inspired a new ceramic movement in America. He is considered a pivotal force behind the so-called American “clay revolution” that begun in the 1950s. In 1953, while teaching a summer workshop at Black Mountain College in Asheville, NC, he met many East Coast avant-garde artists and writers, such as Robert Rauschenberg, John Cage and Charles Olsen, and afterward, in New York, De Kooning family §(1), Philip Guston and Franz Kline . Returning to California, he began to apply the Abstract Expressionist gestural energy of Jackson Pollock and de Kooning and the improvisational structure of jazz music to clay, combined with the Japanese practice of pottery and its Zen-like stillness, simplicity and acceptance of imperfections. Pollock once described Voulkos’s art as “energy made visible.”...

Article

A. E. Duffey

(b Bournemouth, Dec 4, 1942).

South African potter of English birth. He moved to South Africa with his parents in 1947 and trained as a commercial artist at the Durban Art School. After a six-month sculpture course he started a pottery apprenticeship at the Walsh Marais Studio in Durban and continued his training with Sammy Liebermann (1920–84) in Johannesburg. In 1961 he took over the Walsh Marais Studio, but in 1964 he closed it and travelled to Europe, where he met such leading potters as Lucie Rie, Bernard Leach and Michael Cardew. He was invited to work at the Gustavberg factory near Stockholm and later went to Germany, where he started a pottery studio and signed a year’s contract to teach at the art academy in Hamburg. In 1967 he returned to South Africa and in 1968 established a studio at N’Shongweni in Natal. In 1969 he visited Japan and befriended Shōji Hamada, who strongly influenced him. Walford produced mainly functional but individual pieces....