Monday, 19 June 2017

Curator's View July 2017

The Bevere Gallery Featured Maker programme gives us the opportunity each month to enhance an already high quality range of studio ceramics. Someone recently asked me how we choose the makers we show here. In truth, we have to have an emotional response to the work. Whilst quality and individuality is important, It is the impact on the senses that registers most and hopefully we will have struck the right chords with this months makers.

The maker here for the first time this month is Justine Allison. She is clear that her work addresses the boundaries between function and decoration; looking at objects that are used on a daily basis, like the form of a jug, and creating pieces that move away from function and are more concerned with the aesthetic and the visual. She works in porcelain and the luminescence that the material brings to her work adds to its attractive qualities.

The last time Rowena Brown showed her extraordinary groups of ceramic houses they were sold out. They have great character and an atmosphere that is derived from their colours and texture. She raku fires her pieces and this gives them much of the distinctiveness that they display, as well as adding to the presence of her pieces. I believe that the appeal of her work is not just the originality,  but the response we  all have to the man-made landscape.

Craig Underhill has been showing his abstract expressionist pots at Bevere for many years. We are pleased that we will be having a group of his latest pieces and for the first time a number of his paintings. Craig will also be the focus of our Makers Lunch this month and I am delighted that we will have the opportunity to explore his approach to making as well as his influences and what sparks his creativity. Do book a place at the lunch which is being held on Friday 30 June, as they are invariably stimulating and enjoyable events.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Curator's Comments on June in the Gallery

The gallery philosophy of contrast and diversity in ceramics is evident in this month's three featured makers – indeed more so than most. Each of thse ceramicists brings a refreshingly different perspective to the clay object as a work of art. I do not want to get into the art /craft debate but there is little doubt in my mind that it is artistic creativity underpinned by high level craft skills that is the measure of quality.

The maker new to Bevere this month is Midori Takaki.
Born and raised in Japan but currently living in Canterbury,  Midori's work is clearly Japanese in influence with a strong emphasis on the figurative with  the shades of folklore and legend. She had aspirations to be a writer from a very young age and now sees ceramics as a vehicle for telling the many stories running through a vivid imagination. Above all else, this work will make you smile. We have always welcomed Japanese makers into Bevere as they bring such different cultural perspectives.

Martin McWilliam has shown at

Bevere on several occasions and he is another who always surprises with the inventiveness of his work and his use of texture, contrasting clays and found pieces. Exploration is a key word here. His pieces often have a strong archaeological feel as some of them manifest objects found within the clay.  Trompe l'oeil has been a feature of his ceramics for a number of years and his large and small 'vessels' always excite interest.

Debbie Barber is here again.
She will also be with us in person as she will be at the Maker's Lunch planned for 2nd June – do try to get a ticket if you would like to talk with her about her work. We anticipate once more being enchanted by her beautifully hand decorated raku vessels. She has such a good eye and deft  artistry. Many people find it difficult to appreciate that every pot is hand painted and personally I never cease to admire the surety which is demonstrated by her imaginative and elegant decoration.

So there we are;  another group of makers who demonstrate so well why we believe in the power of studio ceramics to bring light and joy into our lives.

Stuart Dickens
Ceramic Curator

Monday, 5 June 2017


It was a real pleasure to have Debbie Barber join us for this months Makers Lunch not only because her fine raku work is widely admired, but because I have been an enthusiast since first seeing her work about three years ago. She was delighted to be back at Bevere again and to be featured along with Midori Takaki and Martin McWilliam.

During the time spent in the gallery before lunch, Debbie explained the process of 'naked raku' and how her extraordinary decorative technique was developed. Her original work in textiles was evident in the patterning and her love of medeival design. What is important however is that all her designs are deftly transcribed in the making process.

Debbie's creative drive will always ensure that her approach to making will develop over time and she is currently beginning to experiment with the use of a wider colour palette. It was generally agreed that the dilemma for all makers with a distinctive voice is that change in a sense runs counter to the very reason why their work is so popular. However, it is  nevertheless that creative spirit and necessity will prevail and alternate series of work will be developed.

Debbie has robust quality control. She has to feel very positive about a piece before it is allowed on the market. This was evident  given the comments about the tactility, shape and burnished finish of each pot. What emerged very clearly was that the pot was the 'canvas' for Debbie's expression of ideas around pattern and decoration. At the moment she felt that she had taken the naked raku technique about as far as she could..

Once again the Makers Lunch was a memorable experience and one that combined learning more about individual making and creativity with eating excellent food over a leisurely lunch– what could be better!
Stuart Dickens
Ceramic Curator
4 June 2017
 for more details and to JOIN US Tel 01905 754484

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Maker's Lunch with DEBBIE BARBER- Friday 2nd JUNE 2017

Debbie Barber is one of our featured makers for June, and we are delighted that she has agreed to visit the gallery to discuss her new body of work and chat over lunch.

Debbie is a ceramic artist who specialises in raku and smoke fired ceramics and works from her home studio in rural Leicestershire.

Her art and design training was in textile decoration and embroidery. After ten years, she changed course and returned to college to train as a potter having a lifelong interest in ceramics. She retains her influences from her textile background.

She loves pattern and colour and takes inspiration from the natural world – trees, plants and the birds in her garden and the surrounding countryside.

Visitors are asked to arrive for Noon and we should be finished by 2pm, depending upon discussions over lunch in The Stable.

Tickets are £15 per person and we have a few remaining places available. Please telephone the Gallery on 01905 754 484 to reserve your place.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Gallery Maker's Lunch - 6th May 2017 - KEITH VARNEY

The second of the Gallery's Maker's Lunches involved Keith Varney whose work has been in the gallery since he was in our Annual Graduate Show in 2011. I have to say that the two hour session went by very quickly and I suspect that this was a reflection of the level of engagement between Keith and the ceramic enthusiasts who attend the lunch.

There was a strong feeling that Keith was a highly skilled maker whose work was uniquely his voice. Most were surprised when he talked about the way he made each piece and his ability to bring together complex shapes with no evidence of a join or 'the potter's thumb'. He responded to all of the many questions with candour  and welcomed all of the considerable feedback which he received during the session.

One of the issues that emerges from these revealing discussions with makers is the interest in the 'what' – probably more so than the 'how'. Even though high level technical skills are admired, the maker's motivation and creative drive is what marks them out as special people. Keith has always been a maker - since childhood indeed -  and whilst he initially he became a furniture designer and maker, his conversion to clay was absolute.

                                                                               A fine group of his latest work is featured in the   gallery until the end of this month – do take the opportunity to see some truly original ceramic art.

Stuart Dickens
Ceramic Curator
8 May 2017

Monday, 1 May 2017


Four featured makers this month, three of whom have been shown at Bevere before and we are delighted to welcome back.

 Guy Routledge was a great success when he first exhibited his distinctive sculptural pieces here in 2016. His is a striking individual voice and the range of his figurative sculpture from small to large scale clearly appealed to our visitors. There is an increasing interest in ceramic sculpture particularly when someone like Guy brings such a unique perspective to his subjects.

Jill Shaddock first appeared at Bevere in our annual graduate show some time ago. She is arguably one of the most talented potters using the casting technique amongst her generation. Her tricolour cast bowls are immaculate and she clearly accepts only the highest quality in her finished pieces. She was at Ceramic Art London (CAL) this year and had a successful show – not difficult to understand why, given the elegant look of her work.

Keith Varney has been  featured at Bevere several times. Again, we have an original voice whose complex pieces have always drawn curiosity and admiration in equal proportion. Whatever the size of his pieces they each have a presence which derives from Keith's creative energy and inventive skills. He will also be participating in our Makers Lunch to be held on Saturday May 6 – do contact the gallery to get tickets.

Finn Dam Rasmussen, from Denmark is the new maker to the gallery.  He made an impressive appearance at CAL in 2016 and again this year. We are delighted to be be showing his strong sculptural pieces with salt-glazed decoration for the first time at Bevere. His decoration is a major feature and we have spent time ourselves looking at the layering of his slipwork and the attractive patterns some of which are quite complex. Certainly pots that will benefit from a second and third look.

So that's the Bevere line up for May. Enjoy

Friday, 14 April 2017


Next Maker's Lunch


     The Maker's Lunches are designed to respond to our visitors' interest 
in studio ceramics and their makers, and to promote dialogue. It is also 
an opportunity to have an early look at the featured work each month.

Saturday May 6 - Keith Varney    
Here is an original voice whose complex pieces have always drawn curiosity 
and admiration in equal proportion. Whatever the size of his pieces they each 
have a presence which derives from his creative energy and inventive skills.

The lunch promises to be a stimulating and enjoyable experience - do join us

Inevitably there will only be a limited number of places available so please make your reservation now by telephoning
01905 754 484 or emailing
Tickets are £15 each

 Please arrive for 12pm, depending upon discussions We aim to finish around 2pm.

The next lunch will be Friday June 2 - Debbie Barber
We anticipate once more being enchanted by Debbie's beautifully hand decorated raku vessels. She has such a good eye and deft artistry. This will be an opportunity to discuss her approach to design and the way in which her decoration is and has developed.