Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Maker's Lunch - Barry Stedman

7 OCTOBER 2017

One might be forgiven for thinking that regular meetings with ceramicists would eventually lead to predictable responses and recurring themes. Not so. An enjoyable two hours with Barry Stedman demonstrated once again the different ways in which makers become engaged with ceramics and that the what of their work is  an infinitely variable  aspect compared with the more prosaic issues about how work is produced.

Barry was in his thirties when he began to engage with ceramics after ten years in retail. He had always been into drawing and painting but for him the combination of clay and painting was an irresistible combination. He was a successful student at Harrow – Kyra Cane, our guest last month was one of his tutors. He has been making ever since and his genuinely abstract decoration has become a recognisable voice in ceramics. He also works two days a week with Edmund de Waal supporting the glazing and firing of Edmund's output. Barry's work couldn't be more different and he has tried  - successfully I believe – to maintain his own voice despite working with Edmund since leaving Harrow.

Barry sees his work changing over time. Colour range is more restricted and we are seeing in his latest pieces what looks like a combination of charcoal and marking that is redolent of abstracted landscape.

He was very open about the pressures of professional life as a ceramicist and the need to balance workload with creative energy and avoid over production with perhaps inevitable consequences. What was evident however, was that he had no regrets about his courageous decision to change career for a much more volatile environment. The lunch with Barry was a very good example of how intimate, open conversation can be revealing, insightful and importantly a really enjoyable experience.

Next month we are having David and Margaret Frith joining us for what should be yet another stimulating experience.


Featured potters -
Sara Moorhouse
Masazumi Yamazaki
Barry Stedman - Maker's Lunch October 7th
Supported by over 40 Studio Potters, Original Paintings, Fine Art Hand Crafted Prints, Jewellery & more.

Fri, 6th Oct 2017 - Wed, 1st Nov 2017


Sara Moorhouse has exhibited at Bevere before and wherever her work appears the 'wow' factor is always evident. There are some makers who have that immediate impact and the use of colour and banded decoration leave no one indifferent to her technically brilliant and stunningly presented work.

Masazumi Yamazaki has lived and worked in Wales for quite a time now, but there is no sense in which his strong oriental influences have been dissipated by his Celtic environment. His figurative ceramics are always amusing and even shocking. Prepare for both!

Barry Stedman may have been a studio assistant to Edmund de Waal but his painterly abstract vessels bear little resemblance to Edmund's aesthetic. Barry has always been a popular maker – his vessels are three dimensional paintings that benefit from time and contemplation. Delighted to have him back at Bevere. 

Sunday, 3 September 2017


It was a great pleasure to have Kyra Kane join us as our guest to this month's Maker's Lunch.
Kyra had her first show at Bevere in 2016 and it was very well received then. She has exemplary skills evident in her finely thrown porcelain pots. Once again, we are seeing porcelain as the ultimate clay body for tactility and luminescence. Her vessels are elegant and have great presence.
As we anticipated Kyra, with a reputation as a fine teacher of ceramics, is an articulate speaker who gives real insights into the development and expression of her creative drive. She prefers to use porcelain – difficult as it can be to work with – as the 'canvas' for her pots and she talked about the importance of brush choice in the decorative process and the use of black in all its shades to enhance her vessels.

She also talked about the volume of her pots and the importance of the inner as well as outer dimensions of each bowl.  She particular likes using Limoges porcelain and although less physically able, as handworking clay has taken its toll over the years, enjoys making large vessels. Although using black for decoration, she introduces colour such as yellow which brings fresh nuances to her pots.

It is the physical act of making – and making that meets her expectations rather than others – that brings her immense pleasure. Such is her creative drive that she can never see herself not making  - whatever the scale or form may be in the future.

At the end of an engrossing two hours together everyone left with a smile – it was that kind of experience..

October's 'Lunch with the Maker' is with Barry Stedman on Saturday October 7th contact us for more details and to book your place.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Curator's View September 2017

Whether you see September as late Summer or early Autumn this month's featured makers will prolong the sunshine.  All three makers have shown here before with some success and I have no doubt that together they will provide an admirable contrast in both technique and creative style.

It is a pleasure to have a fine group of Claire Murray's original figurative sculpture. They will make you smile but also reflect on the inner self which is redolent of so much of her work. I see that she is now using more colour in her work and this adds to the dramatic qualities of her quirky pieces. There is literally no one else making work like this and I am sure that these figures will generate considerable interest and comment.


Sylvia Holmes has not had a group of pieces here for a while. Her admirers will recognise her decorative technique which is abstracted with subtle uses of colour and brushwork. She combines layers of texture, line and colour to create rich, evocative, tactile surfaces on simple thrown or hand-built stoneware pieces.  This is simply three dimensional abstract painting.

Kyra Cane had her first show at Bevere in 2016 and it was very well received. She has exemplary skills evident in her finely thrown porcelain pots. Once again we are seeing porcelain as the ultimate clay body for tactility and luminescence. These vessels are elegant and have great presence. Kyra is a well known teacher of ceramics and I am delighted that she will be with us at this month's maker's lunch to talk about her work and her creative inspiration.

Clearly there will be much to enjoy this month and I hope that our visitors will agree.

Sunday, 6 August 2017


   Richard is showing here at Bevere Gallery for the first time. His wood-fired stoneware is distinctly decorated and although inspired by the Japanese ceramic culture in which he has spent some time, he likes to make functional pots that create a dialogue with each other and indeed with us.  I have handled a vast number of pots over the last fourteen years, but I can remember none like these vessels,  which, I have to say, benefit from close study – there is a lot to take in.

Seen en masse you might be forgiven for thinking that these are identically decorated pots – their primary distinction being shape and function. The benefit of listening to Richard talk about his creative drive and making processes is to understand that every pot  - large or small  - has a provenance based on  his British Guianian heritage. His father came from Guiana and his mother from Wales. The cliché 'every picture tells a story' is no cliché in this case, Richard knows the origin and meaning of each of the myriad images he reproduces on his vessels.

He is deeply interested in the history of the British Empire and the contribution of peoples from many Empire nations to the UK and its institutions. His pots are an interesting mix of delftware and contemporary studio pottery. This adds to the sense of the past embedded in each and every vessel.

It would be difficult to spend two hours with him without reference to his role as technician on the Great Pottery Thrown down series. He provided an insiders perspective on the programme and there was acknowledgement of the stress and effort required to support the competitors. He also talked about the tile making company which he acquired when it was closing and turned it into a successful business.

So – in summary -  we were greatly entertained by this charming and articulate potter. It was another example of how our appreciation of pots is significantly enhanced by understanding 'the what' rather than 'the how'.

Thank you Richard for a stimulating experience and I am confident that I speak for all those that attended the lunch.

 Stuart Dickens - Ceramic Curator

Friday, 14 July 2017

The Curator's View August 2017

There are a number of reasons to look forward to this month's group of featured makers. Two of our exhibitors – Mark Smith and Petra Bittl have been immensely popular on previous occasions and I am delighted that they are showing here again. As is often the case, there is a marked contrast in style and making processes which makes the show that much more stimulating.

The work of Mark Smith, as his followers know well, is inspired by the sea and coastline. His decorative sculptures are redolent of the marine world in colour and his use of materials. Ships, boats, wrecks, beach huts and houses are the main focus of the work, all textured with raised and indented objects that have an indication of our industrial past. He has a bottomless well of creativity, as is manifest in the distinctiveness of each new piece.

Petra Bittl has always made an impact when her work has been shown here. Her sculptural and organic pieces have sophisticated decoration and tactility.

 There are always surprise pieces that are an expression of her creative energy and unique perspective. What I personally like about Petra's work is her ability to produce large-scale sculptural pots alongside small-scale pieces using entirely different making techniques. 

As I have often said, creativity has to be underpinned with high level making skills to be effectively expressed and Petra's skills are self-evident.

Richard Miller is showing here for the first time. His wood-fired stoneware is distinctly decorated and although inspired by the Japanese ceramic culture in which he has spent time, he likes to create functional pots that establish a dialogue with each other and indeed with us. 

Some will be familiar with his name as he was the technician in the last Great Pottery Throwdown TV series

. He is also joining us for the August Makers Lunch – sorry all places now taken up – and we anticipate an interesting and good humoured two hours with our guest.

Sunday, 2 July 2017


Craig has been showing his abstract expressionist pots at Bevere for many years. We are pleased to have  a group of his latest pieces and for the first time a number of his paintings. I have used the term abstract impressionist because of the spontaneity of his decoration and the use of mark making. There is no better person to talk about his work than Craig himself and it was a particular pleasure to have him at Bevere for our Makers Lunch  to talk about the ceramics which we are currently featuring and to discuss his approach to making.

The intimacy of the lunch and the ability to discuss ceramic making in an informal and comfortable setting facilitated a  rich and insightful discussion. Whilst he does not eschew theoretical analysis of his work, what emerged from the discussion was the basic truth that what you see before you in every piece is the essential spirit of the maker. The development of Craig's work over time is, then, likely to be a manifestation of the development of his persona – not some conscious decision to take the work in a new direction.

Craig gave an interesting perspective on the ceramicist as painter and the different approach demanded by two and three dimensional working. He clearly enjoys both and long may he continue.

The purpose of the Makers Lunch is to encourage relationships between the maker and those wanting to learn more about individual makers and the broader aspects of studio ceramics. We have been much encouraged by the Lunches held so far and it confirms our view that the gallery has a wider remit than simply putting the work for sale on a plinth.

Thank you Craig and each of the participants for making it a really enjoyable time together.

The next   Maker's lunch will be with  RICHARD MILLER, 

The technician from 'The Great Pottery Throwdown' on Saturday 5th August