Thursday, November 26, 2009

Best of Ceramic Websites.

Friderike Zeit very Stunning design, layout and compliments the work very well.

Best of Ceramic Websites.

Table of contents - websites for;
  • Mavericks
  • Designers
  • Designer Makers and studio Ceramists. 
  • Ceramic Artists and Expressive Ceramists
  • Ceramic Crafts People (Expressive Crafts) 
  • Galleries and Museums
  • Centre's of Excellence and finally 
  • Ceramic Organisations.
Introduction. This blog entry is my choice of the best of Ceramic Websites, showcasing a wide spectrum of Ceramists, whose work I appreciate and deem to be cutting edge at this very important and critical juncture in the history of one of the oldest craft forms. The list includes expressive ceramics, ceramic design and those who focus on the craft of ceramics, one-of-a-kind ceramic statements. I trust this will not only be beneficial from a website point of view, but also shed light on the best of contemporary Ceramic work. Work that challenges and ask questions about the value ceramics offer in the wider context of material culture. Its relevance and importance in this regard.

The past month or two I have been investigating websites to determine the parameters for designing a suitable website for myself. Being a ceramic sculptor, academic and aspiring designer I had to make sure it embraced all these career focus areas. However it would need to be useful, usable and desirable, to use Richard Buchanan’s definition for defining good design – in the simplest of terms. Simple yet effective is what a website should be. Even though I am an academic and have designed a number of products, the main purpose of the website should be to promote my expressive Ceramics – capturing all the work sequentially since my fist successful one person exhibition at the Michaelis School of Fine Art ( Masters Graduate Exhibition). 

Here follows the best of websites visited.

Marek Cecula's Website.

Maverick - a Ceramist; a cut above the rest.
Marek Cecula - the Michelangelo of Ceramics. His website is embraces the entire spectrum of ceramics - Ceramic Artist, Designer and Educator. His website is therefore a fine example for those ceramists working across the broad field of the discipline and whose work is of a serious and conceptual nature. His website is very simple and easy to use.

Designers, Designer Makers and Studio Ceramists.
Contemporary Designers are making one-of- a-kind ceramic statements that challenges our perception of Ceramic Craft and Design. Marcel Wanders (his website is a feast) and Hella Jongerius (inspirational Website) (also visit the Fragiles website) have led the way, leaving a dramatic impact on the ceramic sector, the impact of which is felt globally; both on the aesthetic and market share of ceramics, especially the craft and studio ceramic sector. Here follows a number of websites showcasing the best of developments in this highly competitive field of ceramics. I have also included studio Ceramists in this particular ceramic sector. The new Book Breaking the Mould - new Approaches to Ceramics, documents a comprehensive list of the represented artists websites in the back of the book.

KleinReid James Klein and David Reid consider themselves Designer makers, their products a fusion of great design and fine craftsmanship. In their own words, borrowed from their website, “Their influential atelier is renowned for its elegant forms, dense, translucent porcelain, artisanal glazes, and fine ‘from scratch’ craftsmanship".

Julian Stair's Website.
Julian Stair for its simplicity – comprehensively and clarity in terms of artist intent. Flash gives this site its added value when the mouse hovers over the thumbnail images they enlarge. The site also does justice to the work, in terms of style, design and layout. The choice of categories/ menus works extremely well – especially the section on current, archival projects.

Maxim Velcovsky's Website.
Maxim Velcovsky a contemporary Czech Industrial designer of note, also famous for his contribution to ceramics, his products manifest a quirky manipulation of consumerism - a creative force conceptualised and realised behind the “iron curtain”. His work makes mockery of the barriers that exist between high art, design and craft, and is a fine example of ceramic ornament challenging the notion of function and non function.

Ceramic Artists (Expressive Ceramists)

Here is my choice of Ceramic Artists, Ceramic Sculptors and ceramists working in the expressive function of the medium (exclusively in clay). This is largest selection due to the fact that I consider my work to fall within this category of ceramists. What follows is a selection of websites showcasing the diverse range of design styles and approaches to the creative tools available and choice of colours including the use of images and categories for archiving relevant material.

Richard Slee's Website.

Richard Slee A very simple site, probably all one needs. Quirky like his work, this site provides the bare essentials, and works extremely well. The site is beautifully designed, mainly deep edged images of the work, very crisp, set against a light grey metallic background. It offsets the brightly colour glazed ceramic pieces marvellously. By clicking on his name (in black) his resume and galleries are displayed.

Friderike Zeit very stunning website design and layout - it compliments the work very well.
Paul Scott although under construction - the information provided about the artists work, history links with industry, etc is very comprehensive and informative from every conceivable clients perspective.
Ting-Ju Shao Ting-Ju Shao

Barnaby Barford's Website.

This is a highly professional ceramic website, showcasing the extent of the artists creative endeavours. The site is highly sophisticated and it is a product that reflects the extent of the tools and services available to you should you have access to resources to utilize the technology to maximum impact.

Susan King"s Website.

One of the cleanest, simplest of sites, very effective and showcasing the work to best effect. Very understated, yet sophisticated with phenomenal images of her work. This one of my favourite sites.

Ken Eastman's Website.

Ceramic Crafts People (Expressive Ceramics - Crafts).

Here is a selection of Ceramic Crafts People whose work and websites are at the cutting edge of their field. Without a doubt Ken Eastman's site is the most successful. The site is very simple, stylish and highly informative. The choice of background colour showcases the work magnificently, the images (excellent lighting - natural, not too much special effects and photo shopped) The work is photo-documented as close to the real thing as possible. The categories for archival material on the website and layering is very simple and effective.

Ken Eastman ceramics. Arguably the most effective ceramics site.

RytkÖlÄ, Johanna. Thie site uses a more complex approach to showcase work, but remains simple and effective.

Sasha Wardell. Very stylish and simple site - the listing of exhibitions is both informative and insightful.

Anne-Katrine BÜlow. Website with a black background that is suitable to the work at hand.

Tanya Gomez. This site, the artists link to nature, is well illustrated and documented (text requires editing) and will be of interest to those ceramists whose artists statement and products (including surfaces) have strong visual references and representation - inspirational images used in the website to great affect.

Bodil Manz portal at Pulz Contemporary Ceramics.

Galleries and Museums.

More than often Ceramists do not have their own specific official website. They are represented by their gallery, an agent and or appear on an organisational website only. They are therefore incorporated on the list of artists residing at the gallery (agent or organisation) and appear on the gallery and organisational website. This could be that they focus on their work (dedicated) and not the marketing and communication aspect of their business - this responsibility resides with the agent and or gallery owner. Bodil Manz is one such example - above is her portal at the Pulz Gallery.

Puls is the only gallery in Brussels exclusively dedicated to ceramics. The gallery stages around eight exhibitions annually, showing the best of international contemporary ceramics, with a special focus on Denmark. The gallery is divided into two spaces, whereby the main space will typically show works of established artists. The second space is where young, promising talents are given a platform, people who will put their stamp on the next generation of ceramics. in both spaces, Puls contemporary ceramics is committed to pressing its finger firmly against the thumping pulse of the 21st century.
Gallery Besson. London England.

Gallery Besson. London England.

Gallery Besson has a world-wide reputation for exhibiting ceramics and has been in existence since 1988 in the heart of London's West End.
The gallery runs mainly one-person shows of contemporary ceramic artists from all over the world. We also carry a permanent stock of ceramics - including a significant collection of works by 20th Century ceramic artists Hans Coper and Lucie Rie. Current, past and future exhibitions are listed on our Exhibitions page, which is updated regularly. In addition to these gallery exhibitions, our website now features an online showcase of works from our Cupboard. Our Artists page features artists by whom we are likely to have pieces available in our permanent stock. The website also now presents information about the Fairs that we attend in New York, Chicago and Palm Beach. Information about other gallery projects can be found on our Newspage.
Ceramic Crafts people represented on their website include the following artists of note. Jennifer Lee, Bodil Manz, John Maltby, Claudi Casanovas and of course the work of Hans Coper and Lucie Rie. The various ceramists are divided into the following two groupings, classical and contemporary.
Jennifer Lee. Each ceramic artist is given significant space and presents a detailed historical overview of their careers. The layout is simple but effective and professional.
Galerie Marianne Brand. This site is simple and stylish with excellent images. I found the entry page informative and effective. The gallery is truly representative of all forms of ceramics - the owner progressive in her thinking. Artists include a diverse range of contemporary ceramists including Arnold Annen, Tony Franks and Lynda Draper.

Foundation KERAMION. Centre of Modern + Historical Ceramics Frechen.
The Frechen Historical Museum for Ceramics.
The Frechen Historical Museum for Ceramics was founded in 1985 and shows the centuries-old unique pottery tradition of Frechen. Mention should be made of the world-famous Bellamine jugs. In 2002 the Cremer Collection and the Historical Ceramic Museum of Frechen were merged into Foundation KERAMION. Since this time they have been trading under the name of Centre of Modern + Historical Ceramics Frechen in the characteristic building on Bonnstraße. The director of the museum is Gudrun Schmidt-Esters.

Icheon World Ceramic Center Korea. for more information access link below.

Centres of Excellence.

The following sites focus on centres of excellence; claiming supremacy in terms of global status as the leaders in the ceramic sector on all levels. These centres have their origin out of the foresight R&D programme embraced by countries (late eighties) to determine their leading economic industry sectors (Agriculture, Manufacture, Health and or Tourism). Countries as a result of the study boosted the infrastructure of the sector (in this case the Ceramic Sector) with resources on all levels, including education, labour and assets to ensure they became the world leaders in the field. A major Ceramic Competition, Museum, Conference and Educational Centre promoting ceramics on all levels within the heart of the Ceramic's Industry, Community and or Cultural Hub was developed and is being maintained. The following sites provide insight and access into the worlds major Ceramic Centres of Excellence.

Mino Japan.
The Museum of Modern Ceramic Art, Gifu, located within the Ceramics Park Mino industrial and cultural complex, a facility that highlights ceramic items of which Gifu is justifiably proud. The museum building, designed by Arata Isozaki, harmonizes with its natural surroundings and gives visitors a feeling of being close to nature. Focused on the theme of modern ceramic arts, the museum collects modern and contemporary ceramic works from within Japan and around the world. The museum's goal is to hold a variety of exhibitions in future. In order to promote a new culture of ceramics, the museum also plans to collect and exhibit utilitarian ceramics, an area overlooked by most other museums, as well as industrial ceramics from the realm of modern design. Have a look at the ceramic time line. Oribe Square. In the Ceramics Park Mino, the other area apart from the museum is called Oribe Square. Here, a multitude of delights and possibilities are on offer: commercial fair facilities enabling exchanges of creative ideas between professionals, as well as a restaurant and tea rooms, a pottery practice studio, educational amusement facilities, and last not least a promenade and viewing platform.The Sanbao Valley had for countless centuries been the source of Chinastone for the studios of Jingdezhen and was dotted with numerous old water-powered hammer mills for crushing the stone. A group of farm houses and an adobe building were chosen as the site for the future art center.

Tours of China began in 1995 through the offices of Alfred University. Later the tours were organized by China Ceramic Cultural Exchange, created to facilitate educational and cultural exchanges between China and the western ceramic world.
Sanbao Ceramic Art Institute at Jingdezhen China.Sanbao Ceramic Art Institute at Jingdezhen was officially inaugurated in June of 2000. The institute has since been very busy hosting Porcelain Symposiums, organizing customized and personalized tours and visits throughout China to areas of interest to artists and artisans, establishing university level ceramic instruction, summer school ceramic courses, celebrating the 1000 years of porcelain in Jingdezhen in 2004, participating in in the NCECA student scholarship program, offering residencies and fellowship programs to the international artists and artisans, as well as organizing many other international artistic and cultural activities in China.

World Ceramics Exposition Foundation Korea. Icheon World Ceramic Center, Gwangju Joseon Royal Kiln Museum, and Yeoju World Ceramic Livingware Gallery, museums that house ceramic art exclusively. image above.
The World Ceramic Exposition Foundation (WOCEF) was founded for the purpose of pioneering new fronts for ceramic art in the 21st century, as well as providing a basis for the Icheon, Gwangju and Yeoju regions to grow and develop into the centers of the international ceramic community. An important means of such growth would be the World Ceramic Biennale Korea (CEBIKO) that is to be held in Gyeonggi Province on a regular basis.
The World Ceramic Exposition Foundation is also involved in activities and enterprises such as the organization of exhibitions, education, research, marketing and assistance to local ceramic industries for the promotion of world ceramic culture, art and industry.
British Ceramics Biennial Stoke on Trent, England.
From national awards to international artists from business support to contemporary design – and from Stoke-on-Trent, the centre of the British ceramics industry, to the world’s creative community: this is the British Ceramics Biennial.

John Shirley, South African Member of the International Academy of Ceramics. Each individual member has a page with direct access to their website, blog and or a link, be it a gallery or shop. Access to the personal sites are conveniently provided in the maroon block below the artist's name.

Ceramic Organisations.

There are numerous ceramic specific organisations, operating internationally, on various continents and regionally in various countries (either by state, province and or pertaining to the type of work) each with their own aim and objectives; furthering the cause of ceramics on all levels. For your convenience I have incorporated a few organisations whose services to ceramic sector is highly commendable and beneficial to both its members and the consumer respectively. Their websites are well designed, maintained and very informative from a research and development perspective. The site provides direct access to websites, blogs and links to a wide range of ceramic interests internationally. It is interesting to note that not many members have websites and or make use of the facility to provide direct access to their personal sites and or links to promote their work.

The International Academy of Ceramics is the principal organisation representing the interests of ceramists worldwide. Its membership consists primarily of individual makers, supported by writers and critics, Museum and gallery curators, and private collectors. Correspondent membership is available to professional associations, ceramics work centres and educational institutions, which considerably extends the networking capacity of the Academy. Current membership consists of nearly 440 makers, a further 75 individual members, and about 25 correspondent groups, representing a total of 55 nations from all continents.
The aims of the Academy are to present international contemporary ceramics at the highest level, to encourage cultural cooperation through ceramics around the world, and to facilitate communication between ceramists and museum curators, private galleries and collectors, art schools and other professional Institutions.

We strive for the best possible conditions for the creation and the propagation of Swiss ceramist's work. Our support is not only through presenting prizes and financial contributions, but also through giving advice, mediating contacts, and providing logistical help. We promote exchange and discuss cultural and professional issues amongst our members across language barriers and we network with ceramists both inside and outside of Switzerland. We maintain connections to various ceramic organisations in Europe, the USA, and Asia and are members of the AIC (Academie International de la Céramique) and the WCC-Europe (World Craft Council Europe). We encourage the debate of ceramics in theory and practice. Our goal is a lively dialogue both among and with our members based on personal contacts.
Arnold Annen and Philippe Barde sites are worth seeing. Arnold Annen and Marek Cecula are both ceramic mavericks whose work I appreciate and whose contribution to ceramics (as ceramists) are a cut above the rest.

The International Ceramics Studio(ICS) is a ceramic art centre located eighty kilometres south of the Hungarian capital, Budapest. The ICS was created in Kecskemét on the initiative of Hungarian artists who had felt culturally and ideologically isolated. It was the wish for freedom and the desire to work alongside international artists that led to the founding of the centre.

The mission of the studio is to promote the formal, aesthetic and technical development of ceramics and to help foster creative skills. The studio is open to all challenges of ceramic research, design and experiment. With this in mind the ICS offers modern facilities and kilns, ample studio space and technical support.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Ceramic Work for SA's Constitutional Court.

Exquisite Slave / Popsy / Popsie, Earthenware fired, slipcast Ceramic Sculpture with ceramic decals and gold lustre.

The work above has been accepted into the Constitutional Court’s Art Collection. The Constitutional Court of South Africa is the highest court in South Africa and it’s main function is to deal specifically with constitutional matters. It was born out of the country's first democratic Constitution in 1994. In an acclaimed new building at Constitution Hill, the 11 judges stand guard over the Constitution and protect everyone's human rights.I was privileged to be part of the second last walkabout conducted by Judge Albie Sachs two months ago (he retired last month). He took over ten years to collect the works, the majority of the art works donated by the artists themselves whilst a large number of works were donated by the judge himself.

First Ceramic work to be accepted into the collection.

This is the first ceramic work to be accepted into the Constitutional Court’s Art Collection. They accepted the donation of the work with these kind words “The Artworks committee of the constitutional Court met last week and they are delighted to accept your work 'Exquisite Slave / Popsie / Popsy' into their collection. They felt that the sensitive and humorous way in which you have portrayed difficult human issues is perfect for the collection. The obviously excellent technical standard of the work and the need for ceramic work in the collection made this an easy decision.”

Ceramic Statement's Concept.

This sculpture comments on rape and violence in South African prisons - especially the impact it has on the inmate's masculinity. Sex is never discussed or even spoken about and when it is mentioned, it is referred to as "Daai Ding" (that thing) in Afrikaans. Attractive young men that commit a crime and get sent to prison will have to defend their masculinity by stabbing a warden or another inmate, if they don't, they will require protection and through subtle favours will become someone’s wife / "wyfie". Should they refuse, they could be raped and then their masculinity and respect as a criminal is gone forever anyway. One cannot imagine how it really affects such inmates, especially when they return home to their real wives and kids on release from prison.

The following two quotes appear as ceramics transfers on the base of the ceramic sculpture. They were captured in a South African correctional services report on rape and violence in our prisons.

We are all criminals in here and if I say you are a criminal that means I respect you. But if you have (had) sex (done to you) it's obvious that they will (see) you differently. Even the criminal in you is now gone and you are now a "wyfie" (someone’s wife). There is nothing we can do for (a person who has been raped) and we don't care.

If I allow myself to become a lady, I am going to be a "wyfie" until I finish my sentence. That's definitely sure and that's the truth. Even if I can be transferred to (an) other prison the guys there will know that where I come from, I was so-and-so's wyfie" (wife) and will make sure that I become a wife there.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

marek cecula 's transgressive in dust real whitewares

Burned Again.CH.4. Industrial Porcelain, (Royal Copenhagen) wood fire 16x16x25 cm. In Dust Real, Photo Sebastian Zimmer.

Marek Cecula is an ever evolving, conspiring, ceramic conceptualist. His knowledge of ceramic art, craft and design history including traditions (craft forms) empowers him to create artefacts that sit transgressively in between ceramic disciplines. He embraces the ceramic discourse and translates mundane ceramic products into cutting edge artefacts of mainstream cultural significance, the gestalt of which elevates this ceramist far beyond that of any of his ceramic peers.

Transformation. RC, 9. Industrial Porcelain, (Royal Copenhagen) wood fire 38x38x43 cm. In Dust Real, Photo Sebastian Zimmer.

His ceramic statements are metaphors for ceramic change and even challenges consumer values. But more importantly these products are imbued with significance that challenges our notion of the role of the artefact within an ever changing globalised society. He does so at a time when the very fundamentals of studio ceramics and craft traditions are being questioned, challenged and metaphorically speaking, sadly buried. It is in the design and development of his work titled in dust real that his conceptual insight is exemplified (revolutionary) and the body of work attains an archetypal status yet to be fully understood and or appreciated in the wider context of mainstream art.

Burn Again CM. 1. Industrial Porcelain, (Royal Copenhagen) wood fire 22x12x10 cm. In Dust Real, Photo Sebastian Zimmer.

The significance of which is seen in the context of my theoretical blog entry; beauty in the creolisation of cultures with reference to altermodernism; where the transgressive role of the work of art facilitates greater interaction, collaboration and cooperation amongst cultural practitioners to confront internationalism. This concept is also manifested in the products of contemporary designers and architects as the barriers of disciplines disintegrate and the dominant notion of western art history is challenged. Cecula’s latest work also challenges the present consumer’s complacency in taste for whiteware, or from another perspective, a lack of investment in the handcrafted product; imbued with heart and soul. This body of work raises many questions and the answers lie within the ceramic community’s willingness to respond to the challenges laid down by these beautiful artefacts, yet emotionally charged complex ceramic statements.

Transformation. RC, 13. Industrial Porcelain, (Royal Copenhagen) wood fire, 70x30x28 cm. In Dust Real, Photo Sebastian Zimmer.