Blackwell, the Arts and Crafts House near Bowness in the Lake District is one of our favourite destinations for a day out, often combined, as was the case last Saturday, with a trip over to Abbot Hall Gallery in Kendal. Both houses are owned by the Lakeland Arts Trust and have regularly changing exhibitions. The shop at Blackwell always has a large range of ceramic works, by a changing roster of artists, for sale and they usually have an exhibition of ceramic works taking place. During our last visit a few months ago they had an exhibition of works by Emilie Taylor and one of the current exhibitions at the house is a small display of works by three leading British ceramic artists – Gordon Baldwin, Alison Britton and Nicholas Rena -who
all grapple with ideas of form and function within the wider debate of where contemporary craft stands in today’s art world.
The works were all displayed in one room, lit by a strong natural light that presented some problems for photographs.
I particularly liked these two pieces
The white spherical object is by Gordon Baldwin and is typical of his work
The work next to it, Blue Bowl by Nicholas Rena is very different. With a completely smooth perfect finish it was hard to resist touching it!
There was a second, small exhibition of ceramics on the stairs leading down from the first floor to reception featuring works by Edmund De Waal and Hans Stofer. It was curated by Becca Weir who is a trainee at Lakeland Arts and Kendal Museum and she was inspired by Anecdote of the Jar, a poem by the American Poet Wallace Stevens
‘I placed a jar in Tennessee,
And round it was, upon a hill.
It made the slovenly wilderness
Surround that hill.’
A book of Wallace’s poems, opened to show the poem, is displayed by a group of circular pots by Edmund De Waal
There were two other groups of pieces by him.
There were only 2 works by Hans Stofer on display. They are similar to Edmund Se Waals in that they are predominantly white, but in this case they are not thrown or cast as complete pots, but have been assembled using pieces of found china