Ceramics showtime in York

Work by Jenny Morten
Work by Jenny Morten
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A new ceramics fair is set to make York a pottery hotspot. Sharon Dale reports

An exciting new event looks set to boost York position as a ceramics centre of excellence.

Jug by Hannah McAndrew

Jug by Hannah McAndrew

The city is already a pottery hotspot thanks to the Centre of Ceramic Art, CoCA, which is housed on the top floor of York Art Gallery. It boasts the largest collection of British studio pottery and includes work by William, Staite Murray, Shoji Hamada, Bernard Leach and Lucie Rie, among many others.

Next weekend, a city wide festival, Ceramics + Design Now, looks set boost York’s status even further.

It includes workshops, talks and two selling events – Effects Design Market and York Ceramics Fair.

The fair will showcase the best of contemporary studio ceramics from the UK and beyond with many potters from Yorkshire taking part. It runs on the weekend of October 6 and 7 at the Hospitium, Museum Gardens, and represents a rare opportunity to meet over 40 contemporary makers, admire their work an buy their pottery.

Ceramic figure by Jenny Southam

Ceramic figure by Jenny Southam

The items on display include everything from teapots, plates, vases and jugs in all shapes and sizes to quirky figurines and large sculptural artworks – all of which reveal the versatility of an artform that is growing in popularity.

If you go along you’ll see and also feel that handmade ceramics have a beauty and an energy that sets them far apart from their mass-produced counterparts.

Potters will also be giving demonstrations and talks showing you how raw clay can be pinched, carved, rolled, thrown and transformed through their craft.

Minimalist design lovers will adore the simplicity of Karen Downing’s handthrown porcelain tableware, which is inspired by her childhood on the New Jersey coast. The alchemy of glazing and firing results in a myriad of textures, finishes and colours and you can see this in the work of two of the UK’s leading saltglaze studio potters, Jane Hamlyn and Ruth King. Jenny Southam’s adorable figures reference her fascination with Staffordshire mantelpiece pottery.

Ceramic vessels by Geoff Calder

Ceramic vessels by Geoff Calder

All the makers at the event have been carefully selected by the Craft Potters Association and their prices cater for both high and low budgets.

The Centre of Ceramic Art at York Art Gallery is also staging a “Day of Clay” led by leading ceramicists who will be giving demonstrations and staging activities for those who want to try their hand at basic pottery.

The Effects Design Market, which is on October 5, 6 and 7 at York St Mary’s, will also feature some ceramicists, including Pottery West. Run by Rebecca Carr and John Hollington, makers will be selling everything from lighting and furniture to jewellery and textiles.

*York Ceramics Fair is on October 6 and 7, 10am - 5pm at The Hospitium, Museum Gardens, York. Entry is £4.50 per person, and includes talks and demonstrations. The under 16s go free, www.yorkceramicsfair.com

The Centre of Ceramic Art is at York Art Gallery. www.centreofceramicart.org.uk. Entry is £7.50 for adults and under 16s go in free.

The Design Effects Market is at St Mary’s, Castlegate, York, www.effectsdesignmarket.org. Entry is £3.