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13 November 2014

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You are in: Stoke & Staffordshire > Entertainment > Theatre and Culture > Visual Arts > British Ceramics Biennial in Stoke

British Ceramics Biennial logo

British Ceramics Biennial in Stoke

The 2009 British Ceramics Biennial has arrived in Stoke-on-Trent! Running until December, it is the UK’s only festival that celebrates a breadth of contemporary pottery and ceramic artists.

The Biennial festival - held every two years - is trying to change the way people perceive pottery by helping them to learn what is involved in creating and designing all kinds of ceramics – including the kitchen sink!

This ten-week festival, running from October until mid-December 2009, displays a selection of ceramics designs… but is not just about sitting back and looking at what has already been created. It is hoped that everybody will get involved in producing their own artwork.

Ceramics biennial

Gallery at Potteries Museum

What's more, the festival should enhance Stoke on Trent's place in the world of ceramics. Extraordinary work, from all over the world is coming to the city, and should shake up our view of 'pottery'.  Artists from as far away as Japan, Spain and India - as well as this region - will all be exhibiting.

"It’s really important this is happening – such a high profile event," says co-director Barney Hare Duke. "It’s offering stuff for people who live and work in Stoke-on-Trent to come and see, but it’s also a big pull for people to come in and see the city again. We want them to get that real sense that the city is vibrant, that it’s got a future and is working."

To see some of the work, have a look at our photo-gallery below:-

The British Ceramics Biennial takes place from 3rd October to 13th December 2009.

What is there to see and do?

The idea of a British Ceramics Biennial was brought to fruition late in 2008 - the idea of two developers from the design company 'A Fine Line' (
The festival replaces the old 'Stoke on Trent Ceramic & Design Festival'; and already two more Biennial events are planned for the city - in 2011 and 2013.
Although exhibitions will be at the centre of what the BCB is, it's more than that - there are also artist residencies, formal help to pottery businesses, community workshops, and education.

There are three distinct elements to the event.

  • The first is the exhibitions of ceramics in the construction industry – including decorative pieces used in fireplaces and countertops. The main Open Days are on the weekends of October 17/18 and November 14/15
  • Other exhibitions showcase work currently being produced by emerging makers and designers.
  • And - museums, galleries, factories, and studios will present their own ceramics-related programmes.
Stephen Dixon

Artist Stephen Dixon

In the Potteries Museum and Art gallery, there are displays of tableware designed by made by 'The New English', a new ceramics brand involving students at Staffordshire University.

One particular eye-catching piece is Stephen Dixon's ceramic pig heads. The concept behind the exhibit is MPs expenses. Each pig head is named after a politician, and it's price tag bears the amount of money that MP claimed in expenses last year.

The work of Spanish artist, Jaime Hayon, has taken up residence at Emma Bridgwater Pottery. His creations inspired by skateboard culture, graffiti and street art, are displayed alongside new graduate's work.

The show called 'Fresh' aims to showcase the best new young ceramic artists working in the industry at this time.

Burslem is also very much involved in the festival, with the Old Post Office gallery displaying a ‘Wonderwall’ of ceramic graffiti created by artist CJ O'Neill and a team of local children. Following on from this, they are also considering producing a set of graffiti themed tableware.

The Wedgwood institute is also showing a number of pieces including a giant ceramic mural created by 100 young people and adults from Stoke on Trent, with 6 Belgian artists.

Jaime Hayon exhibit

Jaime Hayon exhibit

For more information including the programme of events, click on the link below:-

Want to be a volunteer?

Volunteers are also needed to get involved.
* Enthusiasts are asked to come forward to help staff an exhibition , meet and greet visitors or lead a tour group
* Pottery factory or studio owners are being asked to open up their premises for free tours during open weekends on October 17 and 18 and November 14 and 15, as well as putting on demonstrations or offering discounts
* Local people are being asked to share their memories of the pottery industry in Stoke-on-Trent
* Pottery fans are being asked to work with artist Stephen Dixon to revive the traditional skill of making ceramic flowers. Volunteers will be shown how to make the flowers and they will then be used in an exhibition at the Gladstone Museum... and to take part in a free tile design workshop (open to anyone aged 13 or over)
* Students who would be interested in a career in ceramics or design to come forward to take part in the infrastructure of the festival

Anyone interested, who can offer their support, or would like more information on ways to help can email, call 01782 597089.

last updated: 18/11/2009 at 10:19
created: 11/08/2009

You are in: Stoke & Staffordshire > Entertainment > Theatre and Culture > Visual Arts > British Ceramics Biennial in Stoke

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