Suffolk

Beatles, Rolling Stones and more album covers as pottery

Ceramic version of Abbey Road by The Beatles
Image caption "It's just so iconic - I couldn't not do that one," said the artist of his interpretation of The Beatles' Abbey Road cover

An amateur sculptor who makes 3D pottery versions of classic album covers by The Beatles, Rolling Stones and more, is hoping to stage a public exhibition of his works after a private viewing proved successful.

Simon Buckmaster started evening classes in ceramics seven years ago and his love of music inspired him to create his takes on his favourite LP art.

"I'd always been interested in album covers and thought they would lend themselves to the ceramic form," he said.

"I pick them based on something that could look good in three dimensions - cars, an animal, buildings."

His first effort, currently dismantled and in storage, was Pink Floyd's Animals (featuring a pig flying over Battersea Power Station) and he then moved on to the Rolling Stones' Let It Bleed - starting with the cake section, which on the original album was baked by Delia Smith.

Let It Bleed album cover by the Rolling Stones in ceramic
Image caption "This was the most challenging in terms of getting the scale correct and the whole thing holding together," said Mr Buckmaster

"I was only going to do the cake bit and then a friend joked about whether I could finish the whole thing in time for the album's 50th anniversary in 2019," said Mr Buckmaster.

The 63-year-old former farmer, whose studio is at his house in Felsham in Suffolk, chose his favourite 12 pieces and mounted a private view at the John Peel Centre for Creative Arts in nearby Stowmarket, where he volunteers.

"I had no expectations beyond it being a hobby, but it seems album covers are of more widespread interest among friends and beyond," he said.

"It seems to put a smile on people's faces."

Pottery version of the cover of Led Zeppelin's debut album
Image caption "This one works really well - it looks like it's defying gravity," said the artist about his reinterpretation of Led Zeppelin's eponymous 1969 debut
Simon Buckmaster with his version of Stevie Wonder's Innervisions
Image caption The artist in his studio with his version of Stevie Wonder's Innervisions - "I like the cone hanging in the air, and the colours"
Ceramic version of Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield
Image caption "The bell is hollow all the way through and the trick was getting the right glaze to get it looking metallic"
Ceramic version of London Calling by The Clash
Image caption "This is a dynamic figure, but the challenge was getting the exact shade of pink for the wording"
Ceramic version of The Velvet Underground and Nico
Image caption "During the private show, one guest thought I'd used a real banana that would rot eventually, so I took that as a compliment - it is a ceramic one"
Ceramic version of Sticky Fingers by The Rolling Stones
Image caption The Stones album designed by Andy Warhol, which had a real zip on the cardboard sleeve. "That took a lot of work to make the wet clay support itself," said the sculptor
Ceramics version of Who's Next by The Who
Image caption Who's Next by The Who. "I always thought the cover was a riposte to Sticky Fingers"
Ceramics version of Eat A Peach by the Allman Brothers
Image caption The Allman Brothers. "An American girl challenged me 'I bet you couldn't do Eat the Peach!'"
Ceramics version of The Division Bell by Pink Floyd
Image caption Pink Floyd's Division Bell, originally designed by album cover innovators Hipgnosis. "The challenge was making two things the same, and I made Ely Cathedral a lot bigger than it is on the original album cover"
Ceramic version of Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out by the Rolling Stones
Image caption More Stones... "As a live album, this takes the biscuit," said the ceramicist

Mr Buckmaster was saddened by the rise of the smaller scale cassette and CD, along with downloading and streaming which has meant no packaging is required at all.

"Because the square canvas had gone it felt like it wasn't worth the artistic input anymore," he said.

"But with the renaissance of vinyl we are seeing the return of album art, notably a recent release involving Sir Peter Blake [The Who's last LP]."

The sculptor said that although he would like to exhibit his work further, he did not plan to sell any of his pieces.

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