Julian Stair


Whereas much of my work is concerned with the manner of art’s engagement with human activity and with pottery’s haptic qualities, the funerary ware that I am currently engaged in has a different relationship with the body. Using the anthropomorphism central to ceramics I extend the familiar identity of the pot as a metaphor for the body – complete with foot, neck, shoulder, lip, belly – and invert this relationship by making work which contains the actual body. The pot is no longer reliant on the body to animate it through use but instead houses the remains of the body itself. Through this transformation the symbolic becomes re-invigorated and in the process becomes tangible again.

Like pots sustaining the body in life through the containment of food and drink, this funerary ware maintains the body in death and underlines the profoundly somatic characteristics of pottery.

Born            1955, Bristol, UK


2002 PhD, Royal College of Art, Londo

Critical Writing on English Studio Pottery : 1910 - 1940

1978-81 MA Ceramics, Royal College of Art, London

1974-78 BA Ceramics, Camberwell College, University of the Arts, London



2004 European Achievement Award 2004, World Crafts Council

2004 Queen Elizabeth Scholarship

2003 Finalist, World Ceramic Exposition, Seoul, Korea

1998 British Council Grant to Artist (exhibition in USA)

1997 London Arts Board Grant to Artist

1997 Crafts Council Publication Grant


Solo Exhibitions

2006 Galerie Marianne Heller, Heidelberg, Germany

Terra Keramik, Delft, Netherlands

2004 Collect, Victoria & Albert Museum, London (juried individual exhibitior)

2002 Egg, London

2001 Contemporary Applied Arts, London

2000 Anton Gallery, Washington DC, USA


Selected Group Exhibitions

2007 ‘Collect’, Victoria & Albert Museum, London

‘Contemporary Collections’, Glynn Vivian Art Gal‘After Life’, The Manchester Museum, Egyptian Galleries

2006 ‘Collecting Contemporary Ceramics’, The Gallery, Rhuthun, Wales

‘Collect’, Victoria & Albert Museum, London

‘To Hold’, Farmleigh House Gallery, Dublin, Ireland

2005 ‘Modern Pots’, Dulwich Picture Gallery

‘Collect’, Victoria & Albert Museum, London

‘Functional Form Now’, Galerie Besson, London
‘Celebrating 30 Years’, Crafts Council Shop at the V&A, London

‘Table Manners”, Crafts Council, London    

‘Meister der Moderne’, Munich, Germany

2004 ‘Everything But: Contemporary English Kitchenware’, British Council  touring exhibition Singapore, Esplanade; Sri Lanka, Barefoot Gallery, Colombo; Thailand, British Council   Siam Square; Indonesia, Bandung, Selasar Sunaryo Art Space &  Jakarta, Aksara/Prodak.


Public Collections

2006 University of Wales, Aberystwyth   

2006 Gallery Oldham

2005 York City Art Gallery

2004 National Museum of Wales (1 work, 1 group)

2004 Paisley Museum (1 work purchased with National Art Collections Fund)

2004 Rhode Island School of Design Museum, U.S.A (group)

2004, 1991 The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery (4 works)      

2004, 2000 Contemporary Arts Society (7 works)

2003-1982 Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts

2002 Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (group)

2001, 1997 British Council (1 work & group)

2000 American Craft Museum (1 work)





Search the site