CUP 13th June - 12th July

The cup is both a functional form and an object with symbolic resonance - a touchstone both for potter and user, for our everyday lives. It is, of course, the most familiar of ceramic shapes, the one with which we are most intimate. But this familiarity is no guarantee of its career sucess in the evolving history of studio work. It has had its ups and owns. Once it was a staple part of the potters production. Remember those black and white images of cups, rows of them, alongside the teapots and breakfast bowls, waiting to be fired? Cups and mugs, they were the potter's baseline, the most accesible part of the repertoire, both practically and financially. Today, with the decline of domestic ware and the changing needs of the market, potters make fewer cups, but those they do make are no less special, in fact probably more so, as this celebratory shoe confirms.

The cup, after all, is a movable feast. It means different things to different people, from the japanese yunomi to the decorative riches of the 18th century wedgewood, a centre- piece for our personal and collective rituals. Like the jug, it's almost archetypal form can be endlessly re-interpreted, from the more sculptural explorations of Gordon Baldwin and Elizabeth Fritsch to the spare purity and elegance of Chris Keenan and Julian Stair. Personal expression, more than ever, is the key note. Cups with handles, cups without, they have never been less humble, small but valued objects that encapsulate the multiplicity of clay, that can still be a joy to use and contemplate.

David Whiting, May 2008

Focus
Vicki Ambery-Smith - Jewellery
Peter Archer - Wood
Heather Belcher - Textile
Chien-Wei Chang - Metal
Lin Cheung - Metal
Louise O'Neill - Jewellery
Frances Priest - Ceramics

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