SILENCED TOMBSTONES

HighgateTombstones covered in ivy or damaged by weather become lovelier in their shape, posture, colour and texture. Some inscriptions peep out from ivy fronds; some stones have been completely suffocated by plant growth. Highgate Highgate HighgateHighgateWhere there is a regime of herbicide, tombstones don’t get covered like this but the weather still erodes them or … Continue reading SILENCED TOMBSTONES

ABSTRACT PAINTING IN THE STREETS OF EDINBURGH

 A prosperous society renews everything quickly, so there are few old things left in public places, and old things are given the heritage treatment, which makes them brand old instead of brand new. Occasionally, in neglected corners, old things remain, like these weathered signs I saw in Edinburgh.I was a graphic designer before I was … Continue reading ABSTRACT PAINTING IN THE STREETS OF EDINBURGH

AN OLD POSTCARD OF STOKE ON TRENT

Writing about Wedgwood reminded me of the postcards that you used to get in the North Staffordshire Potteries  showing the town enveloped in smoke from bottle ovens, with ironic captions like, "Fresh air from the Potteries" and "Beautiful My Country".This series of postcards was published in the 1950s by Shaws of Wolstanton, though the photos … Continue reading AN OLD POSTCARD OF STOKE ON TRENT

"POTTERY: FOR USE AND ORNAMENT." AN ENCYCLOPAEDIA ARTICLE FROM THE 1920s

This is where it all started for me: an article in Harmsworth's Universal Encyclopaedia.  It was my father's, and on rainy days in the school holidays I would browse in it. The encyclopaedia was published by Lord Northcliffe, the newspaper magnate who founded the Daily Mail, and was edited by John Hammerton. It first came out as a fortnightly … Continue reading "POTTERY: FOR USE AND ORNAMENT." AN ENCYCLOPAEDIA ARTICLE FROM THE 1920s

HARROW CERAMICS FINAL DEGREE SHOW

Claire Cuneen: Angel.  To be auctioned for the last Harrow ceramics degree showThe Harrow ceramics course at Westminster University closes this year, 50 years after ceramics teaching started there.  The fact that something is old is no reason to keep it, but the Harrow course is widely recognised as one of the best in Britain. … Continue reading HARROW CERAMICS FINAL DEGREE SHOW

WEDGWOOD’S "BUTTERFLY BLOOM" AND SUBVERSIVE DESIGN

Plates from Wedgwood's "Butterfly Bloom" rangeWedgwood's current design Butterfly Bloom illustrates the constant trade between artists and industry, the studio and the factory, that takes place in ceramics.Butterfly Bloom celebrates and recapitulates Wedgwood's 250-year history, taking elements of traditional transfer-printed designs and, in effect, quoting them on contemporary products by arranging fragments of them asymmetrically. … Continue reading WEDGWOOD’S "BUTTERFLY BLOOM" AND SUBVERSIVE DESIGN