Above: Fish platter by Grahame Clarke
Grahame Clarke (1942- 2014) was an artist in clay. He trained in the English studio pottery tradition, but over his lifetime he refined his process of making and decorating porcelain that was as fine and inventive as some of the greatest Chinese practitioners.
This exhibition will show a range of work kindly loaned by Grahame’s family and friends, from the earliest to the later periods of Grahame’s career. There are stunning bowls and platters decorated with scenes from nature and his environment in Norfolk as well as more abstract designs from the earlier part of his career influenced by Danish design and artists such as Eduardo Paolozzi.
Caroline Fisher says of the exhibition:
“When I was learning about porcelain in 2011-2012, Grahame kindly allowed me to assist him in his studio, as he fulfilled his final few commissions. I remember being in awe of Grahame’s skill when watching him at work; preparing clay, decorating bisque ware, and particularly throwing porcelain on his homemade kick wheel. He made it look absolutely effortless.”
“So it is a great privilege to launch this exhibition, the first to show Grahame Clarke’s work since his untimely death in 2014. The way that Grahame matched fineness of production, useable form and charming decoration is what makes his work unique. I hope that the exhibition will give people an insight into the work of this immensely talented but modest craftsman and artist.”
Grahame’s family say:
“Growing up, our father’s tableware and decorative pieces played an integral part in our home life. He always wanted his work to be practical and hardy, beautifully designed so that spouts poured properly, handles were comfortable to hold and lids fitted well. His unique glazes and shapes set the standard, and ensured we were fed from only the very best tableware. His larger vases and bowls were always generous and often humorous, latterly in porcelain featuring snapshots of his life in the Norfolk countryside. He loved ceramics in all its forms and today his work and his collaborations remind us of a special father, a skilled craftsman, and a life well lived.”
The pieces chosen for the exhibition include some of the largest and technically demanding that Grahame made. Mostly blue and white porcelain, they were fired to a high temperature to achieve the whitest porcelain and brightest blue decoration. The forms show a high degree of skill in throwing and their decoration includes natural scenes, Norfolk landmarks and more abstract and stylised designs.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a Pop-Up sale of studio pottery from the ‘60s and ‘70s from a Norwich collection. Includes functional pottery and collectors’ pieces, accessibly priced.