International Ceramics Festival

26 June 2013

Castle Pot by the Japanese artist Keiko Masumoto, who is currently the Toshiba Japanese Ceramics Resident at the V&A Museum, London.
Castle Pot by the Japanese artist Keiko Masumoto, who is currently the Toshiba Japanese Ceramics Resident at the V&A Museum, London.

The International Ceramics Festival returns to the Arts Centre this weekend – Friday 28 until Sunday 30 June.

As ever, there is an amazing line-up of demonstrators for the 2013 Festival.   With guest artists from the USA, Korea, China, Spain, Poland, New Zealand and from throughout the UK, it truly lives up to its ‘international’ title. 

The ICF is held every other year at Aberystwyth Arts Centre. Since it began in 1987 the three-day event has grown and grown in size and stature. It offers teachers, students, ceramic artists, collectors, working potters and amateurs the chance to meet and study the work of distinguished, internationally known potters and ceramicists from Wales, the UK and around the world.

The Festival regularly attracts 1000 visitors from around the globe who attend lectures, watch practical demonstrations and visit special exhibitions over one jam-packed weekend. The international demonstrators show skills and techniques on a specially adapted stage which is relayed onto a big screen to enable a bird’s eye view of their technique.

 They also have their own workspaces, enabling personal discussion about their work with festival goers. The focus is both practical and inspirational – kilns are built, pots are made and fired, contacts and friendships made and renewed.

Among the firing events to enjoy this year are New Zealanders Peter Lange and Duncan Shearer’s firing of a ‘Phone Book Kiln’ on Saturday evening, created with 150 phone directories. They will also be firing a Potato kiln - a spectacle of sight, sound, taste and smell to start the festival with!

Peter’s last visit to the festival in 2005 saw him create an ice kiln, so he is well known for exciting and unexpected kiln techniques!  Joining them on the kiln site will be Jeremy Steward who will be building a firing a wood-fired soda kiln. 

Mick Morgan will be giving festival goers an opportunity to get stuck in themselves with French clay, adding a white slip and wood firing in an experimental kiln based on the traditional Greek method of post-fire smoking, to give a distinctive black and orange finish.

Demonstrators on the 2013 main stage - who will each also give a lecture, have their workspaces open to the public all weekend and show work in the Guest Exhibition – include Beth Cavener Stichter (USA), Richard Notkin (USA), Doug Fitch (UK), Sung Jae Choi (Korea), Rafael Perez (Spain), Takeshi Yasuda (China), Virginia Scotchie (USA), Monika Patuszynska (Poland) Steve Dixon (UK), Jitka Palmer (UK), Conor Wilson (UK)  and we are very pleased to welcome V&A artist in residence Keiko Masumoto (Japan) in collaboration with the London Museum.

Two special awards are made during each Festival. Firstly, a Lifetime Achievement Award is made to recognise a ceramic artist or potter who has made a major contribution to the world of ceramics.  The 2011 Award was given to Emanuel Cooper, whilst previous winners have included Don Reitz, Ruth Duckworth, David Leach, Frank and Janet Hamer, Janet Mansfield, Warren McKenzie, Michael Casson and Ray Finch. During the 2011 festival all delegates had an opportunity to nominate a potter for the 2013 award, the results of which will be announced at the 2013 Opening Ceremony.

The second award is the Potclays Emerging Makers Award, open to a new potters and artists working with clay who have graduated from college within the past five years, and provides a fantastic opportunity to present a project or firing at the Festival, working alongside the world’s most respected artists.  Winners this year will be awarded a residency in New Zealand (in collaboration with the Waikato Potters Association) and USA (in collaboration with the Archie Bray Foundation).

As well as demonstrations there will also be a busy programme of talks, films, and exhibitions over the Festival weekend include a buying exhibition of works from all the demonstrators. Trade stalls also enhance the programme, offering an opportunity to see and compare new equipment, tools and materials as well as purchase tried and tested products directly from the suppliers. They are also an opportunity to find out about ceramics courses from around the world, to buy specialist ceramic publications and books, and much more.

New for 2013 and and in partnership with Potclays Ltd the festival is also running a series of Student Demonstrations which offers four students the opportunity to promote their work, to gain new skills and to meet internationally known potters from across the globe.

The Festival is also promoting the work of makers using materials related to clay in our Clay+ marquee. This concept of "clay plus one other" such as glass, wood, iron or metal encourages makers to explores the link, connections, themes, forms and attractions between mediums which is becoming more apparent in many current cross-collaborative practices and higher education courses. 

Passes for the Festival weekend can be booked online via the festival’s website www.internationalceramicsfestival.org  or by calling Aberystwyth Arts Centre’s ticket office on 01970 62 32 32.  The ICF is organised by Aberystwyth Arts Centre and North and South Wales Potters.

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