Inviting a dialogue between mentor and apprentice, the exhibition presents works by potter Lisa Hammond MBE and three of her former students to explore the passing of knowledge between makers. For the past 28 years Hammond has championed the revival of studio pottery in the UK alongside her own practice, driven by a commitment to share her expertise and skills with the next generation of potters.
Since 2009, Hammond has run the apprenticeship scheme ‘Adopt a Potter’, with a clear ambition – to help ceramic students bridge the skills gap between completion of their higher education courses and setting up their own studios. Established with the aim to safeguard the future of studio pottery, Hammond formed the charity in response to the significant demise in ceramic departments and training for aspiring studio potters in the UK.
Following this, in 2017, Hammond founded Clay College Stoke, a skills-based, full-time ceramics course offering students the opportunity to study intensively for two years and to learn from the best national and international potters. With an emphasis on core skills and the use of materials, students are provided the time to develop necessary practical, technical, and business skills to become fully self-sufficient makers.
‘Future Perfect’ is an important celebration of Hammond’s practice and her significant contribution to studio pottery and the pursuit of ceramic skills. Presented alongside Hammond, the works of her three apprentices each demonstrate their distinct practices, whilst expressing narratives driven by connections with material, process, and experimentation. Together, they question our perception towards the functional and reflect the importance of rediscovering tradition; offering a glimpse towards the future of making to come.
About the Makers
Lisa Hammond MBE
Lisa Hammond MBE is a potter whose practice spans 40 years, in which time she has taught extensively, taken on nearly a dozen apprentices and pioneered soda glaze and shino firings. Her work embraces an extensive range of thrown functional ware for the preparation, cooking, and serving of food. Her work is authentic, a product of experience, close attention, and relentless practice. Hammond’s finished works achieve a quality within the surface that embodies the original softness of the wet clay and celebrates the artist’s personal touch.
Hammond has established a position of prestige amongst her peers and is recognized as one of the leading potters in the UK today. With a reputation for being the most driven of potters, an ability to constantly challenge her practice has seen Hammond develop a range of work inspired by the Mino pots of Japan, using Shino glazes fired alongside slipware pots in the soda kiln.
She is Honorary Fellow of the Craft Potter’s Association of Britain; Founder and Chair of Adopt a Potter Charitable Trust; Founder of the not for profit Clay College Stoke; her work has been shown in the National Gallery, London, UK and Tate Liverpool, UK and represented widely in galleries, museums, and collections in the UK and worldwide, including a prestigious solo exhibition at Mashiko Museum, Japan in 2009. In 2016, Hammond was awarded an MBE for her services to Ceramics and the preservation of the Crafts.
Florian Gadsby works from his studio in North London. Firing with a gas kiln he creates hand thrown stoneware, functional pottery, singular objects, and vessel collections. Alongside the practice of making pots, he also creates informative videos and documents his work online to an audience of 2.5 million people across several social media platforms. Sharing the techniques central to his creations, these videos discuss and delve more thoroughly into his ideas and making practice. Observed with a devotion to process, his work is characterised by simple forms, straight shapes, protruding lines and sharp edges upon which his reduction fired glazes can react. Gadsby combines material investigation and interpretation to reflect on the shaping of object experience. His works contemplate ceramic’s inherent qualities and the subtleties characterising his formal manipulations.
Gadsby studied at the DCCoI Ceramics Skills and Design Training course in Thomastown, Ireland. He apprenticed to Lisa Hammond MBE from 2014 to 2017, learning to raw glaze and soda fire. A six-month apprenticeship followed in Mashiko, Japan, with Ken Matsuzaki, where he trained to use a traditional kick wheel.
One of Lisa Hammond‘s most recent apprentices, Francis Lloyd-Jones is pursuing his attention to the traditions embodied within vessels and our innate understanding of material. His works are informed by a concern for the functional object; ceramics made for use yet also shaped by the past. Featuring remnants of utility, Lloyd-Jones has repurposed defunct components to establish new visions. Imbued with subtlety, his work occupies a space of contentment against the routine of our everyday lives. Combining a palette of muted glazes, Francis Lloyd-Jones presents a selection of works that speak of his apprenticeship with Lisa Hammond at Maze Hill Pottery and recent developments using salt and soda firing processes. Seeking a balance between looseness and definition, his work draws on opposing states of clay within a single piece to explore encounters of the habitual.
Francis Lloyd-Jones studied Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art. He then completed a two-year Ceramic Skills and Design Course in Thomastown, Ireland. He is a selected member of the Craft Potters Association and has been short listed for the Heritage Crafts Trainee of the Year 2021. Recent group exhibitions include Ones to Watch, Clay College Stoke, Ash Ember Flame, Embassy of Japan, London. Francis lives and works in South London.
Influenced by the rich history of English mid 20th century studio ceramics and glassware, Darren Ellis’ practice is driven by a consideration for functionality; for the preparation, cooking, storing and serving of food. His forms seek to lift the mundane into a thing of beauty, objects that are a pleasure to touch, hold and above all use. It is this dedication to the utilitarian that informs his making; pieces fired in a reduction atmosphere at high temperatures where high iron and white clay bodies are vitrified into stoneware. With form and surface finish complimenting functionality, Darren Ellis has developed glazes related to traditional Celadons in juxtaposition with the warm tones of the bare clay surfaces.
After graduating from the University of Wolverhampton, Darren Ellis joined Lisa Hammond as an apprentice and studied between 2009 and 2012. This formative period led to Ellis supporting the development and opening of Clay College Stoke, with the aim to help aspiring makers who face the closure of many ceramic departments in further education. Darren Ellis’ current studio space is at Lisa Hammond’s Maze Hill Pottery in Greenwich, London.
Image: Lisa Hammond MBE in the studio, 2021. Photo: Florian Gadsby