Sarah McLeary

Ceramics and Architecture

Centre of Ceramic Art


Last week I was in York and visited the newly refurbished Art Gallery, which is also host to the brand new Centre of Ceramic Arts. It is large! You can take photos! I would recommend an all day trip, not running round in an hour with a camera which runs out of battery halfway through.

I have scanned and uploaded the brochure to flickr here for those who are interested in learning where the work has come from.

There are so many pots to look at, including an incredible installation my Clare Twomey, which is formed from 10 000 bowls. It reflects the 10 000 hours it takes to become ‘expert’ at something.



There are pots by every great studio potter of the 20th century, highlights for me were the pots by Hans Coper


So strong and elegant, I love the subtle surface details which elevate the form.

Also a tree pot by Bernard Leach [lots more Leach work too, including an amazing tile panel]



Shoji Hamada pots


More Bernard Leach among others


There were pots you could handle, including this small Paul Scott figurine, a study for a larger work of his behind glass.

The CoCA has been heavily advertised in the Ceramic Review, I had been looking forward to visiting for about a year really, and it was fantastic. I’ll definitely visit again when I’m next seeing my family, I’d definitely take a sketchbook and a fully charged camera battery! I’d also leave myself much more time, there’s so much to see. The work is largely grouped by bequeathment or by ‘themes’, and there is a ‘ceramic spectrum’ wall which is stunning – again behind glass – but unfortunately the curators have decided to label via digital touchscreens, which is a pain if you’re photographing the work.

The Anthony Shaw collection is laid out in a domestic setting, mixed in with books, prints and all sorts of ephemera – sea urchins and the like – and bespoke furniture, which really brings you into close contact with the pots, it’s a beautiful thing. It also made me very envious of people who have nice big houses with natural light to exhibit their lovely artwork. These pots are to be lived with and used, looked at and loved, we’re very lucky that collectors have chosen to share their beloved objects with all of us.


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This entry was posted on August 27, 2015 by in architecture, pottery.
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