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Welcome to Ceramic Review

Ceramic Review is the magazine for contemporary and historical ceramics, ceramic art and pottery.


Ceramic Review Issue 305

September/October 2020

In this video, Ceramist Adam Buick takes us step-by-step through the processes and techniques he uses to throw and join one of his large Moon Jars. Discover how Adam makes his work in the full step-by-step masterclass inside CR 302 (March/April 2020)

My first experience with clay was at Nant-y-Cwm Steiner School in Pembrokeshire, Wales, when I was about nine – digging it straight from the earth, then processing and using it. The Steiner approach to education focuses on experiential learning: making, doing, creating and producing, with learning based on what is relevant and appropriate to the student’s stage of development. I then went on to study A-level Art through Ceramics, but my degree is actually in Archaeology and Anthropology. After graduating I returned to ceramics, first at West Wales School of Art in Carmarthen and then training on the Pottery Skills Course in Thomastown, Ireland. I had a wonderful pottery teacher at secondary school called Sandra McQueen and during my time in Carmarthen I was lucky enough to be taught by Duncan Ayscough, Ingrid Murphy, Mick Morgan and Paul Roach.

Pictured: work by Adam Buick; photograph by Layton Thompson

Pictured: Adam Buick in his studio; photograph by Layton Thompson

The amazing and invaluable skills learnt at Thomastown were predominantly taught by Gus Mableson with input from Mandy Parslow and others.

My practice revolves around the form of Moon Jars. Housed in the British Museum is a Moon Jar that Bernard Leach brought back from Seoul, one of only ten originals in

existence. Leach and his contemporaries in Japan admired it for its lack of self-consciousness, and the beauty of its slight imperfections. I was also struck by these qualities, its serenity and simplicity. I was so inspired by that Moon Jar that for the past 12 years I have made little else, not to replicate it exactly but more to capture the ephemeral qualities that the form resonated. Keeping the Confucian virtues in mind I now use this pure form as the canvas.

 

A Moon Jar is a very specific cultural and historical object. Over the years of making and interpreting them I have moved away from the title as my pieces often seem a long way away from the pure white porcelain of a true Moon Jar. My goal is to make pieces that have presence and provide a sense of place. My glazing is very varied and this is in many ways the most creative part of my practice. I have over 30 different glazes, which I mix and then use numerous raw materials that I have sourced from the local landscape. These are used at all stages of making, added into the clay body, as surface decoration and in and on the glazes.

My strongest influences stem from the archaeological and anthropological theory I learnt at university about land use and humans’ interaction with their environment. I still refer to my text books from that time. Ultimately my work is about being present within a landscape.

 

For details visit adambuick.com, @atdbuick. See his work at Sarah Myerscough Gallery, London; sarahmyerscough.com and Beaux Arts Bath; beauxartsbath.co.uk during February

Subscribe to read this article in issue Ceramic Review Issue 302 (March/April 2020)

Pictured: work by Adam Buick; photograph by Layton Thompson