Bringing movement to the traditional forms of pottery has always been on James Lawton’s mind. Early work has floating furniture, falling pots, and clothing flying by as if inhabited by the Invisible Man. In many pieces, there are several constructed forms coming together to make a flowing, cohesive statement, while always maintaining the utilitarian functionality of his vessels, teapots, vases, and flasks.
In England, where Richard Batterham was born in 1936, he is considered the leading living maker of domestic stoneware. It’s a reputation that has been made by a life spent diligently working with discipline and talent to perfect his functional forms and lovely muted glazes.
Interested in craft and design from a young age, Richard studied at the Bryanston School. He was taught pottery by Donald Potter who had worked with Eric Gill and Michael Cardew. After his National Service, he apprenticed with Bernard Leach at St. Ives for two years. He married Dinah Dunn in 1959, and they set up housekeeping in Durweston, Dorset.
“The 1960s was an unbelievable period in American life. No one can imagine the full extent of the social forces of change at work during this time without living it. On my trips to San Francisco, I experienced the full bloom of hippie life. The Vietnam War, with all its social unrest, had powerful ramifications throughout the USA in daily life and in academia. Furthermore, there was a dramatic surge in the Bay Area into funk art, which manifested itself in ceramics through the use of bright colors, erotic images, narrative and the use of mixed media…It was a direction that worked perfectly for me and gave me the freedom to let my craziness run amok. I became my own man and expressed my sarcastic wit through images and titles in my artwork.”
Artist Statement from 1980 exhibition of plates at the Clay Studio in Philadelphia
“For over forty years I have been compelled to make these curious forms. Usually, they are vases but sometimes they become teapots, bowls or jugs and sometimes they don't have a name. Their creation has given me joy, despair, friends, money, and backache.”
- Geoffrey Swindell
Thomas Hoadley, creator of the "Brown Florentine Bowl" in the Bailey Collection of Contemporary Ceramics, is a master of the Japanese art of Nerikomi. In 1979 when our Mystery Pot 34 was made, Thomas Hoadley had completed a degree in Studio Art from Amherst College, traveled extensively in Europe, apprenticed with Karatsu style wood fired potter Malcolm Wright, and completed a Masters degree in Ceramics from Illinois State University. The young family moved to the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts after graduate school and Thomas set up his own pottery studio.