THEY'VE gone potty about pots at the Burton Art Gallery where there's a superb opportunity to see new work based on traditional North Devon pottery by some of the area's top ceramicists.
Sought-after potters from the West Country and beyond have been inspired to produce new pots based on historic North Devon ceramics.
Philip Leach, John Hudson, Hannah McAndrew, Nick Juniper, Jason Shackleton, Brian Dickenson, Niek Hoogland, Jennie Hale, Maggie Curtis, Margaret Brampton and Sandy Brown have made new ceramics drawing upon nautical themes, shipping, fisheries and the Atlantic Ocean.
The exhibition, called Pots, Fish And Ships, builds on the success of the North Devon Pottery Festival last September. Fresh contemporary works are complemented by historic materials sourced from the Burton's own RJ Lloyd Collection as well as other local museums and private collections.
North Devon pottery is embedded deep within the heritage of the local area and even reaches out as far a field as America.
Thousands of North Devon dishes, jugs, candlesticks, pancheons and other utensils have been exported from Bideford over the past 400 years. Woollen goods, pottery and people went out; tobacco and sugar came back, with Bideford ship owners and sponsors at the centre of the trade.
Co-curated by John Edgler and Ruth Spires, the exhibition explores these themes by contrasting the contemporary with the old.
"Bideford has always been at the centre of the North Devon pottery story, since medieval times," said Ruth. "It is a fantastic opportunity to show how contemporary potters continue to be embedded in North Devon's history and culture."
The exhibition includes decorated themed slipwares: baluster jars, mugs, bottles, jugs and bowls.
Pots, Fish And Ships runs until March 24 at the Burton Art Gallery and Museum, Bideford. Taz Pollard will be leading a day-long workshop, Contemporary Sgraffito and Decoration on March 1 and Harry Juniper is offering a workshop on Traditional Sgraffito on the March 15. On March 22 David Dawson will be hosting a free drop in session discussing North Devon Pottery and also identifying sherds – so take in your findings.