Radical Clay

Date: Wednesday Aug 30, 2017 - Sunday Jun 10, 2018
Venue: Bristol Museum and Art Gallery
Gillian Lowndes, Hans Coper, Janet Leach, Lucy Rie, Pottery, Ruth Duckworth

Fifty years ago Bristol school children had the work of world-famous potters in their classrooms.

Ground-breaking pieces from some of the leading potters of the time including curious shapes by Hans Coper and Lucy Rie, and enormous thrown vases by Janet Leach were used to inspire children by showing them the very best. The collection was provided by the Schools Art Service run by Bristol Education Committee.

Radical Clay will showcase the studio pottery which formed the Schools Art Service collection, given to the museum in 2004.

The display will include ceramics by the radical potters, including Ruth Duckworth and Gillian Lowndes whose pioneering work in the late 1950s and early 1960s created a new language for ceramics.

Other work in the collection includes Bernard Leach and Michael Cardew from the first generation of studio potters as well as Lucy Rie and Hans Coper, both refugees whose timeless ceramics were highly acclaimed. The ceramic historian, Paul Rice, commenting on the collection in 2003 particularly noted the work by the women potters, Janet Leach, Ruth Duckworth (work pictured) and Gillian Lowndes as being of ‘national interest’ and often of ‘exceptional quality’.

The exhibition will also include a piece of work by Kate Malone (The Great Pottery Throw Down), made when she was a student at Henbury School in Bristol in the early 1970s. With her interest in creative education, Kate is supporting the show with a programme of talks for schools groups.

Through recent and archive film footage of pottery techniques and interviews with makers, the exhibition will explore how the collection was used in schools and helped to stimulate learning in the 1960s and ‘70s in what was to be an exciting time for the teaching of ceramics in schools.

The exhibition is part of Pioneering Pottery, a season of exhibitions, displays and events in Bath, Bristol, Cheltenham and Swindon.

Tue-Sun 10am-5pm. Closed Mondays except Bank Holiday Mondays and Mondays during Bristol school holidays 10am-5pm. Pay what you think. For more info, visit

By steve wright, Friday Jul 14, 2017

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