Earth + Fire = Vessel

On 2nd July at the inauguration of our annual Summer Exhibition, this year devoted to the ancient art of Ceramics, we were honoured by the presence of the Mayor of Bath, Cllr Bryan Chalker, and the Mayoress, Mrs Glenys Chalker, here seen standing by two exceptional exhibits, an example of Japanese ‘Jomon’ (‘rope-patterned’ pottery, about 2,000BC), from the Museum of East Asian Art in Bath, founded by BRLSI member Bryan McElney, and to the right a pot with a conundrum. On arrival at the Roman Baths Museum it was said to be from the Sumerian city state of Ur, then the largest in the world (2030-1980 BC). It’s colour and style, however, suggest Greek or Roman origin; can anyone help?

The event was opened with an address by Michel Lee, Curator of the Museum of East Asian Art in Bath, with which the exhibition is mounted in partnership, who traced the importance to ceramics of the mastery of fire which opened the way to metallurgy and to civilization as we know it. Michel is seen here with a small porcelain panel, one of a set of twelve neatly illustrating the range of materials (stoneware, pottery and porcelain) and decorative techniques of slip and glaze, which are basic to the ceramic craft. Other guests included David Dawson of Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society, who aided us in researching the subject of ceramics, Stephen Clews, Manager of the Roman Baths which supplied some of the exhibits, and ceramicist Dr Babette Martini, who has curated past Bath Artists’ Network Association events at BRLSI and who will speak and exhibit in our forthcoming Creativity series in 2012.
The Exhibition, curated by Jude Harris and Matt Williams, and designed by Jude Harris, is open until 10th September. Our thanks are due to Jude and Matt who worked with their volunteers to give us this enjoyable exhibition which conjures a tempting journey through technologies and cultures through time.