In yesterday's post we looked at ceramic pieces and in particular at the inspirations that may derive from studying tea sets.
Let's continue the thread for another day with a very different collection of ceramic pieces, the one stored at the Wedgwood Museum in Stoke-on-Trent.
Josiah Wedgwood launched the idea of starting the collection in 1774, twenty five years after he had founded the Wedgwood company, famous for developing innovative pottery such as its trademark jasperware, characterised by white motifs on pale blue, lilac and green backgrounds.
The collection was opened in 1906; access to the public was granted in 1952, while a visitor centre and an art gallery, a cinema and a demonstration hall were added in the '70s.
The Wedgwood Museum expanded in more recent years: at the moment it is considered as one of the greatest ceramics collections in the world, boasting 8,000 historical ceramic pieces - from tea sets and ornamental vases to flowerpots, biscuit and creamware and rare designs by modern artists, without forgetting the early experiments and trials for new bodies and grazes by Josiah Wedgwood I (check out for example his trays of potsherds, with striking shades of blues and greens).
Being focused on the production of ceramics in a key area of Great Britain, the collection also looks at the achievements of the Industrial Revolution and the museum also stores manuscripts (over 75,000), documents and models, factory equipment, photographic records and paintings.
Despite winning the Art Fund Prize in 2009 and being considered by Unesco as a collection "unparalleled in its diversity and breadth", the institution is due to be sold to meet pension debts and the British Art Fund has just announced a fund-raising campaign to find the £2.74m that may save the collection and save it from being dispersed.
It is possible to search the museum collection online and marvel at the beauty of some of the pieces, but creative minds on the lookout for an art and ceramic connection should know that quite often Wedgwood commissioned collections of exclusive pieces to distinguished artists, including George Stubbs, Emile Lessore, Walter Crane and, in more recent times, Rex Whistler, Eric Ravilious, Edward Bawden and Sir Eduardo Paolozzi.
Paolozzi designed a few pieces for Wedgewood and, since we have looked in previous posts at the connections between this artist and fashion and textiles, it seems apt to look also at the designs he created for Wedgwood.
His "Kalkulium Suite" collection featured multi-coloured yet minimalist and neatly arranged geometric designs based on electrical components; the "Quetzalotal" mug and plate were instead more complex and intricate as they were inspired by the art of the Aztec civilization.
Paolozzi's "Variation on a Geometric Theme" series designed in the 1970s comprised six silk screen printed bone china plates, each plate coming in a striking colour variation (and each one covered in a neon pink cloth sleeve).
The graphically visionary and geometric motifs mixing tradition, technology and science that Paolozzi created for his "Variations" could easily be adapted to a fashion collection or to fashionable accessories and confirm Wedgwood as one of the most important resources not just for ceramicists, but for all creative minds. Member of the Boxxet Network of Blogs, Videos and Photos
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