Simon Taylor, filet-O-Fish. Artwork at Manchester Open Exhibition at HOME 2024

Top 5 from Manchester Open Art Exhibition at HOME

Our top picks from 2024’s Manchester Open Art Exhibition at HOME. There are 490 works in this exhibition, picking the top ones isn’t easy. In fact, it’s much more of a ‘5 pieces I like in the exhibition’, than a ‘top 5’. If we had lots of awards and lavish pots of money to give our top 5, we’d be giving it to them. But unfortunately they’ll have to do with my wispy digital praise and a theoretical pat on the back. I’d put all of these on my own walls if they were mountable.

Jane McKeating, Three Chairs in the Studio.

This one struck me quite early on in the exhibition, possibly because it was near the beginning, at number 11. But more so because of it’s kind of depressing, possibly macabre atmosphere of empty chairs in a desolate room, with a littered floor of paper, crumbs and mugs. Add stripes to the chairs and you’ve got me. I love the styling and the questions it induces for me keep me intrigued. As it’s sold I won’t be able to buy it, but I did envisage it on my wall.

Freya Wysocki, Lurch.

Freya Wysocki, Lurch. Artwork at Manchester Open Exhibition at HOME 2024

There’s nothing more fun than a furry painting made of carpet that’s smiling at you upside down. Even it’s belly button smiles. Playing with perspective, this big hairy legged, bendy, orangey-brown bikinied person jumps into a swimming pool, which for some reason has large lipped fish in it. There are drips that aren’t part of it, and it’s carpet texture makes it naff, which just enhances it’s charm. This one makes me smile and reminds me to have fun and not take things too seriously.

Ann Lines ‘Time for Tea’.

Ann Lines 'Time for Tea'. Artwork at Manchester Open Exhibition at HOME 2024

As a potter, craft is important to me in any artwork. A teapot is an object that requires one of the highest levels of craftsmanship in ceramics. This meticulously crafted teapot, not made out of ceramic, but paper, is intricately layered and delicately dainty. Clearly some great skill has gone into making this, but very different from the skills needed to make a teapot from clay. It’s time for tea and if you put tea in this teapot, it would likely turn into mulch after a short period of time. Which wouldn’t make good tea at all. Maybe not it’s intention, but it’s uselessness points me back to the ceramic teapot, which functional by nature, ends up on a shelf unused since the invention of the bleached teabag. I haven’t appreciated paper so much before.

Ella Booth-Pryce, Fridge.

For some reason, I didn’t notice one of the biggest pieces in the exhibition the first time I went round. Maybe because my piece was in front of it, or maybe I thought that’s where the curator’s put their lunch. You can buy this handmade paper fridge for the price of a real fridge, except with it’s contents included for free. There’s something about the handmade nature of this piece that appeals to me as a potter, with the time, care and attention to detail in the making process. With it’s wobbly edges and wonky writing, it is scaled naivety and imperfection, and makes me want a paper version of all my things at home too.

Simon Taylor, filet-O-Fish. Artwork at Manchester Open Exhibition at HOME 2024

Simon Taylor, Filet-O-Fish.

This last one beamed out to me, you can tell its a painting, yet it seems so real, that the bun a crumb texture make me salivate. You know it’s a good painting when it appeals to your desires and evokes deep emotions. In all it’s deliciousness it makes me hungry and there’s just something funny about that.

So that’s my top 5 from the Manchester Open Art Exhibition. If you haven’t seen the exhibition, or, like me, you missed many pieces the first time you went, then it’s on until the end of April. There more details about Manchester Open here.

Striped layered clay nerikomi bowl handmade by ceramicist Sam Andrew

Manchester Open at HOME

In one of Manchester’s most visited exhibitions, and 4,377 visitors in 2024’s opening weekend, Manchester Open is HOME’s flagship exhibition that runs every 2 years. From prints and painting to ceramics and digital art, this year showcases a whopping 480 artworks. The artworks are created by an eclectic mix of locals with any experience level and background, including established professionals, students, graduates, new and emerging talent, enthusiastic amateurs and first-time artists. 4 of our own associated artist’s works are featured. Visit Tue – Sat 12:00 – 20:00 and Sun 12:00 – 18:00 every week until 28th April 2024.

Read our Top 5 artworks from Manchester Open Art Exhibition

Download the Manchester Open 2024 Gallery Guide

Download the LARGE PRINT Manchester Open Gallery Guide 2024

Visit the Manchester Open web page

Clay face with paint coming out of eyes and mouth, art by William Cobbing

British Ceramics Biennial 2023

Black ceramic art pieces by Osman Yousefzada

The British Ceramics Biennial, likely the UK’s top pottery and ceramic art show, based in Stoke-on-Trent, the town of the potteries, is opening this month for it’s 6 week show. This year the exhibition is placed within All Saint’s Church and 3 additional venues, where 10 top UK ceramicists compete for a £10,000 prize, 25 new ceramicists selected from over 300 applications are shown in ‘FRESH’, Winner of the British Ceramics Biennial 2021 Award, Stephen Dixon, returns to present Istoriato: culture and conflict , 3 artists selected from 2021’s Fresh exhibition will present works made on residencies they were awarded, as well as many other exhibits commissioned by the festival by artists William Cobbing, Osman Yousefzada, Neil Brownsword, and Nina Thomas, among artist talks and performances.

The British Ceramics Biennial shows innovative ceramics practice in a festival of contemporary ceramics that takes place in Stoke-on-Trent. Initiated in 2009, the BCB festival has grown to be the single largest contemporary ceramics event in the UK. They present artworks from the UK’s leading ceramicists alongside work by international artists, in exhibitions and special events held across the city every two years.


British Ceramics Biennial past years

Past year’s have seen a massive variety in the kind and types of work made, such as the large head created by Steve Dixon in 2015, Lee Kang-hyo’s unusual and energetic decorative techniques upon a monumental ongii jar at the opening of the 2017 BCB, or the winner of 2019’s award exhibition Vicky Lindo, with “Dead Dad Book”, which consisted of white clay and coloured sgraffito designed pots including the above. “The Dead Dad Book is based on research into the life of Vicky’s late father, Michael Anthony (Mick) Lindo, who travelled alone to England from Jamaica as part of the Windrush Generation, when he was just 11 years-old. One day, whilst dealing with trauma and alcohol addiction, Mick disappeared – leaving his wife and four children. After not hearing from him in years, Vicky was told that her father had passed away. Seven years after his death, the family learnt that he had died alone in a wood in County Wexford, Ireland.” You can read more about the Dead Dad Book on Arts Council England’s page.

Pieces of note in this year’s exhibition include Nicola Tassie’s soft shaped tessellated wall, wherein thrown pots have been reshaped and glazed in a smooth satin pebble like surface, and stacked in a dry stone wall like fashion; and Rebecca Appleby’s large degraded sphere’s that appear like overgrown and dilapidated planets. A short walk away from the main exhibition at airspace gallery is the videos of William Cobbing, binding body and clay that elicit mixed feelings that are repulsive, sensuous and humorous.

In the 2023 exhibition you can watch videos from each of the award finalist about the production of their works on the BCB’s player.

Sculptural ceramic art piece with orange triangle pattern made by artist and potter Sam Andrew at 7 limes Pottery Manchester

Trace Exhibition Omved Gardens, in pictures

Trace, an exhibition by Thrown Contemporary and collaborators, was set in the beautiful glass houses at Omved Gardens in Highgate London, during Chelsea Fringe Festival. The sun beaming down lit the space brightly, with vegetative flowering, by sustainable floral design studio Meta Fleur, adorning it’s plinths, hanging from struts, and intertwining between art pieces throughout. Alongside a host of events, including supper evenings, pot making, and fermentation workshops among others, 12 distinctive art collections came together. From natural ink painting’s to exceptionally blown glass, Thrown’s main discipline is presenting ceramic works and exhibiting pottery from upcoming and established ceramicists and potters.

Barcelona based Roger Coll’s curvaceous tubular ceramic sculptures appeared throughout with different brightly coloured matt and gloss surfaces, and use various hand-builidng, mould making and slip casting techniques. John Mackenzie’s traditional wood fired wheel thrown pots, with ash glazes, are fired in his own built anagama style wood firing kiln. His pieces followed him to Stoke on Trent’s Clay College Stoke, for a teaching workshop, a college originally set up by Kevin Millward and Lisa Hammond. Our own Sam Andrew’s sculptural nerikomi pots featured prominently and was the first time he presented work on this scale. All his pieces were made in studio in 7 Limes Pottery’s kilns. Made from years old waste material of nerikomi batches, where clay slabs are meticulously layered, compressed, sliced and pressed, the waste of which is joined together and manipulated to form large belied and highly patterned forms. Sam’s work combines hybrid pottery making methods of press-moulding, slabbing, coiling and throwing to achieve the sculptural pots and surfaces.

See Trace’s exhibition catalogue below for a more in-depth read about the exhibition and it’s artists.

Featured image credit Will Hearle.

Strange Clay at the Hayward Gallery 26 Oct 2022 –⁠ 8 Jan 2023

26 Oct 2022 –⁠ 8 Jan 2023

Hayward Gallery, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX

Strange Clay: Ceramics in Contemporary Art is the first large-scale group exhibition in the UK exploring how contemporary artists have used clay in unexpected ways.”

“The artworks on show encompass fantastical creatures and uncanny representations of the everyday, as well as ranging from small abstract works to large-scale installations that take the medium beyond the kiln.

Strange Clay explores the possibilities of thinking through making.

The artworks vary in scale, finish and technique, and address topics that range from architecture, to social justice, the body, the domestic and the organic.

While contributing to the broadening dialogue between art and craft, this exhibition provides a closer look at this tactile medium.”

Ticket price £15