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.