Ceramics in the City at the Geffrye Museum – preview

Bloodhound Hank by Ostinelli & Priest

Bloodhound Hank by Ostinelli & Priest. Image: Geffrye Museum

Clay dogs and light installations are this month taking up residence at the Geffrye Museum, offering a new reason to visit this often forgotten about exhibition space.

The annual Ceramics in the City event showcases work from the best potters in the country, and all exhibits are up for sale. The hand-selected art ranges in price from £10 to £1,000, rivalling the ever-popular Affordable Art Fair for crafts that won’t put you out of pocket.

The exhibition has been running for 10 years, and is the only ceramics show of its kind in London.

Set up by urban pioneer Karen Bunting, who helped transform Hackney in to a creative centre by establishing artists’ collectives in the East End, the show continues to reel in visitors from all over.

This year 50 artists will have their work on display, with everything from kitchen plates to life-size statues of dogs up for sale. Some of the art leans towards the surreal, with bulbous pottery lights that cast patterns on the floor and hand-made showpieces modeled out of twirling burnt clay.

Although the pioneering show now runs smoothly, it has in the past presented some challenges.

“The first year was a bit hairy,” says Ms Bunting, “as I was somewhat over enthusiastic about how many exhibitors we could accommodate and consequently everyone was rather squeezed by the jowl. We’ve also had breakages over the years but remarkably few. One potter had wired up her lamps incorrectly, and every time they were turned on they blew the fuses and plunged the entire hall into total darkness. Not good with a lot of highly priced breakables about.”

Over time the operation has become slicker and the number of artists who apply has skyrocketed. With each potter’s work hand-picked by Bunting and her team, visitors can rest assured they are seeing some of the very best home ceramics around.

Ceramics in the City will be at the Geffrye Museum, 136 Kingsland Road, E2 8EA, from 20-22 September. Admission is free.