Bebe Bradley's picture

CLAY: A Festival of Ceramics

Meet the makers, browse and buy at Devon Pop Ups’ vibrant annual celebration of ceramics, showcasing the work of over 60 leading ceramic artists from across the South West. The stunning Victorian Pannier Market in Barnstaple provides the historic setting for Clay: A Festival of Ceramics' second year, on Sunday, 1st July 2018. The event celebrates the work of ceramicists from across the region and provides a platform to demonstrate the breadth of exciting work being produced.

Eleanor Crane - Cobalt Lidded Vessels

The festival also aims to raise awareness of the importance of ceramics to North Devon historically. North Devon was once famed for its earthenware pots which sailed across to the New World as far back as the 17th Century. Fast forward to today and the area boasts an abundance of renowned contemporary ceramicists. This event is aimed at celebrating that rich history, both past and present, and there will be some ancient artefacts at the event with a pop-up style museum from The Museum of Barnstaple & North Devon.

Russell Kingston - Plates

One of the highlights of the day will be the opportunity to meet Tom Knowles Jackson, one of the finalists of the BBC's show The Great Pottery Throw Down. Based in The Cotswolds, Tom specializes in beautiful stoneware for the home and garden, and he will be taking part in a blind throwing challenge where competitors will have just ten minutes at the wheel to throw the widest bowl they can whilst blindfolded. Tom is part of a line-up of over 60 exhibitors showcasing a range of functional and decorative ceramics, handmade by artisans and studio potters.

There will be a host of workshops and demonstrations on offer throughout the day including a sgraffito workshop with Bideford Pottery's Nick Juniper. The sgraffito style of decoration has been used on North Devon pottery since the 17th century so fitting that this tradition be celebrated at the festival. Visitors to the festival will be able to practice hands-on and discover fundamental pottery skills, with a potter’s wheel 'experience' with tutors from Tarka Pottery of Torrington. Taz Pollard and Nicola Crocker from North Devon Ceramics Academy and Studio will be hosting a taster workshop to create stunning tiles using slip, stamps and stencils.

Mel Chambers - Alchemy Tiles

This year’s Festival of Ceramics will also see the launch of some brand new collaborative work from Nick Juniper of Bideford Pottery and fine artist Vicki Weight-Short of Eirlys & May Illustration. The collaboration was commissioned by Devon Pop Ups and is designed to bring creatives together, who work in different mediums, to create a new body of work. The work will be launched at Clay: A Festival of Ceramics and, later in the year, showcased at Jill Rousseau Gallery in Bideford. Harry and Nick Juniper from the Bideford Pottery have also created the Trophy that is awarded to the talented recipients in a number of categories at the festival. The much-coveted awards include 'The One to Watch' presented by White Moose Gallery of Barnstaple, the 'Award for Innovation' presented by Jill Rousseau Gallery of Bideford, the 'Makers Choice Award' presented by North Devon Ceramics Academy and Studio of South Molton, and the 'Future Trend Award' presented by Josie’s of Bideford.

Nick Juniper & Vicki Weight-Short

Alongside the exciting line-up of exhibitors at the event, there will also be a range of temptingly tasty food stands and fresh, 'proper' coffee available to sustain visitors and exhibitors throughout the day. The festival is complemented by a range of satellite events, aimed to engage people interested in the handmade and homemade. This includes Feast, an artisan dining experience which launches the festival on Saturday 30th June. Feast will see one of the brightest stars of the North Devon culinary scene - Block on Butcher's Row in Barnstaple - setting imaginations alight with a mouth-watering meal and memorable Middle Eastern dining experience. The ticket price of £35 per person includes a special limited edition, handmade plate by Russell Kingston Ceramics (RRP £25). Russell was the winner of the Maker's Choice Award at the 2017 Festival, awarded by North Devon Ceramics Academy & Studio.

For more information and to book for Feast, visit: