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Ceramics & Glass Graduate Work Showcased at China Craft Week and West Bund Expo

In collaboration with China Design Centre, the Royal College of Art is showcasing 2018 Ceramics & Glass MA graduate work at China Craft Week, Hangzhou from 1–5 November and West Bund Expo, Shanghai from the 8–11 November. The selected pieces celebrate diverse approaches to making, across traditional and innovative new processes, and demonstrate a deep understanding of the political, emotional and cultural significance of the objects and materials in our lives.

‘This showcase is a great opportunity to see the diverse and exciting work that students produce on the Ceramics & Glass MA Programme at the RCA,’ commented Felicity Aylieff, Senior Tutor (Research) for MA Ceramics & Glass. ‘It’s also a fantastic opportunity for our graduates to exhibit their work to an international audience. The Programme is founded on a belief in the transformative capabilities of material thinking, research and making. We support students to find their own approach and the graduate work exhibited demonstrates the diversity of contemporary practice we support.’

China Craft Week, now in its second year, is an international platform that facilitates cultural interaction between designers and craftspeople from all over the world. It promotes craft innovation in China through bringing together established and emerging designers, and fostering a cross-cultural exchange of ideas, knowledge and expertise, between China, UK and the rest of the world.

The featured students include Celia Dowson who uses black-and-white porcelain to evoke the seascapes she has encountered walking the Gower Peninsula in Wales. Her collection explores the marks, tone and contrast achievable though combining porcelains. It also features pieces made from cast glass, whose translucent qualities reflect the colours, changing light and mystery of this wild landscape.

The materiality of clay – its malleability, compliance and sensuality – are the focus on Judy McKenzie’s work. Her pieces explore the processes of Nerikomi and Kintsugi to create unique and decorative ceramic objects. Nerikomi is a hand-building technique which uses coloured clay to create unique patterns within the material. Kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery, is interpreted by McKenzie as a precious scar that reminds us of the strength and beauty that exists in fragility.

Taking a found object as a starting point, Theis Lorentzen’s project Foreign explores a range of processes involved in ceramic production, making visible processes that are often erased in finishing. The qualities achieved through scanning, CNC milling and mould making are accentuated through the application of glaze and colour and seams are left in place to reveal the journey through which the objects came to life.

Hua Wang’s experimental practice can be seen as a testing ground for ceramics as well as a conceptual laboratory that investigates diverse personal, social and political themes. Using a range of different types of clay and methods of making she explores philosophical ideas such as the increasing materialism and obsolescence of our society and the effects of the digital revolution on contemporary ways of living.

Alongside the display of RCA graduate work, at China Craft Week there will also be the opportunity to join masterclasses and workshops showcasing the skills of these graduates, Hua Wang, Judy McKenzie, Theis Lorentzen and Celia Dowson, alongside Felicity Aylieff, who is recognised for her research into large scale ceramics.

Work from students will also be exhibited at West Bund Expo the flagship event of the burgeoning West Bund art district along the Xuhui District riverfront in Shanghai. The fifth edition of this international fair will feature more than 110 leading international galleries from 43 cities across Asia, Europe, North America and South America presenting the highest calibre of contemporary art. The exhibition tour will end at Coast Gallery, Zhuhai, Guangdong province.

Find out more about MA Ceramics & Glass at the RCA and how to apply.