Life and Still Life
In ‘Life and Still Life’, Britton showed a series of six new works in red clay alongside six earlier pieces. Surrounding these pots with 100 collected objects made by others, Britton presented her work in a conceptual framework: an innovative correspondence, slight or blatant, between the pots and the collection. Britton’s work was exhibited at the Crafts Study Centre (CSC) on low plinths, and the objects, photographs and drawings shown behind glass and on walls.
Originality was evident in developing making processes and extending scale and palette; the play of slip and glaze-pouring across the forms was bolder than in previous work. Repetitive slip-pouring is a traditional technique on batches of small functional pots, but Britton used it unconventionally and at some risk on large clay objects of irregular form.
Links between writing and making provide Britton with a rigorous to-and-fro methodology. An essay on historic Devonshire slipware (2010) was subliminal in her use of red clay. Curating ‘Three by One’ (2009) seeded the idea of exposing her collected objects with her own work. Groups of crockery and cutlery, among many single objects, enacted a visual history and language. Connections were further explored in a catalogue containing new photography and two essays, one by Britton (‘Things and work’, pp.15–29). Creating the catalogue developed Britton’s methodology; her essay questioned why she has an attachment to ordinary function without adopting it in her practice. The friction of two photographers making two kinds of photography of the same objects was key; informal and domestic in the catalogue, and public in recording the deliberate arrangement of the exhibition.
1,825 people saw the exhibition, which was reviewed in Ceramic Review (2013). Britton also gave a public talk about the show at the CSC in November 2012.