The College's Art & Design students have worked alongside internationally renowned artist Clare Twomey to produce some of the ten thousand ceramic bowls which will be piled high to create a spectacular installation of pots inside York Art Gallery, Claire’s work will see 10,000 handmade slipcast ceramic bowls, identical in form and colour, placed on scaffolds in the new first floor mezzanine gallery which will be home to the new Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA) when the gallery re-opens in the summer.
Clare Twomey invited York College students, and other local groups, to help make the bowls which will be used to build the installation. The precarious nature of the stacked works alludes to how collections often grow and the challenges this presents to collectors. The number of bowls produced relates to the belief that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become a master craftsman.
Helen Walsh, curator of ceramics, said: “For the reopening of York Art Gallery and the launch of CoCA we wanted to have a striking and bold installation that shows ceramics in an imaginative and original way. Clare is an artist we have admired for some time and we were delighted when she agreed to create what will be a focal point for everyone coming to visit the new look gallery for the first time. Her work acknowledges the way collections can often become obsessions which grow so much they consume all the free space available to them. This was certainly the case for W.A. Ismay, whose collection of ceramics will be shown in CoCA. His fantastic collection of 3,600 works were once kept in his tiny terraced house in Wakefield, filling every room, with objects often stacked high, covering all surfaces, including the floor.”
Clare Twomey said: “I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to work with such a personally formed and rich collection. Making this work will build dialogue around the roles of the collector, objects and the communities that can appreciate them”
Helen Ventress, Head of Division for Art & Design at York College says: “Students and staff are very excited to be able to work with Clare in our ceramics studios here at the College and actually be a part of the making process for such an ambitious piece. The recent national interest in ceramic installations has captured the nations imagination and the project sounds perfect for the launch of the new look gallery. The students will gain ideas for their own work and a first-hand insight into a week in the life of a successful artist working on a fantastic commission for the city.”
The installation is part of a rich and varied opening programme of art and exhibitions at the York Art Gallery when it re-opens in the summer.