Literature Review








  • (1) 500 Figures In Clay…Ceramic Artists Celebrate the Human FormA Lark Ceramics Book: Uclan uni Library, reference 731.82 fiv – New York : Lark, 2004
  • (2) The Figure in Clay…..Contemporary Sculpting Techniques by Master Artists A Lark Ceramics Book: Uclan uni Library, reference 731.82 fig – New York : Lark; Poole : Chris Lloyd [distributor], 2005 .
  • (3) Modelling the Head In clay…Bruno Cucchesi, Margit Malmstrom, Watson – Guptill Publications 1996  
  • (4) Ceramics…Mastering the craft, by Richard Zakin
  • (5)  Ceramic Figures, by Michael Flyn
  • (6) The Human Form In clay, by Jane Waller Crowood 2001
  • (7)  500 Animals in Clay, Lark Books, Suzanne J E Tourillot
  • (8) Modern British potters and their studios, By David Whiting
  • (9)  Path of Ideas By linda Huey, NCECA journal 2010 p29 and p143
  • (10) Ceramic Form, Design & Decoration By Peter Lane 1998







MA Ceramics  

Course Leader Dave Binns

Module Code DE4201 November 2010

Sculptural boundaries, taste and perception.

Is commercial sculpture art or a slur on aesthetic values and contemporary design?
This literature review is to be a personal guide and mechanism for my own development and Ma project.
 Questioning figurative ceramic sculpture, Influences such as classic, modern and contemporary. To investigate and analyse historical developments within industry and social context. To research the demise of the ceramic industry in the UK. Through research, questioning and understanding I intend to use the information gathered to create my own figurative ceramic sculpture.
(The information and objectives of the main body of work may no doubt change over time)


‘The balance between expression and function’ as described by Jamie Hayon, creates the sense of fantasy and uniqueness. Having been influenced by existing LLadro ceramics, the question of innovative design and commercialism contrast. With attention to detail and abstract elements, emotive ceramic sculpture questions our sense of life and desirability.

The question of commercial art and aesthetic values is a debate which i will carry forward in the dissertation, however for this task, my main aim is to highlight the conflict between the two.

A critical look at both materials and the inspiration of design, environment and conflicting structures. As described By Vivien Young “you see a glowing, futuristic landscape of massive metal pipes, cooling towers and blast furnaces far below. Yet if you were standing on the Corus site looking up at the mountainside, you might also see a red glow, as Janice James, ceramic sculptor, lifts one of her African tribal heads out of the kiln with tongs and plunges it red hot into the reduction pit to obtain the desired raku effect”. ‘It will be interesting to see what the future brings from the synthesis of exotic Africa and industrial South Wales’. The influence of modern life and surroundings contribute heavily to the artists process. As all craftsmen and women dedicated to their personal objective, the environment generates question and influence.

On examining the book 500 Figures In Clay, technique and execution of practical skills is a question i struggle to comprehend. My obvious understanding is to applaud exceptional, traditional skills, such as modelling/sculpting, method of production, glazes and finishing. The realization of humour and context, either political or controversial. Religious, poetical, disturbing and thought provoking make my conscious and stereo typical expectations of figurative ceramics seem ignorant and belittled. Although, i would have to state, some work, not worthy of publication p176 and p177. Yet, that is a matter of opinion, as is the whole notion of commercial values contrasting with contemporary ceramics?. The ceramic artist Gerard Justin Ferrari’s inspiration comes from ‘amalgamations of mechanical and cast iron objects, robotics, science fiction, as well as contemporary creatures that have poisoned and/or manipulated DNA’. His source of influence, being a parent in the twenty-first century, environment, disasters and human conflict. I believe, his work to be a clear example of contemporary ceramics addressing modern issues with exceptional modelling dexterity.

Nigerian artist Ozioma Onuzulike ceramics en-bodies movement that breaks away from the traditional potters wheel,  Article, ‘Interpreting Ceramics Issue 8’. Ceramic art that has broken away from traditional functional pottery investigating modern interpretations and aesthetic values. Abstract, sculptural installations expressing the dehumanization of the human. Again, you may suggest, does the intellectual philosophy behind his work complement the creativity of his art. Do we assume he his a pure ceramic artist or a ceramic sculptor without the preconceived skills, western or otherwise, our conscious expects. It questions our perception of understanding the intrinsic philosophy of ceramic art.

The article by Patrick Johnson  ‘Auguste Rodin, the Father of Modern Sculpture’ suggests the mass and opposition of geometric shapes creates a sense ‘sculpture power, vitality, dynamic complexity and a feeling of solid existence that is very pleasing to look at’. Examining nature and geometric forms. “Moulding from nature is copying of the most exact kind” Rodin explained. Attention to detail exaggerating certain planes, using light and form of shape. Great works of art, said Rodin, ‘express, indeed, all that genius feels in the presence of Nature; they represent Nature with all the clearness, with all the magnificence which a human being can discover in her; but they also fling themselves against that immense unknown which everywhere envelops our little world of the known. A clear statement of intent, suggesting the qualities a sculptor strive for. Does this acknowledge the true philosophical concept of our own judgement. Therefore, stating our beliefs should be questioned and our personal understanding be educated.