Our benefit Global Ceramic Auction is wrapping up Friday morning. But, before then, we wanted to highlight this beautiful earthenware cider jar by English studio potter Michael Cardew (1901 -1983). The auction closes at 10:00 am MDT. To celebrate, we left a little treat all the way at the bottom of this post. Enjoy!
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Winchcombe Cider Jar, c. 1926-1939.
Stoneware with wood spigot. 14H x 7” Diam.
Gift of the artist.
Michael Cardew, b. 1901, Wimbledon, London, died in 1983. Cardew was an English studio potter who worked in West Africa for twenty years. Cardew was the first apprentice at the Leach Pottery, St Ives, Cornwall, in 1923. In 1926 he left St Ives to restart the Greet Potteries at Winchcombe in Gloucestershire. With the help of former chief thrower Elijah Comfort and fourteen-year-old Sydney Tustin, he set about rebuilding the derelict pottery. Cardew aimed to make pottery in the seventeenth century English slipware tradition, functional and affordable by people with moderate incomes. After some experimentation, pottery was made with local clay and fired in a traditional bottle kiln. Charlie Tustin joined the team in 1935 followed in 1936 by Ray Finch, who bought the pottery from Cardew and worked there until he died in 2012. The pottery is now known as Winchcombe Pottery. Cardew married painter Mariel Russell and had three sons. In 1939, an inheritance enabled Cardew to fulfill his dream of living and working in Cornwall. He bought an Inn at Wenford Bridge, St Breward, and converted it to a studio, where he produced earthenware and stoneware. He built the first kiln at Wenford Bridge with the help of Michael Leach, Bernard Leach’s son. It was fired only a few times before the outbreak of war, when blackout restrictions brought work to an end.
Also available for auction by Cardew is this mug, which draws influence from his love of African pottery. In 1951, he was appointed by the Nigerian government to the post of Pottery Officer in the Department of Commerce and Industry, during which time he built and developed a successful pottery training center at Abuja in Northern Nigeria. His first western student was Peter Stichbury. His trainees were mainly Hausa and Gwari men, but he spotted the pots of Ladi Kwali and in 1954 she became the first woman potter at the Training Centre, soon followed by other women.
Mug, (Abuja inscribed through black slip), c.1959-1959
Glazed Stoneware, 6″H
To learn more about Michael Cardew please visit Cfile.