What better way to wind down during the back end of a long week than with a studio pottery video? Potters like UK-based Svend Bayer have a knack for finding the most warmly bucolic studios we’ve ever seen. The video begins with the rain pattering against a glass windowpane and Bayer’s gentle voice begins, “A good pot has to reveal something about the maker.” From there he goes into his practice, his mentor Michael Cardew, and a contrast of western clay sensibilities versus the east. He takes us into his Anagama kiln. Close by is a pile of broken ceramics, casualties of firings that went wrong. It’s a good shot, a reminder that even expert craftsmen like Bayer have off days.
Born in Uganda in 1946 to Danish parents, Svend Bayer spent his childhood in Tanganyika, according to his biography from Goldmark. It was during his time at university that Bayer discovered pottery, and a gift from his girlfriend of Bernard Leach’s “A Potter’s Book” introduced him to the pots of Michael Cardew. On leaving university Bayer wrote to Cardew, and after being invited for an interview, was taken on.
Bayer took inspiration from the village potteries in Southeast Asia, streamlining their practices and using his focus and determination to produce pots at high speed to fill his huge kiln. His work is held in major collections worldwide. He has received the John Ruskin award, held workshops all over the world and had residencies in America & Australia.
Do you love or loathe this video about contemporary ceramic art? Let us know in the comments.