Wales What's On

International Ceramics Festival 2017

The International Ceramics Festival is celebrating its 30th year, once again presenting a lively weekend of exciting kiln firings, talks and demonstrations featuring renowned ceramicists from around the world.

This year the Festival reflects the growing number of women as firers, with spectacular performance and sculptural firings set to take place. Alexandra Engelfriet (Netherlands) uses her whole body to mould clay in to large scale sculptures; she will be working with kiln building legend Fred Olsen (USA). On stage demonstrators include David Frith and Paul Young, two of the most skilled throwers in the UK, alongside Huang Fei (China) and Jason Walker (USA) who will be showing their contrasting decorating styles.

The full line-up of demonstrating artists includes: Charles Bound (UK), Antonella Cimatti (Italy), Sabine Classen (Germany), Eddie Curtis (UK), Anabelí Díaz (Sweden), Alexandra Engelfriet (Netherlands), Gerit Grimm (USA), Huang Fei (China), David Frith (UK), Chrisato Kuroki (Spain), Fred Olsen (USA), Ostinelli & Priest (UK), Zahed Tajeddin (Syria), Harm Van der Zeeuw (Netherlands), Jason Walker (USA) and Paul Young (UK).

As well as the demonstrations and kiln firings, there are artist-led talks, lectures and films as well as many exhibitions throughout the Arts Centre. Recent work by all artists attending will be available for sale. There are also hands-on activities on offer; including a special tent for families where experienced potters will help both young and old to have a go on the potter’s wheel.

Special awards are made during each Festival. The Potterycrafts Lifetime Achievement Award is to recognise a ceramic artist or potter who has made a major contribution to the world of ceramics. The 2015 Award was given to Alan Caiger Smith, whilst previous winners have included Walter Keeler, Emanuel Cooper, Don Reitz, Ruth Duckworth, David Leach, Frank and Janet Hamer, Janet Mansfield, Warren McKenzie, Michael Casson and Ray Finch.

There are also two Residency Awards. The Potclays Emerging Makers Award is open to new potters and artists working with clay who have graduated from college within the past five years. The winner of the award will be offered an International Visiting Artist Award for one month’s residency at the Archie Bray Foundation in the USA. And new for 2017, is the International Ceramics Festival Kecskemét Residency Award - open to all UK based ceramic practitioners including mid-career and late adopters of ceramics. This is to celebrate 40 years of the Kecskemét Contemporary Art Studios in Hungary. The award winner will have one month’s residency at the studios. These awards provide a fantastic opportunity for all finalists to exhibit at the Festival, alongside the world’s most respected artists.

In addition to the activities, there is a dedicated Trade Tent with a variety of ceramic suppliers offering everything from handmade artist brushes to the latest electric kilns. There are also stalls representing ceramics courses in the UK, as well as stalls from international and UK ceramic groups and collectives, UK and international ceramic publications and much much more.

Set in the beautiful coastal location of Aberystwyth, the Festival is particularly known for its friendly atmosphere and is one of the few arts festivals where the audience can interact freely with the demonstrators. At a time when there is a rising interest in craft and ceramics, the Festival provides inspiration, knowledge and entertainment for the beginner and professional alike.

Tickets for the Festival weekend can be booked online via the festival’s website: www.internationalceramicsfestival.org
or by calling Aberystwyth Arts Centre’s ticket office on 01970 62 32 32.

Full price weekend tickets are £140 (concessions available) and single day tickets start at £80.

The ICF is organised by Aberystwyth Arts Centre and North and South Wales Potters.

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