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International Ceramics Festival Stoke On Trent

Head with figures Glenys Barton at the Potteries museum

British Ceramics Biennial (BCB) Stoke On Trent 2019

The international ceramics festival is fast approaching it final weekend but there is still time to catch it as it runs until the 13th of October. Now in its 6th festival and 10th anniversary year it features the works of both international, national, and aspiring ceramicists. This was my third visit and I can honestly say it gets better with each biennial. With over 300 artists and makers spread across 25 exhibitions and projects this year’s features more works than ever before.

Instillations in the AWARD section of the exhibition.
John Rainey figure

Some of the featured works having wonderful back stories making the works on show both emotive and evocative. BCB also involves international artist exchange this year in Japan, China, Korea and India, with works produced on display in the Spode China Hall. As you visit the various venues taking part in the festival you cannot miss the “Cast of Thousands” over 2000 ceramic figures made by local schoolchildren as part of the BCB CLAY school project. It is also possible to book a guided tour of the main exhibition in the China Hall. We id and it was well worth it. As the tour is primarily focused on the works of the nominees for the AWARD the main prize of £10.000 its offers a great insight and depth both into both the works on display and the artist behind them.

Ceramic instillation by Zoe Preece
Poignant instillation by Vicky Lindo & William Brookes
View of the exhibition space Spode China Hall

Whilst the main exhibition is held in the wonderful and cavernous Spode China Hall famous potteries across the Stoke regions also take p[art in the festival too, many offering free workshops and the opportunity to create and get your hands stuck into some clay.

Duncan Hooson of the Clayground collective, an evolving instillation at the Wedgwood Museum
Working jug.

Even better entry to the various pottery museums is free for the duration of the festival. The main centers of display and activity include the China Hall, the Airspace Gallery, Middleport Pottery, The potteries Museum and Art Gallery Spode museum Trust Heritage center and last but by no means least World of Wedgwood. For those intending to visit using public transport there is a free shuttle bus to take you to the various aforementioned venues. Middleport port has a very nice café which is if the weather is good offers seating by the adjacent canal. World of Wedgwood offers its lavish afternoon high tea as well as its dining hall which offers a very good value carvery on Sundays.  

Bottle kiln Middleport Pottery

My top tip to anyone visiting is to both book any of the activities you wish to take part in in advance and also to allow at least a couple of days for your visit. Put simply, it’s just too much to fully take in, appreciate, and absorb in a one day visit.

Old Wedgwood Press moulds.
An instillation by Korean artist Wookjae Maeng

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The British Ceramics Biennial Stoke-On-Trent Travel Blog Post

The Fifth British Ceramics Biennial (BCB)

Stoke On Trent 2017
Anyone who knows me will tell you I am a huge pottery and ceramics fan, in fact so much so I have run out of space to house what I already have never mind adding more, which I continue to do!. Well for pottery and ceramic lovers like myself this is the must visit/see event of the year every two years, if you know what I mean, and not to be missed, given that it’s only on every second year, biennial right! Myself and Oliver had visited the event for the first time in 2015 and liked it so much had planned a full weekend around this year’s visit. Sadly Oliver’s Dad passed away requiring Oliver’s return to Malaysia so this visit was solo and this post is dedicated to the memory of Oliver’s Dad, may he rest in peace.

The event is staged across nine venues in and around Stoke-On-Trent including the fabulous Wedgwood museum which offers free entry to the museum during the biennial. In fact the event offers free entry to all venues making it an attractive draw for all. There is also lots of interactive events aimed at families with kids. A great way to introduce the next and coming generations to the wonderful world of ceramics and pottery. The main exhibition hub is located in the China Spode Factory dating from 1770 a fabulous location, if a little on the chilly side, or at least at this time of the year (October).

Eusebio Sanchez won this biennials Fresh award with his quirky colorful and molten figures, and although they may not be to everyone’s taste I loved them.

Spode China Hall

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Thaipusam festival Penang Malaysia 2016 (post 3 of 3)

Post 3 The 10 kilometer walk back from the Temple 

Thaipusam is a Hindu festival celebrated mostly by the Tamil community on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai (January/February). It is mainly observed in countries where there is a significant presence of Tamil community such as India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia. I was fortunate enough to be in Penang this year when the festival was taking place. The picture post that follows is divided into 3 parts, but all from one festival day. The festival itself lasted for 3 days over a weekend.

Post 3

The final post in this series.

Thaipusam Festival Penang Malaysia 2016 By David Keegan Photography (17)

Heading back down the steps from the temple to make my way back to Georgetown I am once again caught and carried by the sway and sheer exuberance of colour and sound. Exhausted by the heat and long trek up  I am nonetheless once again enthralled by the spectacle. The Kavadi devotees that come now look even more exhausted by the sheer and relentless heat of the sun.  The pictures will tell the story, as by this point i was exhausted and with little voice or energy other than trance and sway. A remarkable experience and one that will live with me for a long long time i can only recommend it be on all bucket lists.

Thaipusam Festival Penang Malaysia 2016 By David Keegan Photography (0)

Thaipusam Festival Penang Malaysia 2016 By David Keegan Photography (0a)

Unity, oneness, joy and celebration, the order of the day!

Thaipusam Festival Penang Malaysia 2016 By David Keegan Photography (1)

This young girl was clearly having a whale of a time.

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