Monthly Archives: August 2016

Beverley ceramics exhibition

I’d never been to Beverley Art Gallery but went because Ilona Sulikova was taking part in an exhibition entitled “Living Land: Ceramics and Sculpture”, which finishes on 10th September 2016.

I was introduced to Ilona’s work via college where she came to talk about her experiences as a potter.  I like her work, the balance between the sculptural form and the decoration.  I find it all the more interesting given that she relies on the unpredictable method of rake firing.  Please take a look at her website.

There were two other women ceramicists in the exhibition, Marie Lofthouse with very flowing,  sort of “waves on end”, and Pam Davies whose work in clay and stone references animals whose plight has been affected by human action.


The exhibition is in part along the centre of the permanent gallery space, which is mostly hung with paintings by local artists Fred and Mary Ewell.  Different time frame but overall I preferred their work to York’s local artist William Etty: Prefer content, composition, and execution.

Holding head carving

Well, I started with a piece of lime wood, enough of the carving and a bit more to help hold it fast in the vice, and an idea.  The piece of wood is about 28cm long.


The picture is from the web and I traced it onto the wood and started carving,


….. and carving so there is now space between trunk and arms and legs…..


…. and carving so the neck is free…..


… and yet more carving so the right arm is coming into shape…..


….. and now the right leg and foot….


and then stopped carving after about a week’s work.

Pleased with some of the outcome [overall shape, legs, feet, forearms and hands] but I am not planning to do anymore to it to “tidy it up”.  There are too many errors which cannot be corrected.  For example, I could say that the wide head was on purpose – signifying the weightiness of his thoughts – but I’d be lying.  If I tried to make the head narrower, I could move the hands towards each other but I cannot follow them with the forearms as there is not enough wood.  the thighs present similar problems as I’ve taken away too much wood in certain places.   Next carving will be on a larger scale, say figure standing 40cm tall but I’ll have to sort out much more timber for half or full life-size.

Käthe Kollwitz – An artist to take a look at

I really don’t know why it has taken so long for me to see the work of Käthe Kollwitz.  I first saw this sculpture in Vienna and went to find out more.


I like her work because it in unsentimental, has strong elements of composition, and it makes me think.  She mostly chose the poor as her subject and presents them in all their wretchedness but often with the innocence of young children as a counterpoint.

I suppose that I was not aware of her work because of any or a mixture of the following:-

She was a woman and, still, women are underrepresented in so many fields,

She didn’t go to Paris and join the avant garde,

Her subject matter is not the sort that attracts plaudits and people rushing to hang it at home,

Her socialist stance meant that the Nazi’s withdrew her work and her teaching post, and finally,

She died just after the end of WWII in what became East Germany; behind the Iron Curtain.

I the borrowed the first book on her I came across, Otto Nagel’s book Käthe Kollwitz, but, sadly, it is all in black and white.  However, it seems that there other books out there and a tour of her sculpture in Berlin, which is a place we’ve been meaning to visit!

Apologies for the lack of stuff of late but I hope to be more productive on this front over the rest of the summer.