Welcome to Issue 15 of Interpreting Ceramics. Two of the articles published here were presented at the Subversive Ceramics: Exploring Ideas in Contemporary Ceramic Practice symposium at the Holburne Museum, Bath,UK, on 9 November 2012. In her article, ‘Subversive Ceramics: On Satire and Subversion’, Claudia Clare focuses on the work of an American and an Iranian ceramicist in order to challenge our use and understanding of terms that have all too readily been employed within ceramics discourse over the last few years. Moira Vincentelli uses the metaphor of ‘Clay Mother’ as a means of developing a discussion around the ways that some of the Pueblo potters of New Mexico both support and subvert the idea of tradition in their work.
Three of the other articles in this issue cover a range of historical subjects. With the aid of a Fellowship from the Henry Francis Du Pont Winterthur Museum and Library, Delaware in 2009, Anne Anderson was able to conduct extensive research into the collection and display of old blue Staffordshire china in the American home c.1870-1938 and we are pleased to publish her findings. In ‘Bloomsbury in Dorset’, James King focuses on the work of Poole Pottery in the interwar period in Britain and argues that Poole's incorporation of various types of modernist fine art into its wares owes a great deal to its association with the Omega Workshops in the 1910s. In Issue 14 of Interpreting Ceramics we published Part I of Isabel Hufschmidt’s enquiry into the commercialization of sculpture in the United Kingdom and on the Continent during the 19th century and in this issue we publish Part II of her wider research project. Finally, Lauren Hadley’s article, entitled ‘Ceramics in Higher Education’ and originally written as a student dissertation brings attention to a matter of pressing concern both within the UK and further afield. Exhibition and book reviews are provided by David Cushway, Pippa Galpin, Sarah Gee, Tessa Peters and Kate Wilson.
Interpreting Ceramics is an initiative of a group of academic staff in the UK who have joined together under the title of Interpreting Ceramics: Research Collaboration (ICRC). Our collaboration has come about through shared research interests in recording, interrogating, interpreting and communicating the practice and history of ceramics.
The members of ICRC are committed to exploring ways in which collaborative effort, on both a national and international level, can lead to broader and more interdisciplinary research into all those categories of human activity which are indicated by the term 'ceramics'. ICRC has an interest in any practice or mode of inquiry which brings a social and cultural awareness to bear on the manufacture and consumption of objects made from ceramic materials. The fields covered would therefore include studio, industrial, architectural, traditional, sculptural and figurative ceramics as well as the relevant branches of anthropology, archaeology, material culture studies, museum studies, archiving etc.
The journal Interpreting Ceramics is the first outcome of the collaborative work of ICRC. It is the first refereed, electronic journal for ceramics and in publishing on the Internet the journal allows contributors to exploit the possibilities of new digital media as well as offering more traditional text based approaches. The journal is freely accessible, without charge. We aim to establish and maintain the highest scholarly standards for the content of the articles published. Four institutions have joint proprietorship of the journal and they are the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, the University of the West of England, Bristol and Bath Spa University College.
Editorial responsibility for Interpreting Ceramics lies with the ICRC committee, which currently consists of the members of the editorial team who are listed above. The editorial advisory board consists of thirty individuals, drawn from different disciplines, who together provide a wide range of expertise on ceramics in all its guises. A list of members of the board is provided on the web site.