Form over Function: Ceramic Art at Blackwell

18 May – 9 September 2018

This exhibition challenges the notion that ceramics are primarily functional. Explore how artists create art out of craft.

Ranging from a playful hippo sculpture to an optical illusion box, works are themed into Animals, Clay as a canvas, Sculpture and Community. Through loans from Centre of Ceramic Art at York Art Gallery, our own and private collections, we explore William Morris’ saying: “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

Form over Function includes sculptural forms, painted surfaces and narrative works by some of the greatest ceramicists. Artists on show include Lucie Rie, Hans Coper, Gordon Baldwin, Ewen Henderson, Rosemary Wren and Alison Britton.

Traditionally clay has been used to make functional things which support us in our daily lives. But over the centuries there’s been an increasing emphasis on decoration, transforming once functional designs into beautiful objects for the home. Museums and galleries have developed large collections ranging from Chinese export ware to early designs by Josiah Wedgwood, using them as a basis for Decorative Arts collections.

Over the last century clay has transcended the function of either being ‘useful’ or ‘beautiful’ – becoming a medium of choice for artists.

As well as this exhibition inside Blackwell, there is some contemporay art outside: Di Mainstone’s Time Mirror.


Further information
  • Opening Times from 1 November 2017 – 28 February 2018 – House: 10.30am – 4pm; Tea Room: 10am – 4pm. From 1 March – 31 October 2018 – House: 10.30am – 5pm; Tea Room: 10am – 5pm
  • Adult £8.80 (without donation £8.00); Friends, Patrons & Benefactors FREE; Free admission for young people up to the age of 16 and full-time students over; National Art Pass 50% discount
  • Location Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House, Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria LA23 3J
  • Getting there by car From the south: Exit the M6 at junction 36 and follow signs for the South Lakes and Windermere. At the roundabout take the first left following signs for Crook and Bowness-on-Windermere on the B5284. After 6 miles arrive at a T-junction, turn left on to the A5074 (Lyth Valley Road). Turn right where the road forks onto the B5360.  Follow the drive to Blackwell’s car park. From the north: Exit the M6 at junction 40 and follow signs for Keswick (A66) and Windermere (A591) via Grasmere and Ambleside. Once in Windermere follow signs for Bowness-on-Windermere. Once in Bowness-on-Windermere follow the road to Blackwell which is situated just off the A5074 (Lyth Valley Road) and turn right where the road forks onto the B5360. Follow the drive to Blackwell’s car park. By train: Oxenholme is the nearest main-line railway station, a connecting train will bring you into Windermere (three miles from Blackwell). Buses run to Bowness-on-Windermere, 1½ miles north of Blackwell. Alternatively taxis are available from Windermere Station to Blackwell
  • For more information please call 015394 46139