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The craft&design Selected Awards 2013 - Specialist Judges

craft&design Selected Awards

Alan Ault
Alan Ault
Ceramics Category

Alan Ault

“Having grown up in Stoke-on-Trent, the heart of the potteries, myearliest memories are that of neighbours, family members andfriends going to work every day to one of the locally renowned ceramic companies, such as Wedgwood and Royal Doulton. Lookingback, it is sad to see how many of them are no longer with us.

Always the topic of conversation, the ceramics industry became anintegral part of my knowledge and upbringing. In particular my first-hand experience is that of my father, Alan Ault Senior, in the early 70s developing a company called Spencroft ceramics that produced several clay bodies.

My involvement within the industry began when my father proposed ajoint venture when he was approached to initially produce an electrical porcelain insulator body for a local company, BHWCeramics.

The name Valentine Clays was born in 1979 after a brain wave to use my middle name Valentine, which summed up the heart of the potteries perfectly. Over the past 30 years I have worked closely with the ceramic community to develop clay bodies to suit the specific requirements of the professional studio potter, including Peter Beard, Steve Harrison and Jim Robison.

Through this close working relationship I have been involved with many local and international projects and educational institutes.

My previous judging experience includes further educational award evenings such as Wolverhampton University, and I am a proud sponsor the Peer’s Award at the Art in Clay, Hatfield exhibition. For me it is both important to recognise up and coming potters andthe talented professionals.

I am also a keen collector and have built up over the years a wide selection of ceramic pieces from traditional to unconventional styles. Not only is ceramics in my blood, it is something that I appreciate very much and I feel that my technical knowledge and love of ceramics make me an ideal judge for this category.

When judging this year’s entries I will be looking for a number of qualities including originality, technical skill, functionality, innovative design and creativity. Ideally a ceramic piece that is particularly striking and something that I would love to add to my own collection.” 

Judge’s Statement

General Comments
Judging the craft&design Selected Awards 2013 – Ceramics Category wasn't easy to say the least - it is possibly the most challenging experience that I have ever undertaken! Each entry was of such a high calibre, and the excellent skill, technique and unique applications made the decisions even more difficult to make. After much deliberation I believed the fairest way to resolve this issue was to employ a marking criteria system using scores for up to thirty different key areas. This system enabled the selection of gold and Silver Award winners, although there were very few marks between each entry creating a close result. In my view each entry excelled in their chosen discipline and every one is a very deserved Finalist.

Gold AwardPhil Rogers
My scoring chart resulted in a clear Gold Award for Phil Rogers, a potter in a league of his own when it comes to skill and technical ability in salt glazing, wood firing and preparation of his own clay bodies. Through years of experience and practice Phil has created his own unique style setting the standard by which other potters strive to achieve and use as influence. One of the most experienced professional potters, Phil develops all his own materials and techniques even during the firing process when he often uses an oil kiln he built himself.

Silver AwardWyn Abbot
A fairly new comer to the world of ceramics, Wyn displays a high level of skill and expertise when it came to Raku firing and hand building processes. Her very decorative and cheerful work is both functional and simplistic with an innovative edge, with influence from ancient cultures clearly visible in her work creating uniquely designed pieces. Wyn shows an intensely varied approach exploring many avenues and techniques of ceramics.

Silver AwardKatharina Klug
A skilled thrower with excellent techniques and a unique sense of style, each piece of work produced by Katharina is both individual and varied. Influenced by Lucy Rie and Rupert Spira her work demonstrates its own unique interpretation experimenting with textures and surface decoration using interesting objects and vibrant colours.

With all of the entries there was only a matter of a point or two between them - in my mind they are all winners. Great skills, techniques, experience and knowledge was shown by all Finalists along with functional and decorative abilities. As a keen collector I would be proud to own a piece of work by any one them!

2013 Judges »
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craft&design Best Newcomer Award at BCTF

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