This was the last of our Maker’s Lunches in 2019 and I can think of no better guest than Ross Emerson. At a time, when we should begin to relax and enjoy the festive season, it is a delight to have the work of someone who makes you smile . . and Ross certainly does that. His quite unique work has not been at Bevere for some time and I am so pleased to see it here again. His work now consists of a range of ‘ hand-built ‘ clocks, vases, dishes, candelabra, candlesticks and anything ‘funky’ enough to grab his imagination. He uses a great variety of colours and decorative techniques to get the effects he is looking for.
This, in my view, is extraordinary work for a number of reasons. Firstly, the quality of decoration is immaculate as is the precision of his modelling. Secondly, there is a strong humorous element to almost all of his pieces – large or small. As I have said, you cannot help but smile. Thirdly, he is amongst a very few ceramic clock makers and my word these are something special. Again, his quirky humour pervades so many of these models – see Suzanna and the Welders for example!
The two hours we spent with Ross was very enjoyable. He was frank and open about his career – his switch to earthenware after the tailing off of his career in stoneware and the eventual emergence of the work we now identify so strongly with him. Interestingly his ceramic clock making started simply out of curiosity – can he make a clock? Since then of course he has become very well known for the diversity and inventiveness of his clocks , often with that humour which pervades so many if his pieces. He talked about the making processes and the relationship between planned building and impromptu detailing. Do look at the video on his website to see a revealing exposition of his making process.
All of us were struck by his use of colour and the precision of his decoration. Again he revealed how he sketches the outline of his decoration directly onto the piece with a blade and the paint he uses then fills out the created shapes and spaces.
His creative drive is self evident and he talked about the possibility of returning to stoneware and potentially minimal decoration – the complete opposite to where he is now. Having said that, we are all aware of the inherent problem for established makers changing the look of the work which is the foundation for their reputation. In the meantime he continues to produce pieces which are a manifestation of the Emerson magic!
This lunch provided a delightful end to the Lunch programme for 2019. I am so grateful for the effort Ross made to be with us travelling up from Devon. Once again we all experienced the benefit of two hours informal chat with and about an established ceramicist. We continue to learn even those who have been making or collecting ceramics for years!