A group of black basalt Wedgwood vases from The Bowes Museum collection helped provide Cumbrian artist Michael Eden with inspiration for his forthcoming show, Wedgwood and Wouldn’t – produced in collaboration with Adrian Sassoon - which opens at the Museum next month.
Eden is a maker whose work spans the crossroads of craft, design and art. Originally a studio potter of 25 years standing, a burgeoning interest in computers eventually led him to undertake an MPhil research project at the Royal College of Art from 2006-08, which allowed him to explore how his interest in digital technology could be developed and combined with his ceramics experience to discover contemporary ways of redesigning historical, familiar objects.
This in-focus display celebrates his Wedgwouldn’t Vases, the designs for which are loosely based on early pieces by Josiah Wedgwood, who was at the forefront of the first Industrial Revolution in the way he transformed how ceramics were made and the materials they were made from.
Eden has taken this one step further, heading up a new industrial revolution in the way he uses 3D printing to create beautiful objects that were previously impossible to manufacture using conventional ceramic techniques.
The Wedgwood basalt vases in the Museum collection form part of a group commissioned by the Mond family in the early 20th century to fill the niches in the Georgian gallery at Winnington Hall, Cheshire, the then home of ICI. They were presented to The Bowes Museum by the company in 2001.
“Typical of the neo-classical style that was very fashionable at the time, two of the Wedgwood vases depict scenes from mythology,” he said. “My interpretation brings these vases firmly into the 21st century, utilising new design and manufacturing technology and replacing the scenes with images derived from popular culture including Strictly Come Dancing and the X Factor television programmes.”
Eden describes his reinterpretations as an attempt to form a link to the culture of the present day, through an engagement with new tools and technologies such as 3D scanning and printing. Through this approach he creates narratives that comment on the world as he views it, particularly the way in which the physical world is increasingly entwined with that of the digital.
The display opens on Saturday 27 May, running until Sunday 17 September 2017.
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Notes to editors:
For over 20 years Michael Eden ran a studio pottery with his wife Vicky, producing slip decorated earthenware, exhibiting widely and supplying shops, galleries and international department store.
Alongside the making of work, he has undertaken material experiments, particularly focused on 3D printing.
Michael Eden is represented by Adrian Sassoon (email@example.com www.adriansassoon.com)