SOURCE: Birmingham Museum of Art

April 17, 2015 13:38 ET

Birmingham Museum of Art Presents David Puxley Exhibition

David Puxley: Wedgwood's First Studio Potter

BIRMINGHAM, AL--(Marketwired - April 17, 2015) - With more than 10,000 objects, the Birmingham Museum of Art is home to the largest collection of Wedgwood in the United States. On April 18, the Museum presents an exhibition of distinguished ceramic works by David Puxley, the company's first studio potter in residence. David Puxley: Wedgwood's First Studio Potter includes 35 pieces of pottery from the Museum's permanent collection, highlighting the range of Puxley's work during his tenure at Wedgwood.

"The 1960s was a turning point in the history of British ceramics," says Anne Forschler- Tarrasch, the BMA's Marguerite Jones Harbert and John M. Harbert III Curator of Decorative Arts. "After World War II there was a renewed interest in design and with more disposable income, people began decorating their new, modern interiors with a variety of ceramics. At the same time, potters were re-exploring craft traditions. At Wedgwood, craft and industry came together perfectly."

Credited with establishing the studio pottery tradition at Wedgwood, David Puxley began his three- year residency in 1964 at age 21. At a time when Wedgwood was seeking to reassert itself as a leader in ceramic design, Puxley was given full creative authority over his work with unlimited access to the factory's material resources and staff expertise. He experimented extensively with assorted clays and unusual decorative patterns to create original objects of both functional and ornamental use. Influenced by the Scandinavian aesthetic of simple shapes and minimal decoration, the majority of Puxley's work was made from stoneware or simple terracotta and treated with various glaze effects. Puxley's studio pottery was included in Wedgwood's standard factory production, but was also showcased in special exhibitions for contemporary art in major department stores such as Harrod's and Marshall Field.

"Visitors will be surprised by David's work. It's not only beautiful and of the highest quality, but it represents such a departure from the traditional Wedgwood blue and white that we are all so familiar with," says Forschler-Tarrasch. "At the same time, it very much represents a continuation of the innovation and experimentation that has been steadfast in Wedgwood's 250 year history."

The Birmingham Musuem of Art's Buten Wedgwood Collection includes more than 150 objects made by David Puxley during his time at the factory -- the largest assemblage of Puxley's work in the world. Featuring pottery drawn from the Museum's collection, David Puxley: Wedgwood's First Studio Potter explores the notion of "studio pottery" during the second half of the twentieth century and highlights Puxley's instrumental role in founding the studio pottery tradition at Wedgwood.

The exhibition is organized in conjunction with the 60th Wedgwood International Seminar, which takes place April 22-25 at the Birmingham Museum of Art.

David Puxley: Wedgwood's First Studio Potter is sponsored by the Jefferson County Commission. Additional support provided by the City of Birmingham and grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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Contact Information

  • Contact information
    Cate McCusker Boehm

    2000 Rev. Abraham Woods Jr. Blvd
    Birmingham, AL 35203