A hand thrown earthenware tea bowl and saucer, with found object.
Size: Cup: 8 x 9.5cm, Saucer: 13 diameter x 2 cm depth
A Cupful of Craft
This winter we have launched, once again, our annual collection celebrating the humble cup.
We have invited four artists to create a series of unique cups for this collection including Fliff Carr, Michaela Gall, Lisa Sandner and Christina Serra Delmar.
THE STORY | Hidden Treasure
There is something so utterly beautiful about this new collection by London-based ceramicist Fliff Carr. It’s a circular story that begins with the coffee houses and tea gardens of 18th Century London and the tea bowls and coffee cups that were used during that time.
(A Family of Three at Tea Oil Painting ca. 1727 Victoria & Albert Museum)
Fliff Carr is a ‘mudlark’ and a mudlark is someone that combs the River Thames foreshore for hidden treasure at low tide. Many incredible items have been found along the banks of this river, but Fliff’s most coveted finds are fragments of old pottery.
Many pieces in Fliff’s collection are from early tea and coffee cups used in Georgian London, often imported on tall ships from porcelain workshops in China as well as burgeoning English manufacturers. Pottery fragments, like tiny time-capsules, with hand painted blue & white patterns from potteries such as Worcester, Chelsea and Spode are often found by Fliff at her favourite hunting ground along the river bank near St Paul’s Cathedral.
For this new collection Fliff has hand-thrown the shapes in earthenware before dipping in a milk-white glaze. With a texture similar to a pebble smoothed by thousands of tides, these tea bowls and saucers are like ghosts from another time, vessels that have been washed clean of their pattern and decoration, only to reveal their hidden history, as the drinker lifts the bowl.
Underneath each teabowl, carefully pressed into the wet clay of the saucer, is a fragment of a piece of pottery found along the River Thames. Perfectly set within the saucer, these fragments are once again unearthed with each lift of the cup, just as Fliff turns over the foreshore to reveal these hidden treasures.