Back in the BCB

I visited the British Ceramics Biennial last weekend at the Spode site in Stoke, and quite enjoyed it. To be honest, I guess I’ve been waiting two years for it to return with quite a high level of excitement.
I had great memories of the 2011 event because I was quite involved as I was part of B Arts at the time and we were running workshops and an outdoor performance called Harvest in the programme, plus in the 2009 BCB we also ran a performance event, called Clay.
This year I’ve not been directly involved, but I’ve still really been looking forward to it’s homecoming.
Well, there was some lovely work there, as would be expected, but I must say that I didn’t really feel the same sense of wonder as I did two years ago. In 2011 I must have visited the Spode site at least six times – to keep seeking out new bits and gaze at favourite bits again and again.
Maybe it’s because the first time I see anything or visit anywhere is always the most memorable and this year I didn’t get the ‘wow factor’ by seeing the actual empty, dusty, ghostly white building used in this way, because this time I knew what to expect…
This year as I strolled around I noticed that the workshop spaces seemed busy again, which is great and smiling faces were getting mucky with clay.
The new shop area was a good addition – giving people the chance to purchase wares during their visit.
The cafe was more reasonably priced this time to accommodate different folks pockets and staff were friendly, but ( don’t you just hate adding a ‘but’) the cafe hadn’t got enough hot food when we were there and it seemed there wouldn’t have been as much selection compared to the previous menu. This time it’s all pies and pastries, very tasty ones though. What I really missed though was that they didn’t have the beautiful Burleigh ware crockery and fabulous tea-chest chairs that they had last time, which made the cafe area look wonderful and feel special back in 2011.
Here are some of my favourite works from the 2013 site and I look forward to seeing what is on display at Potteries Museum and Art Gallery plus Airspace.
If you go, do make sure to have a good look around. I still need to go back, there were parts of the site I’m sure I didn’t see and I want to have another look at the wonderful Phoebe Cummings installation and the beautiful Russian story dolls by Lisa Marie Svensk – theses two artists were definite favourites for me this year.

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