Jim Malone at Goldmark Gallery: England, September 2011

By Head, Ann | Ceramics Art & Perception, June 2012 | Go to article overview

Jim Malone at Goldmark Gallery: England, September 2011


Head, Ann, Ceramics Art & Perception


JIM MALONE WAS BORN IN SHEFFIELD IN 1946 AND STUDIED ceramics at Camberwell School of Art, graduating with a first class honours degree. He set up his first pottery at Llandegla, Wales and was given his first one-man show in 1978. In 1982, fellow potter Mike Dodd offered him a position at Cumbria College of Art where they established one of the most successful craft based throwing courses in Britain. During this time, he started to re-evaluate his own work and in 1984 he moved his family to Ainstable in the Eden Valley where he set up a new kiln and workshop and began using clays and glazes from local materials. In 2001, he left Cumbria for Burnby, York, but returned in 2003 and settled in Lessonhall, where he continues to work today. This solitary and slower pace of life keeps him rooted in the landscape and provides the essential values from which his pots grow. His kiln is an Oriental climbing kiln of two chambers, which is the fourth he has built and it is fired using a combination of oil and wood. He uses a small range of glazes, mainly tenmoku, nuka, wood ash and white slip and his decorating techniques include hakeme, brush painting in iron and cobalt oxides and incised and impressed motifs. He has exhibited widely throughout the UK and his pots can be found in the collections of many UK museums. His work is a reflection of his life and his concerns to understand and communicate beauty through pottery form.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Our collecting bug began in 1983. My husband and I visited the Royal Academy and bought some prints and soon followed this with some pots by David Leach from the Devon Guild of Craftsmen. We then wandered into a local gallery which had some beautiful glass by Anthony Stern, Peter Layton, Norman Stuart Clark and Siddy Langly. This held our interest for some time until the gallery held a wonderful exhibition of salt glaze ceramics by Mick Casson and Walter Keeler and we became interested in ceramics. The glass soon took a back seat; it did not sit well with the pots and we bought work by David Jones, Sutton Taylor, Phil Rogers and Gordon Cooke. The gallery began stocking the Crafts Magazine and we discovered the gallery listings which motivated us to begin touring the country, following the potters who interested us. We discovered other potters and worked our way through the Craft Potters Association guide and then, as our knowledge grew, we began to concentrate mainly on Mick Casson, Mike Dodd, David Leach, John Maltby, Jim Malone, Bill Marshall, Colin Pearson, John Ward, Robin Welch and Takeshi Yasuda. The potter has always been more important than the gallery and we have travelled thousands of miles in pursuit of our passion, getting up before dawn to spend hours in the car, then hours waiting outside the gallery, then the joy of seeing the work, then the long trip home. We seldom stayed overnight as the cost of a hotel equated to the price of a pot and the pot always won.

We first came across Malone's work in 1991 at Amalgam Art in London at his first exhibition after he gave up teaching in Cumbria to become a full-time potter. We bought a cut sided khaki and wax resist bottle and a squared bottle, with incised barleyfield pattern and cumbrian granite/ash glaze. Something about this work spoke deeply to us. In the subsequent years, we visited many of Malone's exhibitions and have acquired a large collection of his work. Each exhibition is different as the work constantly evolves, always moving forward and reflecting Malone's familiarity with and exploration of the possibilities within his range of shapes and glazes. We have discovered that it doesn't pay to pass by that pot that is shouting at you as you may not see its like again. They are modest pots, they sit there quietly and speak to you, giving immense pleasure, like good friends. At the same time, they have a strength of character that comes from within, reflecting their maker. But we cannot buy them all, there are just too many good pots. …

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