Made between 2000–2019, The Loft Pots constitutes a unique body of work that was previously kept by Harrison as part of his personal archive. Shown together here for the first time, the works are presented as a ‘fantasy firing’ in homage to all the previous kilns Harrison has built and offer a momentous overview of a 20-year investigation into form and function. The works resound with individual significance and reveal how early developments have inspired consecutive firings, as well as pointing to emergent ideas and lines of enquiry that are yet to be explored.
Harrison’s meticulously crafted ceramics are made using ancient pottery techniques such as throwing and press moulding stoneware and porcelain clay. To glaze the pots, he introduces salt into the kiln at high temperatures to produce the distinct orange-peel like texture his work is known for. The outcome relies on an interaction between the skill of the potter, the kiln itself and being able to work in varying conditions, which can affect a firing. For Harrison, the process is endlessly fascinating and challenging, yielding results that are often unpredictable and creating discrepancies across his output.
The viewer is invited to consider the works as part of a broader context. A lacquered table built from English Chestnut by the artist and his friend, Ben Casson, and a single chair provide a site to contemplate the works, alongside a film made with his long-time collaborator, photographer Richard Cannon. Entitled Orange Peel, the film documents the firing process in Harrison’s studio in Wales and offers a window into the source of his inspiration and contemplations on his art.
The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue that documents the Loft Pots.