Posted on

Plates with Purpose, Messums West

Plates with Purpose Messums

Plates with Purpose is an exhibition at Messums West to raise funds for two charities, The David Nott Foundation and Hope and Homes for Children, both charities helping people whose lives have been affected by wars. 40% of sales will be divided between the two charities. The opening was on 1 March and the exhibition runs until 29 April 2024.

Plates with Purpose Messums

I attended the opening at Messums West in Tisbury, Wiltshire. It was lovely to meet so many of the other exhibitors, Loraine Rutt, Francesca Silverton and Mirka Golden-Hann. I bought a Chesil Beach Muted plate (image above, bottom left) by James Kay. The plates I exhibited (image above, bottom centre and images below) were covered in lichen effect glazes. I recycled plates from restaurant orders that had cracked in the biscuit firing. Lichens are indicators of clean air and are affected by air pollution. I hope in my work to bring attention to the loss of lichen biodiversity caused by burning fossil fuels. I was very happy to see at the opening that all my plates had sold.

Linda Bloomfield Plates with Purpose Messums West
Plates with Purpose Messums West March 2024
Posted on

On Air at Ceramic Art London

Lichen inspired sculpture

I really enjoyed exhibiting as part of On Air, an exhibition about air pollution at Ceramic Art London. The exhibition was curated by Dutch design duo Iris de Kievith and Annemarie Piscaer of Smogware and sculptor and animator Jo Pearl. They included work by US artist Kim Abeles and UK sculptor Jasmine Pradissitto. The work by Smogware was a set of teacups and plates using smog dust collected near main roads in London. Smogware London intern Rosy Napper mixed the pollution particulates with a transparent glaze in increasing amounts: 25, 45, 65 and 85% dust. The pollution particulates were analysed and found to contain mainly iron oxide, alumina, silica, calcium and sodium, which actually melt to form a dark brown glaze on their own. Mixed into a transparent glaze, the colour ranges from yellow ochre, through brown to black, representing the amount of dust inhaled during 25, 45, 65 or 85 years living in the city.

My work for the exhibition was a series of porcelain forms covered in lichen effect glazes. At one end the forms were green and covered with lichens, while at the other end they were black and barren, making tangible the effects of air pollution on lichen biodiversity.

US artist Kim Abeles made a stencil showing the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and his policy on air pollution. A plate covered with the stencil was left for a month on the roof of the Greenpeace building in London and the pollution falling on it was trapped using a fixative. The faces of other world leaders Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel and Jacob Zuma were revealed by smog from their own cities. Jasmine Pradissitto made several sculptures using NOXTEK, a new ceramic geopolymer that absorbs nitrogen dioxide pollution from the air.

Sculptor Jo Pearl made a clay animation of how it feels to gasp for breath. After completing the animation, her piece was fired in a smoke firing. During the exhibition we talked to many visitors about air pollution and had some interesting conversations. The exhibition conveyed a serious message; a call to action.

Photos by Henry Bloomfield.

Posted on

New work for Collect 2021

grey lichen nesting bowls

I have been making new work for Collect, the international art fair for exceptional craft and design presented by the Crafts Council. This year Collect will be online on Artsy from 26 February to 26 March. I will be exhibiting with Design Nation, along with other makers of ceramics, jewellery, furniture and textiles. I was inspired by lichens seen on a walk to the post office. I have made a video of my walk:


Posted on 2 Comments

Collect Open 2020

Lichen-glazed porcelain sculptural form

I have been making new work for an installation at Somerset House as part of Collect, the international craft and design fair presented by the Crafts Council from 27th February to 1st March 2020. My installation will bring attention to the effects of global warming and pollution on lichens. The lichen crusts will become darker and fewer, eventually disappearing altogether. Lichens are indicators of clean air and are affected by sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxide from burning fossil fuels. If all the lichen disappeared from rocks and trees worldwide, global warming would increase significantly.

I made a number of glaze tests to give the effect of lichens on rocks. I like the crustose form of lichen; the white and yellow patches that grow on rocks and roofs. These are more pollution resistant than the green lichens that grow on trees. I applied the lichen glazes over matt grey glazes on closed forms representing basalt and limestone boulders and stromatolites, ancient fossilised mounds of blue-green algae, one of the first forms of life on earth that oxygenated our atmosphere.

Lichen-effect glaze tests
Test plate with overlapping lichen glazes on a grey matt glaze.

I am looking forward to exhibiting at Collect. There are other makers exhibiting including Margo Selby, as well as international galleries Ting-Ying and Flow Gallery. There is also an exhibition next door on Mushrooms: The Art, Design and Future of Fungi.

Collect, 27th February- 1st March 2020, Somerset House, The Strand, London WC2R 1LA.