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PREVIEW: Friday 1 March, from 6pm, free event.  BOOK PLACE
ARTISTS SUPPER: Friday 1 March, 7:30pm. SOLD OUT


Aligning with Messums’ special interest in active environmentalism, the gallery is pleased to present a group exhibition of ceramic artists that interrogate and are inspired by the material of clay as an earthly material and a planetary resource, considering the environmental and ecological impact of their practice.

The raw material of clay is abundant and richly varied across the globe. The surviving archaeological record shows clay being formed into objects such as figurines, vessels, and architecture, from as far back as 30,000 years ago. As such, it has and continues to play a crucial role within the ceremonies and routines of our birth, life and death cycles, whether domestic or ritual customs and its ubiquity within our own lives across time and geography makes it a material easy to take for granted.

But the ceramic medium enacts a heavy toll on the earth, both artistically and industrially, from mining clay and glaze elements to energy consuming kiln firings. It must be recognised that every ceramic object, fired into permanence exists as a debt to the earth, a chunk of raw material extracted and forever changed, not to be returned to its former state.

‘of the Earth’ explores these connections of raw clay and fired ceramic with the earth, the body and time. This group of artists explore the potential for unadorned clay and ceramic, some that make statements on the global richness of clay, others revelling in the raw materials’ performative interactivity, some describing the opposing fragility and firmness of its different states. Each manifests the importance of clay within our lives, from utility to infinity. Many do so with a sense of responsibility, aware of the deep history of making with clay whilst cautious of the future of such an industry and our planet along with it.


Artists include: William Cobbing, Halima Cassell, Nina Salsotto Cassina, Adam Buick (pictured top), Charly Blackburn, and Claudia Barreira.


Nina Salsotto Cassina

- Present ]
Nina Salsotto Cassina started her artistic practice Unurgent Argilla in London in 2019. She is currently researching soils from the base of Milano. The project is concerned with material research of non-industrial wild materials dug directly from the ground and what they become when turned into vessels.

Charly Blackburn

- Present ]
Charly Blackburn is an artist and material explorer. Her practice is process-intensive and through chemical experimentation, the works reveal the power and magical properties of minerals. Born in the UK’s agricultural flatlands dubbed ‘The Fens’, she has since studied performance design at Central Saint Martins, worked in fine art conservation and directed large ensemble live art/sound shows.

Adam Buick

- Present ]
Adam Buick a BA in Archaeology and Anthropology, Lampeter University before turning to his artistic practice at the West Wales School of Art, Carmarthen and the Crafts Council of Ireland Ceramics Design and Skills Course.

William Cobbing

[ 1974
- Present ]
William Cobbing’s artworks encompass a diverse range of media, including sculpture, ceramics, installation and performance; he also employs video and performance to create scenarios in which people are depicted immured in surrounding architecture, or buried under layers of earth.

Claudia Barreira

[ 1970
- Present ]
Claudia Barreira is an awarded ceramic artist whose practice celebrates the intrinsic traits of clay and the natural elements that surround us. Geological formations, landscapes and the silent patterns found in the natural world are a persistent influence in her pieces. Her sculptural works present the beauty of unglazed ceramics highlighted by rocks, soils and minerals collected by the artist in many areas of the world. Born in 1970 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, she worked as a pastry chef before moving to Canada in 2012 where she started art school and graduated in fine arts and art history. In 2022 she moved to London and a year later she gained a first class BA (Hons) in contemporary design ceramics at the University of Hertfordshire. She is currently attending an MA at the Royal College of Art and continue her explorations with clay and more recently glass. Claudia has exhibited in Vancouver and London and her work can be found in private collections in Canada, UK and Brazil.

Halima Cassell

[ 1975
- Present ]
Born in 1975 in Pakistan, brought up in Lancashire and now living in Shropshire, Halima’s varied, multi- cultural background is tangibly present in her work. Natural creativity presented itself at an early age and was nurtured to fruition as Halima carved her way through an art-based education: an undergraduate degree in 1997 and an MA in 2002.

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