Discover Ceramics at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

Ceramics is everywhere right now, but how much do you really know about this natural material – where does it come from, why does it behaves like it does, and how difficult is it to master?

Well next Saturday October 12th you can find out, as the Craft Potters Association has teamed up with clay maker Potclays to bring a ton of clay and a day-long celebration of ceramics to the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, including a rare appearance from Spitting Image’s Roger Law.

Live demonstrations

Between 10am and 4pm the museum will be filled with expert live demonstrations showing the full range of the potter’s art: throwing on a wheel, building by hand and surface decoration from top makers in the field. 

Alistair Young and Graham Hudson

Jan Byrne and Rose Wallace

Rhian Malin and  Russell Coates

Get hands on!

Parasite Ceramics are working with a ton of clay to host a fantastic participation project in the museum courtyard. Get hands on and do some making yourself.

Talks Programme

A special collection of three ceramics themed talks on one ticket to accompany Discover Ceramics. 

Each talk will last up to an hour. Lunch can be taken between Jack Doherty and Roger Law. There is a good cafeteria in the Ashmolean or a wealth of other options nearby.



The Brown Betty teapot is a design classic, but as such is largely taken for granted and unexplored. Once made in millions, it is still produced by one maker Stoke from the original Etruria Marl red clay, the bedrock of the city, and coated with the instantly recognisable Rockingham glaze. With support from the Arts Council, maker and designer Ian McIntyre embarked on a special project examining the history of this iconic object to develop a special edition for Cauldon Ceramics, the last remaining UK manufacturer.

Ian researched deep into the history of this “authorless icon”, designed and refined through a process of making which spans 300 years in the UK, and its surprising origins in China even before that. The culmination is a new Brown Betty, designed to incorporate the best of its history and to carry it forward into the future.

Ian is a founding member of Studio Manifold in East London. He teaches at Kingston University and currently holds a Collaborative Doctoral Award with Manchester School of Art, York Art Gallery and the British Ceramics Biennial.

Jack Doherty – A JOURNEY IN CLAY

Jack wanted to be a painter, but ever since a fateful visit to Lucie Rie’s studio while a student at Ulster convinced him he wanted to make pots for a living, his life has been shaped by making in clay. As a potter and ceramic artist he has gained an international reputation exhibiting extensively in the UK and abroad. Through his career he has refined and distilled his approach, resulting in his unique complex, multi-layered surface texture and colour, expressed in a variety of shapes. Known as an expert in porcelain and soda firing working with his trademark blue, he also produces elegant soda-fired domestic stoneware. He lives and makes surrounded by his work in Mousehole, Cornwall.

Jack will discuss his aesthetic and personal journey as a potter.

Born in Northern Ireland, Jack Doherty studied at the Ulster College of Art and Design in Belfast. He currently works independently from his home studio in Mousehole and is resident potter at the Newlyn School of Art where he fires his gas kiln.

Roger Law

Roger Law used to be famous; he was the artist and energy behind the satirical TV show Spitting Image. The success of the UK television programme which pilloried the rich and famous ironically made him rich and famous. He quietly deported himself to Australia to concentrate on what was left of his talent.

In the last two decades he has gone from politics to pots working in both Australia and China’s ‘Porcelain City’ Jingdezhen, brought into ceramics through a collaboration for the V&A with the late great Janice Tchalenko. He would like his pots to be as engaging and attractive as his caricatures were rude and ugly. Some of his work was recently shown in a fascinating exhibition at the Sainsbury Centre, Norwich. Thankfully he remains as scurrilous as ever. Prepare to be amused and astonished by his journey.


Potclays are a fourth generation business, family-owned and run and still mining and manufacturing clay the old way in Stoke-on-Trent, heart of The Potteries.