No identities, just design

Cutting a cult-like shape in big, bad world of pottery and homeware, those working as part of design group Grantchester Pottery must first sublimate their own identity.

Installation view, Decor, Rowing, London 2012
Installation view, Decor, Rowing, London 2012

They are no longer and individual designer or artist, but part of a singular unit, working for the group, not for the self.

Cable Accessory, 2012
Cable Accessory, 2012

At least, for the duration of the group’s show at London’s ICA, this will be the case, when Grantchester Pottery will take over the arts centre’s Reading Room and transform it into a living workshop and showroom space.

Coffee Pothead, 2012
Coffee Pothead, 2012

During its tenure at the space, the gallery will become a place for the designers to develop, document and display their works, including anthropomorphic glazed stoneware lampshades, plant pots and designs for patterned wallpaper, textiles and furniture.

Notices #3, 2012.
Notices #3, 2012.

All pieces will bear the signifier of the GP emblem, with individual artists’ contributions remaining unknown.

Sundae sculpture #6, 2012
Sundae sculpture #6, 2012

The group’s name is drawn from the history rural village of Grantchester, a village on the River Cam or Granta in Cambridgeshire. It was here that at the turn of the 20th century such literary luminaires as Rupert Brooke, Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, EM Forster & Virginia Woolf met to share their ideas, fostering a sense of collaboration and collusion.

Vase, 2012
Vase, 2012

The name of the forthcoming ICA show, Artist Decorators, is drawn from the same era – namely from Vorticist Wyndham Lewis’ 1913 letterhead for the Omega Workshops, the Fitzrovia-based design enterprise founded by the Bloomsbury Group.

Installation view, Decor, Rowing, London 2012
Installation view, Decor, Rowing, London 2012

The Omega Workshops’ goal was to marry decoration and utilitarianism, using its Modernist standpoint to create a whole new way of viewing traditional crafts and art.

It’s a goal carried forward by Grantchester Pottery today, and judging from their previous works, it’s something of a visual treat – regardless of its ideologies.

The Grantchester Pottery: Artist Decorators will run from 19 June – 14 August at  Fox Reading Room, Institute of Contemporary Arts, The Mall, London, SW1Y

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