Chris Carter's personal involvement with farming and the landscape give
him a special empathy with his native Britain. He's a genuine "son of
the soil" who has worked the land for a living and who still works with
some of the substance of that "land" to make his vessels.
Within the many layers of his unique glazes, that are first built up and then partially taken back with abrasion and multiple firings, there is contained a search for the essence of an ancient landscape and for the shadows of its creators.
These gleanings, so passionately sought, reveal themselves only gradually, like flint artefacts occasionally turned up by the plough.
"Deeper Down" - Chris Carter 02.04
working the earth
at stoneware dawn,
the wedged clay-body
seeks antique shadows
along thrown lines
in an ancient
wheel centred rhythm
while seasonal icons
dance their annual cycle
through the flint grooved
leather-hard shade of
turned green feet,
nourished by a
fired in the
Work generally available from:
Hart Gallery - 113 Upper Street, Islington, London N1 1QN.
Hart Gallery - 23 Main Street, Linby, Nottingham NG15 8AE.
Round House Gallery - The Firs, Foston, Derbyshire DE65 5DL.
Stour Gallery, Shipton on Stour Warwickshire
The New Craftsman - 23 Fore Street, St. Ives, Cornwall TR26 1HE.
Harris Interiors Gallery, Lower Parkstone, Poole, Dorset
All pots are thrown and turned with a grooved foot ring. After Biscuit firing to 980°c they are washed over with oxides and then glazed with anything up to seven layers of glaze before being gloss fired to 1250°c/1280°c in an electric kiln.
1945 - Born 12 October, Warwickshire, second son of Eric and Edna Carter.
1947 - Family moves to Grendon near Atherstone, Warwickshire.
1956 - Began working part-time at Manor House Farm, Grendon.
1957 - 64 - Attended Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Atherstone.
1964 - 65 - Pre-Diploma Course, Nuneaton School of Art.
1965 - 68 - Diploma in Art and Design-Ceramics, Stoke-on-Trent College of Art. Taught by Derek Emms and Geoffrey Whiting.
1968 - Began working full time at Manor House Farm, Grendon. Married Jennifer Boardman.
1971 - Set up present pottery at Highfields Farm, Grendon. Son Matthew born.
1972 - Taught part time at Nuneaton School of Art.
1976 - Built shop at Drayton Manor Park, near Tamworth, Staffordshire. Open daily each summer with demonstrations every weekend.
1979 - Son Thomas born.
1985 - Commenced association with The Peter Dingley Gallery, Stratford-upon-Avon.
1986 - Commenced association with The Chestnut Gallery, Bourton-on-the-Water. Finished at Drayton Manor Park.
1987 - Decided to concentrate on bolder, more individual work to be marketed through galleries. Influenced by Leach, Hamada, Coper and Rie.
1988 - Met Lucie Rie.
1989 - Potter in residence, Nethersole School, Polesworth, Warwickshire. Commissioned to make work based on artefacts in Warwick Museum. Potter in residence, St. John's House Museum, Warwick.
1990 - Commissioned to make collection of work for Solihull Council. Major Grant from West Midlants Arts for the deveopment of new forms and glaze combinations. Commissioned to make font for St. Martins-in-the-Delph, Stoneydelph, Staffordshire. Commenced association with Round House Gallery.
1991 - Commenced association with Ombersley Gallery, Worcester. Potter in residence, Rugby Arts Festival. Potter in residence, Midlands Art Centre, Birmingham. Potter in residence, Hurley School, Warwickshire.
1992 - Two pots purchased for The Sainsbury Collection.
1993 - Commenced association with Hart Gallery, London and Nottingham. Potter in residence, Atherstone Library, Warwickshire.
1995 - Commissioned to make two pots for new P & O Cruise Liner 'Oriana'. Article commissioned by American magazine 'Ceramics Monthly' was published. Commission from Mansfield College, Oxford.
1996 - Article commissioned by Ceramic Review, London, to be published next year. Featured artist, Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery.
1997 - Featured Artist, West Midlands Arts, Birmingham.
1998 - Commission for office complex, Bristol.
1999 - Commission for Povl Ahm, Ove Arup Partnership, London.
2000 - Some of the new work went to Chicago, taken by the Hart Gallery who had supported its production. "Chris Carter is taking big steps to make pots with a new kind of strength and texture, matched by an intimate projection beyond the inital impression." (Max Mayer).
2001 - Gave a lecture at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, where the pots were shown im the Spring Exhibition to mark the publication of the new book about the Lisa Sainsbury Collection written by Cyril Frankel; 'Modern Pots'. Given major creative ambitions award from West Midlands Arts for taking work to America and Cyprus. Given a grant from the Crafts Council for attending S.O.F.A. in Chicago. Gave a short lecture in Chicago.
2002 - Trip to Crambourne Chase, Dorset to meet Martin Green - farmer and archaeologist. Martin has his own museum on the farm which is part of the Chase, just south of Salisbury, where his family has farmed for generations. The farm not only contains the Neolithic Dorset Cursus, numerous long barrows and Hambledon Hill, but over the last 30 years Henges, Shafts, Plastered Houses, Land Divisions, Enclosures and Cemeteries have been identified and excavated by Martin whose work has involved five universities and one of the major field units and was recently featured in a BBC2 "Meet the Ancestors" programme.
Was featured on BBC Radio 4 Open Country 02.02.02. Small award from the West Midlands Arts for web site regstration with Axis. On August 25th a disastrous fire destroyed most of my workship. I was back in full production with a bigger kiln by Christmas.
2003 - My work was the subject of a major feature by Kitty Corrigan in the October issue of Country Living magazine. I exhibited at the Bettles Gallery with painter Brian Graham and began a friendship and working commitment to collaborate over more work in the future centred on and around Down Farm - Cranborne Chase. At the same time I met Brian's friend, travel writer and poet, Paul Hyland and we expressed a similar desire to work together on some project if possible. I also met writer Vivienne Light, who is writing a book on Cranborne Chase and is professionally interested in my involvement with the area. Later in the year I made another trip down to the Chase and spent some more time with my friend Martin Green in preparation for another exhibition with Brian Graham. We also met Steve Etches - serious amateur fossil specialist whose collection is renowned. I had my first ever open weekend in November to celebrate with family friends and customers who helped me recover from last year's fire.
2004 - I exhibited again with Brian Graham, this time at Maltby Fine Art. Entitled "Deeper Down" the exhibition concentrated on and around Martin Green's Down Farm. This work, this area and this collaboration have proved a massive influence for me and I am indebted to Martin and Brian. Some of my work was used by designer Hildegard Bechtler on her widely acclaimed set staged at the Almeida Theatre, Islington, and later at the Apollo theatre in the 'West End'.
Together with Gabi Fisher, BBC Radio 4 Producer, I was featured in her "Open Country" series along with farmer/archaeologist - Martin Green, painter - Brian Graham, poet, Paul Hyland and writer/publisher Vivienne Light at Down Farm.
2005 - Featured in March Issue of 'Country Living' Magazine and in the June edition of 'Inspirations' magazine. Featured on BBC Radio 4's programme, "The Firing" produced by Rosie Bolton. After this more trips to Down Farm to see Martin Green. I found a Neolithic stone axe, 5500 years old together with a scraper and a flake, all in Fir Tree Field. Also wrote the poem 'The Dark Essence of a White Chase' for Martin Green. (see below for this poem)
2006 – Visited Kilmartin Glen and Kilmartin House Museum to study the area in preparation for an exhibition called Standing Stoneware to be held in April at the Roger Bilcliffe Gallery, Glasgow, and at the museum itself. I found another small Neolithic flint axe while field-walking with Martin Green at Pentridge Hill, Cranbourne Chase.
Wrote poem “flinted Stoneware” in preparation for an exhibition of the same name at the Hart Galery, Islington, (see below for this poem).
2007 – Three more trips down to Cranbourne Chase this year with lots of field-walking and studying centred around Down Farm. Rewarded by finding a flint pick, a heavy axe and several small scrapers etc. The influence of the area on my work has become even more engrained and more rewarding this year. Most striking among the new ideas is a shape I call Core Stoneware, which is based on what archaeologists call a pyramidal flint core examples of which can be seen listed among the images of recent work.
2008 – The year has begun just as busy as 2007 ended making new work for an exhibition at Bettles Gallery, Ringwood, in March with Painter Martyn Brewster who is local to the area. It feels good to be showing my work again in close proximity to the area which has become so important to me.
(* denotes one man show)
1987 - The Chestnut Gallery, * Bourton-on-the-Water
1990 - Solihull Central Library *
1991 - Peter Dingley Gallery, * Stratford-upon-Avon
1992 - Ombersley Gallery, * Worcester
1993 - Ombersley Gallery, * Worcester
1994 - Hart Gallery, * London
1995 - Bettles Gallery, * Ringwood
1996 - Hart Gallery, * London
1997 - The Round House Gallery, Tutbury
1998 - The Hart Gallery, * Islington
1999 - Bettles Gallery, * Ringwood
2000 - The Hart Gallery, * Islington
2000 - The Hart Gallery, * Cornwall
2000 - The Gallery Upstairs, Henley in Arden
2000 - Ombersley Gallery, * Worcester
2000 - The Second Affordable Art Fair, Battersea Park
2000 - The Hart Gallery, Nottingham
2000 - S.O.F.A. Chicago
2000 - Art 2000, Business Design Centre, London
2001 - Roger Billcliffe Fine Art, * Glasgow
2001 - Alpha House Gallery, * Sherborne
2001 - Morphi Gallery, * Limissol, Cyprus
2001 - Eigse Arts Festival, Carlow, Ireland.
2001 - S.O.F.A. Chicago
2001 - Art London, Chelsea
2001 - 20/21 British Art Fair, Royal College of Art
2001 - Salon de Mars, Geneva
2002 - The Hart Gallery, * Islington
2002 - Ombersley Gallery, * Worcester
2002 - Art London, Chelsea
2002 - S.O.F.A. Chicago
2002 - The Hart Gallery, Nottingham
2002 - British Art Fair, London
2002 - Ombersley Gallery, * Worcester
2003 - Bettles Gallery, * Ringwood
2003 - The Hart Gallery, * Islington
2003 - The Gallery Upstairs, Henley in Arden
2003 - The Stour Gallery, Shipston on Stour
2003 - Europ'Art, Geneva
2003 - British Art Fair, London
2003 - ART form, Palm Beach
2003 - Art London
2003 - Galerie Place Neuve, Avignon
2003 - Hart Gallery, Nottingham
2003 - Presence, Ilkley
2004 - Maltby Art, * Winchester
2004 - The Oakwood Gallery, Edwinstone
2004 - Round House Gallery, Derby
2004 - Riverhouse Gallery, Walton on Thames
2004 - Ombersley Gallery, * Worcester
2004 - The Gallery Upstairs, Henley in Arden
2004 - Art London
2004 - Hart Gallery, Nottingham
2004 - Bettles Gallery, Ringwood
2005 - Hart Gallery, Islington*
2005 - "Collect" Victoria and Albert Museum, London
2005 - Islington Art Fair
2005 - Roger Billcliffe Fine Art, Glasgow
2005 - Stour Gallery* Shipston on Stour
2005 - Hart Gallery, Nottingham
2007 – The Gallery Upstairs, Henley-in-Arden
2007 - Roundhouse Gallery, Derby
2007 - Art London, Islington Art Fair
2007 - Stour Gallery, Shipston-on-Stour
2008 – Art London
2008 - Bettles Gallery*, Ringwood
2008 - Hart Gallery*, Islington (November)
Over the Naleds on your Chalkland Farm
past the Deep Shaft edge of an Ice Age drama,
as you were fieldwalking, one chain and a half West of the Cursus,
you saw revealed a dark stain in a ploughed Fir Tree Field
and later excavated there a remarkable Bronze Age feature
where now, encouraged by your wildlife conservation,
the brown hares play hide and seek with death across your excavation,
jackknifing around the remains of that ancient Pond Barrow:
each Spring they chase the Cinerary Urns you uncovered...
leporine bones lost in homage to a rare and sacred form,
boxing their essential way where the infant's rounded flint once lay,
and dancing whereabouts the skull and horn were pressed
in a Cup and Ring of hollow anguish.
When brushed with all the silvern light
of my four hundred bearded moons
the black storm clouds of that Bronze Age night
rain their way, through the flinted rays of a jealous dawn,
down to a whiting sea of skeletal clay
where the undertow of a Dionysian tide
blends and wedges the stoneware body with a potter's know-how,
then throws it in a seasonal rhythm,
works it into symbols of the axe or plough
and fires it, gazing Phoenix brightly,
at the Sun's birthplace
into the dark essence of a white Chase.
2005 Chris Carter
Born of earthen inspiration
in a ploughed midland
and enriched on a southern Chase,
this Dionysian cipher,
now floating on an ancient chalk sea,
has sought the essence of Down land;
throwing flinted stoneware in seasonal rhythm,
glazing peeled back horizons
with bone marrow,
and firing time-lines
around that firdt deep song.
Chris Carter 10.06