Artwork of the Week – Magdalene Odundo

Magdalene Odundo. 'Untitled ' (h) 49.5cm x (w) 26cm, Red clay carbonized and multi-fired


Liverpool artwork of the week 2009-39. Untitled ceramic by Magdalene Udundo at Bluecoat Display Centre 3 October – 28 November 2009

Much bigger than they look in this picture, and not inexpensive, I can’t help but be imprsssed by the presence these objects give to a room. The skill, technique and knowledge that goes into the making is something else too. Do take a look but keep your arms close to your sides.

Also Magdalene Odundo is giving this year’s annual Garner Medwin Lecture on Thursday 19 November from 2.30 – 3.30pm. at the Bluecoat.

Tickets are available from the Bluecoat Display Centre at £4.95 (£3.95 concs.) places are limited so it is advisable to pre-book by phone, email or in person.

Odundo’s simple assured forms are hand built, primarily using a coiling technique. Several pieces are produced simultaneously, often taking days or even weeks to complete, and when leather-hard, each is laboriously burnished, covered with slip, and burnished again. When dry the pots are fired in a gas kiln, first in an oxidizing atmosphere which turns them a naturally bright red-orange, and often a second time, enclosed in a special container filled with woodchip sand shavings where the reduced atmosphere causes the clay to chemically alter and turn black.


Her pots are visually akin to pottery produced in Africa but her work also has affinities with early Cypriot pots of the bronze age. Magdalene’s search for the perfect form is her ideal: a form with ’perfect harmony, perfect symmetry and perfect balance.’