New Walker Art Gallery exhibition showcases creative talent of North West makers

Claire Curneen - Baroque and Berserk, hand-built of porcelain 45cm wide x 145cm long x 50cm high. Photo © Dewi Tannatt Lloyd

A new exhibition will celebrate the creative flair of makers with links to the North West, including pioneering sculptor Emma Rodgers, renowned potter Julia Carter Preston and Jacob Chan; a finalist on Channel 4’s The Great Pottery Throwdown in 2020. 

The Walker Art Gallery will celebrate 50 years of craft collecting with a series of new displays that showcase the work by established and emerging makers in the North West who present their work on the international stage. Past Present Future: Celebrating Craft, opening in spring 2021, will draw on the gallery’s outstanding collections of late twentieth-century craft. 

The exhibition, which will include studio ceramics, glass, metalwork and furniture, will demonstrate how makers combine the traditional skills of the past with ideas for the future.  

Nicola Scott, Assistant Curator of Decorative Art, said: “The Walker Art Gallery has collected and championed the work of some truly remarkable makers over many years. Excitingly, this exhibition brings together a number of new pieces which will be shown here for the first time. 

“This includes Lost Temple, a very special collaboration between Emma Rodgers and Jacob Chan. The installation is a fantastical scene guarded by Chinese Foo Dogs, over-run by mischievous monkeys, and presided over by a regal wild peacock. 

“The work, made specially for the Walker, is a wonderful example of the coming together of a well-established, world-renowned artist with a bright, emerging young talent both inspired and informed by the artists and collections of the Walker Art Gallery.” 

The exhibition features other highlights from North West makers, from the work of the late Julia Carter Preston, known for reviving the ancient technique of Sgraffito, to furniture maker, Hugh Miller, who draws on his training as an architect for his elegant pieces.  

Striking hand-built porcelain pieces by Claire Curneen and blue and white ceramics by Paul Scott are embedded throughout the Gallery, making fascinating connections between the contemporary and historic.   

The artists featured in Past Present Future: Celebrating Craft are: Ruth Ball (whose work will join the exhibition from June), Julia Carter Preston, Halima Cassell, Jacob Chan, Claire Curneen, David Frith, Margaret Frith, Hugh Miller, Attila Olah, Emma Rodgers and Paul Scott.  

The exhibition will be shown in a series of displays in the Walker’s Craft and Design Gallery, as well as in Rooms 5 and 11, when the Gallery reopens in spring 2021 (date to be confirmed).  

Past Present Future: Celebrating Craft is supported by the Art Fund’s Professional Network Grant and is presented in partnership with the Williamson Art Gallery and the Bluecoat Display Centre.  

A range of work by the makers featured is on sale at the Bluecoat Display Centre, College Lane, Liverpool. 

www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/celebratingcraft