Bill Brown's Ceramics Impress

by Alastair Hamilton -

Visitors to the Bonhoga Gallery have been enjoying an exhibition by Bill Brown, who has returned to Shetland following retirement as Head of Ceramic Design at Glasgow School of Art.

A craftsman, designer and teacher, Bill has been working full-time in ceramics since graduating from college in 1974. This exhibition illustrates the diversity of his skills and the flexibility of ceramics as a medium. Bill has specialised for a number of years in the techniques of casting and ceramic printmaking.

He explains:

“Ceramics is unique as an art-form. Ceramicists are defined by the material rather than a particular kind of product and we can explore all the many different areas within it; one-off pieces, tableware, tiles, sanitary ware, sculpture – the possibilities are endless and the great thing is that, providing no-one drops them, the pieces will still look as fresh in a thousand years as they do now. Potters always have the last laugh.”

Exhibition visitors have been smiling, too, because some of the beautifully-executed exhibits play wittily on familiar icons. The cake-stand for Tunnock's Teacakes is a delight, while a visually convincing margarine tub's label reads "I can't believe it's not plastic". All the pieces impress by their delicacy and subtle use of material and colour, and the combining of ceramic and screen-printing techniques is outstanding.

Jane Matthews, Shetland Arts Exhibitions Officer said: “It has been a long time since we have staged an exhibition of ceramics at Bonhoga and it is a pleasure to be working with Bill at this important stage in his creative career as he plans to return to Voe and establish his new workshop.”

Bill also took part in a "Meet your Maker" session in mid-June, which took a "behind the scenes" look at the processes involved in Bill's work, and there was also a ceramics workshop for 7 – 12 year olds.

Bill Brown is one of many artists and makers practising in Shetland these days, several of whom have moved to the islands to join a community that has always embraced craft and design.

Posted in: Creative Scene, News