22nd August to 12th September

In preparation for his solo-exhibition, Icon, produced by AirSpace Gallery in partnership with the British Ceramics Biennial, 2015, designer Ian McIntyre will be in residence at the Gallery and working collaboratively with a key Stoke-on-Trent ceramics manufacturer.

The project’s starting point is AirSpace’s Spode China Rose and the similarities and apparent disciplinary crossovers in its evolutionary journey in comparison with the ceramic production process. From this, McIntyre will be exploring the minutiae of manufacturing through research and documentation of the history and evolution of the Brown Betty teapot and assessing its potential as a 21st century icon.

The background of this residency lies in the Spode China Rose project, which saw the Gallery work collaboratively with award-winning rose breeder Gareth Fryer to develop and bring to market a brand new rose. During this collaboration, similarities between the rose breeder's and the artist's processes became apparent, largely around the practical research, experiment and development of works and projects and highlighted in his text, Hybridising the Process.

The Brown Betty is a type of tea pot produced as early as the seventeenth century in Stoke-on-Trent. The pots character and form derive from the continual refinement of its functions and the production constraints in which it has been made over some 300 years. This makes it a product of evolution rather than the aesthetic pursuit of design. It has transcended fashion and trends to become a classic. It is difficult to imagine how we might improve this pot without there being a significant change in our manufacturing techniques, our culture, or our bodies. Hybridising the Process is a project which explores bespoke evolutions of the Brown Betty by engaging with the manufacturer of the teapot and exploring a process of collaborative co-design.

In line with the British Ceramics Biennial's focus in 2015 of the production line, we have invited designer-maker Ian Mcintyre to research and explore the evolutionary processes in his own field of ceramic product design and manufacture. The 2 week residency will inform Mcintyre's solo exhibition, Icon, which will open at AirSpace Gallery as part of the British Ceramics Biennial, 2015 on September 26th.

Ian McIntyre

With a background in product design and applied art, McIntyre employs a mix of industrial design and craft skills within his practice. Predominantly working in ceramics, he designs through making - identifying the inherent qualities in materials and designing forms or processes that enhance them. His products focus on archetypal shapes and materials for utility and everyday use.

Recently McIntyre has been exploring craftsmen who work on an industrial scale, the most notable of whom being Isaac Button. Button made wares for cooking, brewing, storing grain and feeding chickens - they were predominantly intended for utility. He bridged the gap between design and production and here his processes and products were subject to continual evolution and refinement driven by speed and dexterity. His resulting work was full of subtle deviations, which have an unassuming and transparent quality, not least because they manifest within highly functional and seemingly anonymous objects.

The artist’s Jerwood Makers Open work - A Ton of Clay, is a nod to Button and his notoriety for being able to throw a ton of clay pots in any one day. McIntyre has re-imagined Button’s approach to making by using ex-industrial machinery. He has developed techniques that reveal the clays original plasticity in his new series of tableware, made from white stoneware. Matching Button’s ton, the artist presents hundreds of plates and bowls stacked in towering columns that, from a side profile, look like pillars of raw clay. The result is a combination of machine-made and irregular details in his batch-produced tableware.

Ian McIntyre (b.1984) studied MA Ceramics & Glass at the Royal College of Art (2010). Selected exhibitions include: Selected by Michael Marriott and Jesse Wine, Limoncello Gallery, London, 2014; Candela, London Design Festival, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2014; blickfnag selected, curated by Nils Holger Moorman, Percy Thonet, Alexander von Vegesack and Sebastian Wrong, Munich, Stuttgart, Basel, 2014. His 2008 Slush Cast Bowl was commissioned by 10 Downing Street as an editioned gift for world leaders at the G20 summit in London, 2009. His Pottery Series for Another Country was nominated for Best British Design at the Elle Decoration British Design Awards 2012. In 2013 McIntyre was selected for the British Ceramics Biennial Award Exhibition and was commissioned to produce a set of tableware ceramics for Wrong for Hay. He is a founding member of Studio Manifold.

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In preparation for his solo-exhibition, Icon, produced by AirSpace Gallery in partnership with the British Ceramics Biennial, 2015, designer Ian McIntyre will be in residence at the Gallery and working collaboratively with a key Stoke-on-Trent ceramics manufacturer.

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The Brown Betty, Mould, 2015
The Spode China Rose, Spode Rose Garden, 2015

AirSpace Gallery is a collaborative, artist led project in Stoke-on-Trent, providing professional development opportunities, studio and exhibiting space and support for artists.

Through a dynamic and evolving programme of exhibitions, events and activities AirSpace Gallery brings critical, high quality contemporary art to the region and provides opportunities for a broad range of artists.

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4 Broad Street
City Centre

Open during exhibitions

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