Steve Harrison

(1952 – )

Natural sericite porcelain stone, Arita, Japan

Not on display
Further information

Steve Harrison’s ceramics take simple forms - specifically bowls and cups as a vehicle through which to articulate concerns around ceramic history, the environment, and a way of life based upon trying to touch the ground lightly. His research into kiln and clay technology has led him to a simplification of production and sourcing of materials that strips ceramics back to its origins.

His important series of bowls known as '5 stones' are made from the five naturally occurring sources of porcelain in the world: Jingdezhen, China; Yanggu, Korea; Arita, Japan; Cornwall, UK and Mittagong, Australia. Harrison's investigations into these sources stretch over 15 years, from 2002 to 2017. He is interested in the origins of these porcelain sources, specifically centred around a rock called serecite, which is ground and processed into a clay body without additives. It is this sourcing and pressing, and the making of the work near the source which is of interest to Harrison. Workng on the idea of sustainability, works are made from a 50-kilometre-wide palette of materials, not only for clay and glaze materials such as local rocks, shales, gravels and ash, but also the wood that fires the kiln.

This bowl was made on Harrison’s third research visit to Arita, where he rented space in Tatsuya Tatui’s studio. This artisanal sericite porcelain clay is of Japanese ‘national treasure’ quality. The clay was handmade in the Fuchino family small clay processing workshop. Harrison said: ‘ They usually only make their best, hand-selected white sericite porcelain stone body for a select few potters - two of whom are ‘National Treasure’ potters. I was very lucky to get to use it.’

Natural sericite porcelain stone, blue celadon glaze
8.5 x 11.8 x 11.7 cm
Vicki Grima Ceramics Fund and Mollie Douglas Bequest Fund 2020
Accession number
© Steve Harrison