Profile

 
Part of the reason for making (in fact a very large part) is to see things that I have never seen before - to build something that I cannot fully understand or explain.
Photo © Jay Goldmark

Photo © Jay Goldmark

 

 

Ken Eastman was born in 1960. He studied at Edinburgh College of Art (1979-83) and at the Royal College of Art, London (1984-87).

He exhibits widely and has won many awards in the field of the ceramic arts, including the ‘Premio Faenza’, Italy in 1995, the ‘Gold Medal’ at the 1stWorld Ceramic Exposition 2001 Korea and the ‘President De la Generalitat Valencia’ at the 5th Biennale International De Ceramica, Manises, Spain. In 1998-99 he was awarded the Arts Foundation Fellowship in Ceramics.

Eastman’s work centres around the idea of the vessel. He uses the vessel as a subject- to give meaning and form to an expression. Working through the medium of ceramics, Eastman can be both builder and painter; can handle shape and structure, as well as exploring tone and colour.

Alison Britton has written of his work: -“Not being at all bothered about function, Eastman’s work with the pot form has been a consistent route into increasing abstraction, playing both with form and surface. That is what is potentially special about ceramics- you can have body and dress, sculpture and painting, essentially connected. Painting has always been a strong card for Eastman; he can be lyrical on the sheer walls of his objects. The gestures that are made with the brush are fluid and sensual, the colours rich and quiet.

 

Photo © Jay Goldmark

Photo © Jay Goldmark

His work is held in numerous public collections including The Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park, Japan; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, USA; The Powerhouse Museum Sydney, Australia; Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Netherlands; Landesmuseum, Stuttgart; Musee des Arts Decoratifs de Montreal, Canada; The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; Museu de Ceramica de Manises, Valencia and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

In addition to his studio work, Ken Eastman has lectured and taught in many colleges and universities throughout the UK and is currently Associate Lecturer in Design Thinking at the Open University. ‘Ken Eastman, Behind the Gates of Clay’, a monograph about the development of the artist’s work was published in 2004 by the Barrett-Marsden Gallery, London. With an analytical essay by Jane McCabe, the book explores recurrent themes in Eastman’s work and the artist’s approach to making ceramics.

Eastman was elected as a member of the International Academy of Ceramics in 2003.

 

Ken Eastman is an alchemist potter. He shapes things out of clay, puts them through the fire of the kiln and of his imagination, translating the stuff of earth into something translucent, transcendent, so that, to echo Seamus Heaney’s startling words from ‘Seeing Things’,

...in that utter visibility

the stone’s alive with what’s invisible.
— Jane McCabe