Joanna Constantinidis British Studio Pottery Vase Leach Rie Coper Influence Nr For Sale
Rare vase by Joanna Constantinidis. Signed with her JC mark to the bottom of the vase. Measures: 9x5x3.5 inches. No post firing defects to note. Very attractive piece of pottery. per the guardian in the UK: Through her radical methods of clay manipulation, the potter Joanna Constantinidis, who has died aged 72, helped to reinvent the "thrown" vessel - one formed on the potter's wheel, rather than hand-constructed.
The result was a language grounded in a complex appreciation of ceramic history, and informed by the abstract purity of ancient Greek art, and much of the architecture, sculpture and painting produced by the modern movement. Constantinidis distilled and concentrated form. Looking beyond her craft, she produced ceramics that coalesced with the space and spare language of modernism.
Born Joanna Connell in York, into a family of Scottish Celtic ancestry, she grew up in Sheffield and was educated at the local grammar school. At home she began to paint and draw, and though art was not on the school curriculum, she recalled the indelible impression made by her headmaster, talking persuasively about Picasso's The Three Musicians. This inspired her, as did the knowledge that her history teacher, Dorothy Kemp, was also a potter, who worked at the Leach pottery at St Ives.
In 1946 Constantinidis went to Sheffield College of Art, to study fine art, but she chose pottery for her intermediate exams and became enthralled. She was taught by the fondly-recalled ceramic sculptor HR Stone who, like Dorothy Kemp, was an enthusiast for slipware pottery. Constantinidis began to absorb the few useful texts available at that time, such as Bernard Leach's A Potter's Book. It was, she remembered, a period of trial and error at a time when knowledge was scarce.
From 1951 until her retirement in 1989, Constantinidis was a teacher at Chelmsford's technical college. Patient and inspiring, she developed her throwing skills in the spare hours.
Her work underwent remarkable changes. Initially she looked at Staffordshire slipware, early saltglaze and industrial wares for ideas, as well as modern oriental potters such as Shoji Hamada. Although her 1950s pots, exhibited at the British Crafts Centre, the Red Rose Guild and the Whitechapel Art Gallery, were distinctly Leach-influenced, Constantinidis had never forgotten the words of Eric Jones, her Sheffield drawing teacher, who had said that "one can do so much in a single line". In search of such economy, she became dissatisfied with glazes and decoration and worked towards a language that emphasised form and the material of the clay.
Impressed by a series of exhibitions by leading potters Hans Coper and Lucie Rie, held at the Berkeley Galleries in the 1950s, she reformulated her approach, concentrating, as they had, on a few elemental shapes. She focused on tall vessels and bowls, using broad fluting or incised decoration and matt glazes that emphasised the clay's surface. Pots were more "urban" in character, and clearly connected with much of the new architecture and design then being produced, though their roots lay in her great admiration for early Mediterranean pots.
By the early 1970s, she was altering her shapes through post-wheel modifications - folding and cutting to create unexpected articulations. These objects still preserved the rhythms of throwing, emphasised by the quiet pulse of rings left by the turning wheel. These gently corrugated surfaces, and the asymmetry she could instil in a vessel's profile, contributed to what she called "latent energy", a sense of movement preserved in a pot's apparent stasis. By finally eliminating glazes and concentrating on lustres, she could define the "bone" of the pot more effectively.
Through the 1980s and 1990s, her forms became simpler. Large, open, leaning pots and tall, tapering vessels explored and defined space with a sweeping concision, reminiscent of Richard Serra's steel sculptures or much industrial architecture. Yet, despite her obvious debt to the 20th century landscape, her aesthetic was just as much rooted in the natural world, whether it was the Greece of her husband, writer and film-maker Photis Constantinidis, or the windswept marshes of her beloved Essex coast.
Increasingly alone in the last years, she concentrated on stoneware and porcelain in alternation, in the spare functionality of her home near Chelmsford. Though a regular exhibitor, her essential austerity had little interest in self-promotion. Although she made ceramics for use - her porcelain tableware was particularly well designed - she disliked the reductive connotations of "craft pottery". She believed strongly that ceramics had sensory values that made it an independent language, going beyond the confines of both art and craft.
Very private, Joanna was extremely loyal to her friends, who experienced her self-deprecating wit and sense of fun, and wide cultural knowledge. Though her work was acquired by many public collections, and her contribution was marked by a major touring retrospective in 1995, Joanna felt there was still much to be learned from her material.
She recovered sufficiently from a stroke to complete work for a final poignant show at the Crafts Council shop at the Victoria and Albert Museum last May. The pots exhibited were small and simple, but with their resonant lustres and incisive angular forms, were objects of remarkable life - a distillation of 50 years' potting. They were the hallmark of an artist who strove for a structural and material essence, and the result was a highly disciplined and intelligent language that contributed much to modern life.
She is survived by her husband.
• Joanna Constantinidis, potter, born December 12 1927; died August 1 2000
On Jun-11-13 at 06:25:49 PDT, seller added the following information:
It has come to my attention that this may not be by Joanna. I am unsure of the potter. If you know, please let me know.
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Joanna Constantinidis British Studio Pottery Vase Leach Rie Coper Influence Nr: $179