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Exhibiting ceramics by The Ceramicist

August 11, 2021

The Ceramicist blogging logo of Vivien Phelan

In July I was too busy and stressed out to write a blog as I took part in 'Celebrating ceramics' with 'Craft in Focus' at Waterperry Gardens near Oxford for 3 days.

The weather was wonderful and so were the visitors who came in their droves, even though they had to arrive at a previously booked time. I thought the entry fee was very reasonable, particularly if you booked early.

The exhibitors were amazing with lots of diverse ceramics for sale at a range of prices. To top it all, for those who watched the programme, the last six pottery throw down candidates were also exhibiting. Since the show was during lockdown, they have all become firm friends and are lovely people to chat to.

Worry less, yoga more by VIvien PhelanWorry less, yoga more by Vivien Phelan

So for my August blog I was attracted to an article in the Sunday Times on the 1st of the month entitled, “Buyers go wild for 'secret Lowry'”

The Sunday Times article tells the story of an unskilled, unknown labourer from Warrington, Cheshire who died three years ago at the age of 86. Even his family didn’t know he was a prolific painter until they found in his ex-council house loft with 400 of his creation depicting everyday working life in the north of England. Unlike Lowry, Tucker’s paintings are full of character and warmth (no matchstick men). His family tried unsuccessfully to find a gallery to show Eric’s work so they held an open house exhibiting his paintings in his home with 14 paintings, they sold out within a few hours as over 2,000 people turned up.

A year later, his work was shown at the Warrington Museum and Art Gallery in 'The Unseen Artist' show, which became one of the most popular exhibitions in its 144 year history.

The article struck a chord with me as my parents would not let me train in the arts as they thought I needed to have a job from which I could guarantee a steady income.  After a successful career as a nurse, I retrained as a ceramicist and since appearing on BBC 1’s ‘Home is where the art is’ last summer, have had a constant income stream from ceramic commissions.  Since Spring I have come up for air and been able to create, and now exhibit at Waterperry, some of my non commissioned artworks.  

In 1980, Eric tried to find an art dealer but was put off by the 30-35% dealer’s fee and said “bloody hell, I do all the work”. Most artists in all disciplines have to even pay more than this - particularly in London - to exhibit or perform their work.  Twice Eric tried to get accepted by the Royal Academy’s summer exhibition, without success.

Last month a Mayfair gallery, who normally exhibit the works of such renowned artists as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and Damien Hirst took on a great many paintings by Eric Tucker.  And within two days 80% had been sold.  

To celebrate this local artist, Warrington craft brewery, “Twisted Wheel Brew Co” released a limited-edition beer to commemorate Eric Tucker.  Named the 'Tucker’s palette', it’s a strong bitter made with British hops, available in the pubs where Eric used to sit and paint.

What a shame he was not able to see his success! 

Other painters whose art became sought after, and made them famous, after they died are, but to name a few, Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Johannes Vermeer, Paul Cezanne, Henri -Toulouse Lautrec, Paul Gaugin, Alfred Sisley...the list goes on.

I wouldn’t presume to categorise my own work among these artworld greats - or dream of any such legacy.  But, I’m content that I’ve been able, at least to prove my parents wrong.  You can make a living from your art.  All you need is to produce work that connects with art lovers, is to find your unique voice.
All the artists at Skylark Galleries have found their unique voice.  Do take a look at just a few of them here…
Androgenous by Joel Sydenham artist
Androgenous by Joel Sydenham £350
Daisy and other flowers drawing by Portrait Artist Stella Tooth
Daisy & other flowers by Stella Tooth £155
Starry night by artist Linda Samson
Starry night by Linda Samson £800
Companion by Sangeeta Bhagawati artist
Companion by Sangeeta Bhagawati £120
Dark sitting figurine by Ruty Benjamini
Dark sitting figurine by Ruty Benjamin £255.00
The Ceramicist aka Vivien Phelan blogger bio

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