Archaeology: Site, Object, Context; Interpreting A Collection. A study of the ceramic work of Robert Louis Blatherwick (1920-1993)
The previously unrecorded work of Robert Louis Blatherwick occupies an empty space, representing a gap in the recording of twentieth century ceramic history. The body of work produced deserves attention.
Visual elements of his work respond to and reflect the work of early Chinese ceramicists as well as contemporary 20th century studio potters. His work was recognised and received acclaim during his lifetime, both locally and abroad, but there is a lack of documentation or scholarly investigation into the production of his work, particularly the earthenware of his later years.
This thesis chronologises the work of RLB, based largely on the collection in the family home, the only comprehensive archive, and examines its relationship with the hegemony of the studio pottery movement; pots, place and context are recorded, surveyed and analysed.
The discourse of the work, viewed from within the house, considers intersections with more well known studio potters, the impact of changing attitudes towards ceramics in education, and engagement with the studio pottery movement during self-employment.
By filling the space between the visible and invisible (Derrida), the transgressive power of recording has pulled on many strings, unearthing the complexity of a personal and political void.