Miles-Moore Ceramics make a comeback after 23 years
PUBLISHED: 00:00 04 August 2016 | UPDATED: 17:12 31 August 2016
Martin Miles Moore suddenly stopped producing ceramics despite making the shelves at Liberty and the collection at the V&A. Now, after 23 years, he’s back and fired up once more. Sophia Newton reports.
On a summer’s evening in the Lune Valley it is easy to see why Martin Miles Moore has chosen a converted outbuilding in this pretty part of England for a studio to create exquisite ceramic work. It’s in the middle of a working farm surrounded by greenery, with views across to the Lakeland fells and Morecambe Bay. Here Martin has found a place which resonates with his love of the natural world and the relationship between man and place.
Returning to the area and, indeed, to pottery after a break of 23 years feels like the final piece of the jigsaw in Martin’s varied career. Chosen to show with ‘New Designers’ in 1989 and 1990, Martin’s work was taken up by a number of high profile galleries and retail outlets including Liberty’s of London. Exhibiting his Eastern inspired work throughout the UK and abroad, including ‘The Festival of Britain’ in California, resulted in work being taken up by private and public collections. These include the contemporary ceramics collection at the V&A as well as local institutions like Towneley Hall and Lancaster Museum. The next chapter in Martin’s life came with the crash of 1992 when the market for collecting ceramics at this high level collapsed and he chose to re-focus on his other skill as a physiotherapist. It was a shift which saw him working at the highest level again though this time with the RAF, fire and police services as well as in Olympic sports.
Today, speaking at his studio at Foulstone, between Lupton and Kirkby Lonsdale, Martin reflects on his transition from potter to physio and back again. ‘I have spent my entire life working with my hands, as a physiotherapist and also as a potter. In both these professions I have explored and used Eastern and Western approaches. My professional identities are tied to together, not just by the manual skills required - strength, sensitivity and dexterity - but also by the approaches necessary for success. Understanding the balance between form and movement is an essential part both of treating a patient and creating beautiful ceramics.’
‘East meets West’ is Martin’s latest collection of work. The region’s rural and industrial landscape, as well as the resilience of the people who live there are its inspiration. This new collection of work integrates iconic local materials such as Coniston slate, Shap pink granite, iron ore from the Florence Mine in Egremont and river sand deposited in the Lune Valley fields after Storm Desmond.
The result is a body of work which feels contemporary yet respectful of the past. Our stunning landscape, history and evolving economy can be seen and felt when cradling one of Martin’s ‘Chawan’ - a Japanese tea bowl. Despite drawing on Cumbria’s geological and industrial heritage and traditional Japanese forms, the collection feels contemporary clean and utterly modern.
The sparkling granite shards and crystals embedded within fired clay are beautiful and seeing them used in this refined way elevate these earthy ingredients to a higher art form.
‘I have come to realise how much my location has influenced my work,’ says Martin, who lived and worked in the South Lakes for around 20 years. ‘Ceramics is an elemental discipline, bringing fire, air earth and water together to create new and varied forms, just as the stunning natural landscape of Cumbria was once formed.
‘East meets West brings together traditional Japanese forms and techniques, with local materials from the east and the west of the county, just as the landscape, people and cultural history of Cumbria attracts visitors from the far east and far west of the globe. The East meets West Collection represents my tribute to them all.’
Fired with enthusiasm
Martin Miles Moore’s work can be seen at his studio in Lupton by appointment firstname.lastname@example.org or via www.milesmooreceramics.com. His studio, The Raines @ Foulstone Farm, Lupton, LA6 2PP, at will be open every day between September 10-25 as part of the C-Art open studio event with the exception of Thursday 15th September when he will be at Florence Arts Centre demonstrating Raku firing. He will also be running Raku demonstrations at his Studio at 14:00 on September 10, 11, 16–18 and the 24th.