Ceramic Review is quite simply a magazine about ceramic arts and crafts. Through combining the theory with practical (which is what we go by), we sit down with Sue, the Editor of the magazine to find out a little bit more information. Sue – how did you personally get involved in the magazine?
I took on Ceramic Review – which is the international magazine for contemporary and historical ceramic art – just last year to relaunch the title, as it was marking its 45th anniversary. We have given the magazine a complete refresh, with exciting new content, a redesign and more digital platforms. My background was first in broadsheet newspapers, then BBC Magazines, where I’ve covered design, art, craft, architecture, culture and more. Ceramics have long been a favourite art form of mine.
You and the rest of Ceramic Review must attend many events and exhibitions – for you what are the elements throughout (either the ceramics or artwork) that sets them apart above the rest?
I attended some 52 events last year alone, so yes, we certainly get to see a lot. Each one has an identity of its own though, so it isn’t easy to say what sets one apart, above the rest through its art. For us it’s the diversity of ceramic art and pottery on offer that makes us want to visit. Ceramics can be a very inclusive art form – so you may attend a show such as the mighty Art in Clay at Hatfield House – (19-21 August this year) – and see the work of a country potter, who makes fine, honest tableware, alongside the work of a globally renown ceramic artist. We love that mix. When we want to see the very best in ceramic art, then we head to the show that we have long had an association with, Ceramic Art London. Only the very best artists in clay get to exhibit at such an event.
You sell the physical magazine nationally; is there a chance you’d wish you sell internationally?
We do sell internationally, but through our subscribers. We have readers as far afield as Zululand and the Azores, New Zealand and Korea. As we are based in central London, just opposite the British Museum, we also get a lot of international visitors coming to our partner gallery here (the Contemporary Ceramics Centre: cpaceramics.com), where they buy the magazine. Keep an eye out for our special subscription offers, which we run occasionally – they are great value. See www.ceramicreview.com/subscribe
As Editor, what do you find are common trajectories for someone aiming to be Editor of Ceramic Review?
The path for anyone wanting to become an Editor of a title such as Ceramic Review would be:
- Have a strong interest in the arts – especially ceramics – and plan your career around this
- Have a good grounding in arts journalism – ideally with journalistic training behind you at the start; gain as much experience on arts magazines (print or digital or both) as you can
- Know your way around the making of both a print magazine and the power of harnessing social media
- Build a great network of contacts within the chosen subject matter – and within arts journalism
- Attend as many events tied in with the subject matter as you can – the only way to learn more about your subject, spot the best stories – and the emerging talent – is to be ‘out there’
Through your current issue (May/June) you feature ceramic artists such as Ruth King, who works with funded projects right through to Richard Miller who we all know and love from the roles on BBC’s ‘The Great Pottery Throw Down’. How do you explore who you feature and what draws your attention to the different roles?
As with all magazines, we’re looking for the topical, the current, the fresh: who has got a solo show that they are working towards? How can we give our readers a behind-the-scenes feature – visiting a maker’s studio, finding out about their processes. Who are the emerging makers we think should be on our reader’s radar? That’s why it is so important for us to be out and about, meeting makers and visiting the shows they are at, to hear about their latest projects. We also understand how important the collector is in this field; collectors and collections are a rich seam of fascinating stories, which is why I introduced a collecting section as part of the CR refresh. Shows such as The Great Pottery Throw Down are fantastic for this field, so you can expect some colourful features coming up, to align with the second series later this year.
Quick round time:
Printed or digital? Both. I genuinely didn’t think I’d be editing a print title in 2016, but print remains the heartbeat for a niche arts title such as CR (each edition is a collector’s item), and the digital platforms that surround each issue bring an immediacy, a liveliness and a fantastic opportunity for us to let our followers (collectively, on all our platforms, now some 35,000) know what is happening day-to-day.
Book or magazine? Both!
Tea or coffee? Always a black coffee.
Ceramics or pottery? Both!