Art Market: Art for Christmas

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THE rediscovery of the aesthetic qualities of country pottery, pioneered by Bernard Leach in the early years of this century, has left Britain littered with craft potters of varying merit - some of whose works are now very expensive. Clive Bowen, of the Shebbear Pottery in north Devon, seems to me exceptional. He makes very good pots, and prices them so modestly they fall well within the Christmas present budget.

Bowen has a natural affinity with clay and teases rich glazes out of his wood-burning kiln. He lives in a charming farmhouse and the whole family rallies round for 24 hours of continuous stoking when the kiln is fired. Flames leap into the Devon night while the temperature inside the vast bottle kiln is gradually raised to 1,060C.

Clive Bowen helped Bernard Leach's son, Michael, at his Fremington pottery and for a period was married to his daughter; he was strongly influenced by Michael Cardew. His work has the strong, functional simplicity of old Devon pottery while its restrained decoration owes a debt to the Far East, notably Korea and Japan. It is available from various outlets (see below) but it is cheaper to buy direct: Shebbear Pottery, Shebbear, Beaworthy, Devon (0409 281271).

STOCKISTS: Victoria & Albert Museum shop, London SW7; Contemporary Ceramics, Marshall Street, London W1; Contemporary Applied Arts, Earlham Street, London WC2; Devon Guild of Craftsmen, Bovey Tracey; Vincent Gallery, Exeter; Anderson Gallery, Broadway, Worcestershire; St James's Gallery, Bath; and Primavera, Cambridge.

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