Ceramicist Cadi Froehlich tells us about Pottery Gagliano
Hi Cadi, we’re really pleased that Pottery Gagliano will be taking part in the AOH Festival again this year. Can you tell us a bit about Robert Gagliano, who founded the pottery?
Roberto Gagliano has a passion for ceramics and for teaching. He has always been very grateful for the generosity of potters in his youth who freely shared their knowledge, enthusiasm and experience with him. Through the lessons he teaches and the studio space he has created, Roberto is continuing in this tradition and openly and enthusiastically sharing his passion and knowledge with others.
Roberto was born in Italy on the beautiful island of Sicily where he learned his craft from the ceramic masters using the local clay freshly mined from the Sicilian mountains and valleys. After gaining a Diploma in Ceramics, Technology and Design, Roberto has been working as a potter for almost 25 years. He came to England in 2001 and set up a studio in Kemptown. He quickly became involved with the vibrant arts scene in Brighton and has been working with fellow artists and many students ever since.
In 2011 the studio moved to its present location in Rodhus Creative Studios on Hollingdean Road and last year moved within the building to a bigger, brighter space upstairs. The studio is shared by resident potters Jane Porter, Ami Ackroyd, Sophie Passmore, Kate Henry, Cadi Froehlich, Rachel Rankin and Tracey Locke
Your own work explores some interesting relationships between ceramics and copper wires and cables. Would you like to tell us more about it?
As we have all seen up close and personal this year, how conversations with friends are essential, and if they can’t happen face to face, then we turn to long distance versions. Ten years ago smart phones and wireless networks really started to become the norm. I started thinking about the elemental connections that the wires gave us, and realised that we still use them to communicate more than ever, they are just out of sight, in the walls, in orbit, under the oceans. By using salvaged copper and wires I imagine all the messages and electricity for communication they might have carried, and that I am offering them as a resource for future owners and keepers, should they be in need! In thinking about microchips which now facilitate our communications networks, I came to see ceramics as an alternative use of the silica, which is the element fundamental to both.
My pots are either informed by the shape of a power station cooling tower, decorated with slip in wave forms or in patterns taken from electron microscope images of the surfaces of silicon chips, or show visible signs of my making which is then passed on to the keeper. I challenge my own assumptions about pots as containers by piercing them, and offer the adornment of salvaged copper wire to allow us to physically encounter this vital yet often hidden element.
You also have musicians and writers taking part in your Open House – can you tell us what they will be doing?
Resident potter Dr Rachel Rankin-Hayward and Robert Rankin are both celebrated artists in their own right, and have collaborated on special pieces for this exhibition. Rachel is a leading expert on the steel drum, and performs across the country, along with featuring on a few soundtracks you might recognise. Robert is the acclaimed author of numerous far-fetched-ficton novels, most notably the Brentford series.
For this show, Robert and Rachel have developed an anniversary zine with accompanying 3D ceramic illustrations, featuring characters celebrating the centenary of Robert’s fictional Lewes Bowl Movement school of pottery.
And how about the founder of Mask Makers UK?
Sophie’s ceramic collection on display at this year’s AOH explore colour and motif used in traditional knitting, based upon sweaters from Norway and the Pacific North West of Canada.
Will there be any events or demonstrations for visitors to the pottery to take part in during the Open Houses Festival?
Roberto and Marcella will be running a Raku workshop on Sunday 6th June which is weather dependent! Folk can check our social media for details and updates.
Is there anything else you would like to tell us?
After a year of isolation and quiet, all the artists at Pottery Gagliano are cherishing this opportunity to work together and reconnect with the wider community again, and we can’t wait to visit lots of other open houses on our days off! The Brighton Festival and the Open Houses are such special parts of all our lives in Brighton, this year more than ever deserves a real celebration!