Following a one year foundation course at Sunderland Polytechnic Eddie Curtis studied ceramics at Bath Academy of Art from 1973 – 1976. He worked for one year in his home town of Seaham as a repetition thrower with a small semi industrial pottery until 1977 when he took up employment in heavy industry for two years to raise finance for the purchase of Middle Rigg. In 1979 with the support of his wife Margaret he established a studio at Middle Rigg where they both continue to work today. He is a Fellow of the CPA.
The first output from the studio was oven to tableware but over the years the emphasis changed to more individually unique works. He developed an almost obsessive passion to master the very demanding but equally rewarding production of copper red porcelain culminating in 2010 with a hugely successful exhibition with Margaret entitled ‘Curtis Red’ hosted at Rufford Park, in the UK and then later that year at Galerie Metzger, near Aschaffenburg, Germany. Around this same time he paid a chance visit to a stretch of coastline near to his home town. This visit led to a massive change of direction and a consequently inspired body of work ‘The Blast Series’. He still works on this series today and has shown this work extensively through the UK and mainland Europe. At the end of 2014 he travelled to India where he exhibited his predominantly sculptural works alongside 23 other international acclaimed ceramic artists in the Habitat Exhibition Centre of New Delhi. In the summer of 2015 his work was shown in New York for the first time at Cavin Morris Gallery.
“My current project “The Blast” was the result of one of the most strongly felt inspirations I had experienced, but I still began work with no real idea of how I could manifest this using clay. Naturally with a career of more than 30 years I have a acquired techniques methods and a practiced ability to work with clay; but new work really does require a new approach, so I set about trying to recreate the conditions that I thought might have come together in the brutal yet beautiful landscape that now inspired me. What I saw was a combination of textures, an unlikely juxtaposition of the man-made and the natural, objects long bereft of their usefulness and worn and encroached upon by erosion and encrustation. I was looking at sand, clay, metal and stone in various combinations and in isolation also. The textures were cracked, crazed, bright, blunt, sharp, wet, slippy, slimey smooth hard. All of those things can be evoked with clay of course. So I set about it, creating and constructing, pouring and torching. My first attempts were too brutal by far. Too obvious, to close to what I had seen. I wasn’t looking for absolute literalism. I could never evoke the memories using borrowed pastiche. I needed to create new works not replications. If I had been inspired, then my work ought to have the power to inspire. I stepped back, almost to the point where I could forget what I had seen and relied only on what my explorations in clay threw up. I became the observer of my own doings and discarded the futile and pursued the promising. I only accepted results that helped evoke that memory I needed to recall. It has probably been my most difficult project to date but it was never going to be easy to do justice to what I had experienced at The Blast.”
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