Clay is more than a material of making. It is much contemplated, romanticised, opposed and transformed, central to fundamental artistic debates and diverse in its application. Clay is craft, art and idea: domestic, sculptural, industrial and architectural. Recent landmark exhibitions have highlighted clay as a material worthy of examination in its own right, but does the bringing together of art as ‘clay’ serve the variety and depth of ceramics?

In 2023 the spring season at Messums celebrates contemporary ceramic across its various spaces with a programme of exhibitions and events that seek to showcase the richness and breadth of the medium, profiling a number of significant contemporary practitioners and focusing particularly on the importance of the journey of making.

To mark this celebratory season, a symposium will be held at Messums Wiltshire on 1 April 2023 and will highlight the diverse potential of clay in art. The symposium programme will include presentations by the exhibiting artists and writers and curators of ceramic. The symposium will be paralleled by a ‘Young Clay Symposium’ on the same organised by Messums Creative where participants aged 10+ can celebrate contemporary ceramic through hands-on learning.