Steve Harrison at the opening of his solo show, "Cup Board." Photograph by Richard Cannon.Steve Harrison produces salt-fired functional pottery in his studios in London and Wales, U.K. A historical Victorian aesthetic is the foundation of his work, but his approach is innovative, experimental, too. In the nearly fifteen years that I’ve been looking at his work, I’ve come to appreciate the fluency with which he expresses himself in the language of his craft. His work is always masterfully thrown. It often features subtle sprig-molded “button” additions, the incorporation of metal and wood, and a very specific yet fluid vocabulary of forms. His 2015 exhibition in London, Cup Board, explored the evolution of cups and cupboards, and the way in which they exist in domestic spaces. Cup Board highlighted his deep knowledge of design and function, as well as his intense, personal connection to pottery traditions. At the opening of the show, it was evident that he is equally personally connected to his strong following of customers, collectors, and patrons.

Steve grew up in Enfield, England, just north of London, a place with a strong tradition of manufacturing and the original home of the 303 Enfield Rifle Factory. Steve and his wife, Julia, a childhood friend of my husband, still live there. The culture of manufacturing was especially pervasive when they were young. Almost everyone they knew was involved with making, tinkering, or restoring something. While he was setting up his first ceramics studio in his mother-in-law’s garage, Steve was also restoring an old Mini Cooper and building a working car from a kit. Steve even fabricated a new piece for a broken foot pedal on my husband’s motorcycle one afternoon. Steve is comfortable working in a variety of media and materials; metal is one of his favorites. In fact, Steve seems able to make almost anything. He fabricates his own metal tools, plaster molds, and a host of other inventions.

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