Ian Byers

Ian was born in Birmingham – a city famous in its past for guns, cars, motorbikes and jewellery: a city of makers. He studied ceramics at the Central School of Art, London. His teachers included Gordon Baldwin and Dan Arbeid who encouraged skills and making of all types, from hand-building to industrial techniques as possible means of artistic expression. Ian’s own teaching and exhibiting in the UK, Europe and the Far East has provided opportunities to produce work as a response to different places and cultures.

Working with clay has always been central, using its opportunities for sculptural, plastic expression and he has introduced found objects of other materials allowing each material its voice.

A residency in 2019 in an old pottery town in France provided the impetus for a major change to his work. The direct, gestural work he made during the residency drew from a particular town and its abandoned technology, things which could be called trash. The experience ruled out his previous careful approach and cautious working methods as it demanded finished work for an exhibition in just a few weeks.

Ian’s new work embraces this more instinctive approach, investigating the materials we live with and our human condition and creativity.