Barry Stedman is a British ceramic artist. Stedman came to ceramics following a career in retail - seduced by the possibilities of clay to express abstract ideas of colour and form. He completed a ceramics degree at the University of Westminster in 2009 where he received the Caparo Award, joining Edmund de Waal’s studio as an assistant that same year (where he continues to work part-time). His work has been featured in numerous exhibitions and galleries across the UK and internationally.
Stedman’s colourful, dynamic forms come out of a deep connection to the landscape. All the work, developed in series, is rooted in the directness and urgency of drawing outside; responding to the weather, drama and life which surrounds his garden studio by the river Flit in Bedford. Starting on the wheel or constructed in slabs, the red earthenware clay vessels are cut open and altered, scored and handled, before being glazed with layers of oxide, slip and washes of vivid colour - the surface of his forms acting as canvases. The vessels are then offered to the kiln, sometimes in multiple firings, in an open dialogue of transformation; infused with the marks, rhythm and energy of their making. The resulting colours and tones of his pieces are only revealed after the final firing, so there is an element of chance and surprise in Steadman’s pieces which informs their individuality and spontaneity. Of Stedman’s work, Edmund de Waal has commented that there is a ‘passionate connection to landscape’, with each vessel connecting to a long tradition of art made in direct, almost bodily response to the weather.