This form is an early work by Dan Arbeid. It has a strange presence. The surface has an organic and lichen appearance, however the pin-holed glazes give it a sense of decay. A carved shape in the centre is obscured by a thick pooled glaze.
During the 1960s and 1970s Arbeid’s exhibitions focused on different manipulations of clay including coiling, throwing and slab-building (see 50716 for a thrown example of Arbeid’s work from this period).  He rejected the approach of Bernard Leach and his followers, whose work was guided by the ceramic traditions of Chinese Sung and Tang dynasty pots. He was not alone in this departure. He was one of a group of ceramicists connected to the Central School of Arts that were exploring experimental and radical approaches to clay. Others included Gordon Baldwin, Ruth Duckworth and Ian Auld.
Arbeid was a pottery technician at the Central School from 1957 to the mid-1980s and initially worked as a tailor’s cutter in London. He was introduced to ceramics in 1956 when he worked in an industrial ceramic factory in Israel. Birks describes a work made by Arbeid during his time as having, ‘an astonishing radical and modern approach to form’ , with surface drawings that referenced artists including Henry Moore and John Piper, demonstrating Arbeid’s early ambitions for his work to diverge from the conventions of studio ceramics.
Sim Panaser, June 2020
 Tony Birks, Art of the Modern Potter, (London: Country Life Books, 1976), p. 158.
 Tony Birks, ‘Dan Arbeid: A Remembrance’, Ceramics: Art and Perception, 88 (2012), 104-106, (p. 104).
Birks, Tony, Art of the Modern Potter (London: Country Life Books, 1976)
Birks, Tony, ‘Dan Arbeid: A Remembrance’, Ceramics: Art and Perception, 88 (2012), 104-106
Harrod, Tanya, The Crafts in Britain in the 20th Century (London: Yale University Press, 1999)
Whiting, David, Dan Arbeid 1928-2010: A Retrospective, exhibition pamphlet, (Bristol: Ken Stradling Trust, 2010)
Not on display
Artist/Maker: Dan Arbeid
Object Type: Sculpture
Measurements: h. 190mm
Accession Number: 50788
Production Place: Britain, England
Copyright: © The Artist's Estate
Credit Line: Accepted under the Cultural Gifts Scheme by HM Government from Leslie Birks Hay and allocated to SCVA, 2016