Triangular red dish
In the late 1990s Julian Stair began developing thrown and constructed works, using unglazed red earthenware and white porcelain. He made a series of funerary pots and dishes in square, round, oval and triangular forms. They demonstrate the artist’s changing focus from surface decoration to an emphasis on form. The triangle begins as a circular form which is then teased, opened up and stretched to be almost flat, whilst still keeping the character of the thrown work. 
Lady Sainsbury visited the Contemporary Applied Arts gallery, London, in 1998 and contacted Stair to commend him on this series, expressing how much she loved the technique involved. She commissioned a group of seven works in red stoneware and white porcelain (see also LSC6, LSC 7, LSC 90, LSC 91, LSC 92, LSC 93). 
In contrast to Stair’s early vessels, where the separate surface decoration plays against the form of the open pot, the decoration of this dish is integral to its form, with a raised swirling spiral design that echoes or contrasts the geometric shape. We are taken on a visual narrative of the processes the clay undergoes at the hands of the potter. The dynamic spiral design highlights the movement of the throwing technique, making us aware of the process of the clay being manipulated into shape by the potter.
The spiral ridge also creates shadows as light progresses around an object, producing three-dimensional qualities. It draws our eye around the different facets of the dish, moving upwards and inwards, until it disappears at the centre.
Katharine Malcolm, October 2020
 Interview with the artist, phone call 19/06/20. Ibid.
Frankel, Cyril, and James Austin, Modern Pots (Norwich: University of East Anglia, 2000)
Jones, Jeffrey, Studio Pottery In Britain 1900-2005 (London: A & C Black, 2007)
Watson, Oliver, Studio Pottery (London: Phaidon, in association with the Victoria and Albert Museum, 1993)
John M. Anderson Endowed Lecture Series: ‘A Sense of Place’, The Pennsylvania State University, 18 February 2014: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTyzNba2KL4
Not on display
Title/Description: Triangular red dish
Artist/Maker: Julian Stair
Object Type: Dish
Measurements: h 3.7 x w 38.5 x d 39.4 cm
Accession Number: LSC 94
Historic Period: 21st century
School/Style: Studio Ceramics
Copyright: © Julian Stair
Credit Line: Bequeathed by Lady Sainsbury, 2014