There is nothing so nice as stalls offering attractive, colourful wares on a lovely summer’s day. The Agathaplein in Delft, in the shade of its old trees, sitting as it does surrounded by Delft’s historic Prinsenhof and the old convent garden, was the perfect stage for the many ceramic artists coming not only from the Netherlands, but also from Belgium and England.

Earthenware, stoneware, porcelain – all are a little like paper – one can mould them and shape them into almost anything. When the word ceramic is mentioned most of us think of red hot, enormous kilns, of bowls, plates, jugs or vases, or even of the first attempt of trying to control a lump of clay on a potter’s wheel, producing nothing but slightly obscene shapes flopping around.  But ceramics have come a long way – now there is even polymer clay which can be cooked in a normal kitchen oven. Today, with access to world-wide information, there are influences from China, Japan, Africa  and ancient history. All these could be found in the Ceramica in Delft.

It would be impossible here to mention all the artists. On offer were not so much utilitarian ceramic creations, but rather colourful figurines, garden ornaments on long stalks, some jewellery, masks, birds and beasts of all kinds and shapes, Jan Cupido’s ruff-collared rabbits in high heels, Guy Deltour, a Belgian sculptor brought tiny books made out of clay from which he even builds garden fountains, and there were some magnificent bowls by Anita van Iersel – van Hest (see photo).   Astrid Burchardt,     14th July 2018