The work of Ashley Howard remains extraordinarily fresh. He is an assured but rigorous explorer and celebrant of the past, clearly indebted to a variety of ceramics traditions, but he has been able to absorb these ideas into a very modern, resourceful and uncommonly free language of his own.
David Whiting, writer and critic.
Ashley Howard studied at Medway College of Art and Design, now University for the Creative Arts at Rochester. He has built a career combining teaching with making. In 2001 he returned to full-time study at the Royal College of Art, London and it this experience that was the catalyst for a dramatic change in his work. In 2004/5 he collaborated with friend and fellow RCA alumni Martin Lungley for the international touring exhibition Full Circle. The exhibition was designed to showcase the possibilities of wheel-thrown ceramics, and its catalogue included contributions by Alison Britton and Emmanuel Cooper. Ashley joined the University of Creative Arts, Farnham as the subject specialist lecturer for Ceramics in 2006.
He has exhibited, demonstrated and lectured all over the world, spending considerable time in Japan. He is Fellow of the Craft Potters Association and member of Contemporary Applied Arts. His achievements on the national and international stages have recently culminated in him becoming member of the International Academy for Ceramics http://www.aic-iac.org/ based in Switzerland.
Ashley’s work draws on his interest in ritual vessels, the spaces they occupy and the ceremonies that surround them. Notions of music, reverence and transience are also explored. Almost all work is thrown on the wheel although at times it might be subject to varying degrees of manipulation and altering.
A recent departure from earlier work has seen Ashley move from working in stoneware to an almost exclusive immersion in porcelain, embracing the differing challenges and possibilities of the medium. He has also drawn on his experiences in Japan to develop his use of on-glaze enamels to create a striking body of work that speaks with a very clear voice.
Important projects have included the ambitious Ritual and Setting, an exhibition of work made for and inspired by Winchester Cathedral and an exciting collaboration with Japanese Potter, Risa Ohgi, where Ashley threw the works and Risa decorated them. The works then travelled to the Leach Gallery in St.Ives, Cornwall for the exhibition, Shima Kara Shima E (From Island to Island).
His most recent works have been included in Heritage and Diversity at the Hanyang University Museum Gallery in Seoul, South Korea, InPrint Biennial 2017, Studio Eleven, Hull and The Teabowl: Past and Present which runs until March 2018 at the Leach Pottery, St.Ives. His work is also featured in Dr Bonnie Kemske’s recent publication The Teabowl: East and West.