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Joanna Constantinidis

Joanna Constantinidis (1927-2000), was born in York and studied in Sheffield, but spent most of her life in Essex. She developed a particular feel for concentrated and clear-cut ceramic form. Her early work was Leach-influenced, but in the 1960s she was evolving a language that focussed increasingly on form and less on glaze decoration. By the following decade she was moving away from conventional shapes, her increasingly unusual cylinders and bowls were now thrown and altered, and soon she had eliminated most of her glazing in favour of quiet lustres on stoneware and clear colourless glazes on porcelain. Constantinidis was an excellent designer, her crisp porcelain tableware was balanced and elegant and felt good in the hand, but was never slick or over-polished.

She liked to emphasise the fluidity and pulse of her throwing and turning, while often cutting and rubbing back outer surfaces. Spare and austere her approach may have been, but her pots, some gently warmed with lustres, others glowing with translucency, were also very sensual. The work, like that of Lucie Rie and Hans Coper, whom she admired, showed a sensitive awareness of the language of modernism. Hers was a discipline she preferred to be judged purely on its own terms, not to be bracketed as either art or craft.

David Whiting

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