The Last Sane Man by Ms. Tanya Harrod
Michael Cardew: Modern Pots, Colonialism, and the Counterculture (The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art)

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The biography is wonderfully illustrated, transforming our attempt to imagine the man and his work.
-Guardian

Synopsis

The British studio potter Michael Cardew (1901-1983) was a man of paradox, a modernist who disliked modernity, a colonial servant who despised Empire, a husband and father who was also homosexual, and an intellectual who worked with his hands. Graduating from Oxford in 1923, training with the legendary Bernard Leach, he went on to lead a life of pastoral poverty in Gloucestershire, making majestic slipware and participating in the polarised design and political debates of the 1930s. A wartime project in Ghana turned him into a fierce critic of British overseas policies; he remained in West Africa intermittently until 1965, founding a local tradition of stoneware inspired by the ambient material culture, independent of European imports, made by Africans for Africans. He ended his days a ceramic magus, his pottery at Wenford Bridge, Cornwall, an outpost of the counterculture and a haven for disaffected youth. In North America, the Antipodes and sub-Saharan Africa he offered the egalitarianism of craft as an antidote to racism and inequality. As the novelist Angela Carter observed in 1977, he came to seem 'the Last Sane Man in a crazy world.'

Along with historians of Empire and civil rights, and art and design historians, readers with a general interest in British cultural history will want to read this book.

 

About Ms. Tanya Harrod

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Tanya Harrod is an independent design historian, the author of the prize-winning The Crafts in Britain in the 20th Century and the co-editor of the Journal of Modern Craft.
 
Published January 8, 2013 by Paul Mellon Centre BA. 380 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Education & Reference, Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
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Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by AS Byatt on Apr 12 2013

The biography is wonderfully illustrated, transforming our attempt to imagine the man and his work.

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