Francis Davison described himself as ‘the only true collagist’ – today we take a look at his groundbreaking, and neglected, work. Plus don’t miss our second chat with Phil Rogers this week where we’ll be showcasing five of our favourite pots from his latest exhibition.
Francis Davison was adopted and brought up in the south of France. Though he read English at Cambridge University and intended to become a poet, in 1946 Davison was invited to go to St. Ives by his former school friend the artist Patrick Heron. There he met Margaret Mellis, settling in Suffolk in 1950. By 1952 Davison had begun to work in collage, and would do so for the next 20 years. Davison said that he was the only true collagist, relying entirely on found papers, more often torn than cut. Even half-paralysed, Mellis would hold papers while he tore them. Davison asked that no biographical information, dates or titles be displayed at his 1983 Hayward Gallery exhibition, insisting that viewers bring their own interpretations to the work. Davison died just a year later.
Phil Rogers was born in Newport, Gwent in 1951. He attended Newport and Swansea Colleges of Art and had originally intended to become a painter. While still at college in the early 1970s Rogers and a friend taught themselves to throw. Their only guidance came from Bernard Leach’s A Potter’s Book and their throwing practice came in the form of competitions to see who could produce the biggest pot.
Rogers has written respected books on ash glazes, throwing techniques and salt glazing. He has run workshops and lectured all over the world, most notably in South Korea and the USA and his work is held in more than 50 museums worldwide. In 2011 Rogers won the prestigious Vasefinder International prize for the best vase in the world.