As the first seedlings of spring appear, March marks a turning point in the calendar. Fill the coming month with our pick of hopeful happenings, from a dynamic exhibition exploring the passing of time to a celebration of Japanese folk art.

Gillian Lowndes Radical Clay at The Holburne Museum

Gillian Lowndes: Radical Clay at The Holburne Museum

Focusing on the last decades of ceramics sculptor Gillian Lowndes’ career, this exhibition highlights the various ways she subverted and experimented with fine art practices. The English artist was known for her alternative and sometimes radical methods, often incorporating found objects into her pieces, burying her work in sand and breaking fired ceramics into pieces with a hammer before rebuilding them again – she referred to the finished works as ‘collages’. Though considered one of the most free-thinking ceramicists of the 20th century, many of Gillian’s sculptures have never before been presented to the public.

Gillian Lowndes: Radical Clay is on at The Holburne Museum until 21 April.

Yukihiro Akama Basho no Kankaku – A Sense of Place at YSP

Yukihiro Akama: Basho no Kankaku – A Sense of Place at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Set to be Yukihiro Akama’s largest exhibition to date, Basha no Kankaku – A Sense of Place will showcase 52 of the maker’s intricate wooden houses alongside a selection of architectural sketches and mini prints. Previously a professional joiner, Yukihiro applies his woodworking skills to his characterful houses, each one hand-carved from a single piece of wood, while his studies in architecture at Tohoku University of Art and Design, in Yamagata, Japan inform his subject choice. Having been drawn to Yorkshire’s natural landscapes, the artist moved there in 2011 and now runs his practice from a furniture maker’s workshop in Huddersfield.

Yukihiro Akama: Basho no Kankaku – A Sense of Place is on at Yorkshire Sculpture Park from 9 March.

Art Without Heroes Mingei at William Morris Gallery

Art Without Heroes: Mingei at William Morris Gallery

An exhibition of over 80 works, including ceramics, textiles, photography and film, Art Without Heroes is dedicated to the Japanese folk craft known as Mingei. The term, which translates to ‘the art of the people’, attributes cultural and aesthetic value to traditional objects and anonymous makers, commemorating the simpler aspects of life. The body of mixed media works will span the 19th to 21st centuries, mapping the history of the craft from its origins through to its reinterpretation by contemporary artists.

Art Without Heroes: Mingei is on at William Morris Gallery from 23 March.

Issam Kourbaj Urgent Archive at Kettle’s Yard

Issam Kourbaj: Urgent Archive at Kettle’s Yard

Inspired by a seed’s ability to sprout roots in new environments, Issam Kourbaj will grow Syrian wheat throughout his innovative exhibition, Urgent Archive. Evolving installations, sculptures, performances and works on paper aim to raise questions about loss, memory and renewal in response to the ongoing conflict in Syria. The artist will be present at intervals for a durational performance involving the stitching of date seeds onto a canvas tent, expressing his interest in seeds as a natural archive of human movement and reinvention.

Issam Kourbaj: Urgent Archive is on at Kettle’s Yard from 2 March.

Outi Pieski at Tate St Ives

Outi Pieski at Tate St Ives

Sámi artist Outi Pieski explores the culture, crafts and rights of indigenous communities and the dynamics between humans, animals and nature in this emotive display, her first large-scale exhibition in the UK. The paintings and installations contain wood and textile elements in recognition of duodji, a traditional craft of the Sámi people who are settled in the Scandinavian region of Sápmi. For Outi, currently based in Finland, duodji is an important thread which connects past, present and future generations.

Outi Pieski’s exhibition is on at Tate St Ives until 8 May.


Image 1: Kokeshi artisan Okazaki Ikuo at his studio in Zao Onsen, Yamagata Prefecture. Photo © Okazaki Manami.

Image 2 & 3: Lowndes at her first solo show, Bristol Guild, 1963. Image courtesy of Gillian Lowndes Archive. Holburne Gillian Lowndes 07 (reduced) January 2024. Jo Hounsome Photography.

Image 4: Yukihiro Akama, Houses, 2023. Photo © Red Photography courtesy the artist and Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Image 5 & 6: Teapot with a tenmoku glaze and bamboo handle, unknown maker, Japan, 1934. From the collections of the Crafts Study Centre, University for the Creative Arts. Storage jar (tsubo), stoneware with a brown ame glaze and white namako overglaze, Tsutsumi kiln, 19th century © National Museums Scotland.

Image 7: Issam Kourbaj, Urgent archives, written in blood, 2019. This Is Photography, courtesy the artist.

Image 8: Outi Pieski, Guržot ja guovssahat – Spell on You!, 2020. Installation view, 23rd Biennale of Sydney, rīvus, 2022. © Document Photography.

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