Potty about Archives

Pots Before Words is an exhibition of new works by Kate Morrell, commissioned by Gallery II, University Bradford. The exhibition is inspired by research into the life and work of British writer and archaeologist Jacquetta Hawkes, within the Jacquetta Hawkes Archive at the University of Bradford. It reminds me of the work of one of our own lecturers, Zoe Hillyard.


Pots Before Words examines the issues which would arise from Hawkes' humanistic approach to Archaeology. The tensions between subjective and objective interpretation and display of incomplete, broken or even inaccurate archaeological evidence. Kate Morrell displays fragmented objects and presents them as part of an irretrievable whole - abstract and indecipherable in the present day.

pots before words

At the exhibition alongside a series of drawings a stone apparatus is presented, which functions as a portable, table-top display. The granite platform will tour various archives and collections in order to play host to a series of female archivists, archaeologists, geologists and the chosen artifacts of their profession.


A bit closer to home, Zoe Hillyard, a lecturer in BIAD’s School of Fashion, Textiles and 3 Dimensional Design has also worked closely with archives and ceramics. In 2011 she worked with the  British Museum’s digital archives to inspire ceramic patchwork process where historic documents (such as old maps of London) were printed on to fabric and applied to smashed pieces of pottery. These can then be reassembled into new forms. In 2012 Hillyard extended the Ceramic Patchwork process by using silk and hand-stitching to rebuild the shattered ceramics.  



ceramic patchwork apart.jpg