Tarmac Dish & Small Bowl

James Rigler
Tarmac Dish & Small Bowl by ceramicist James Rigler is part of The New Craftsmen’s ‘Claylarks’ collection. Whilst mudlarking on the foreshore of the River Thames, James found himself drawn to the Thames potatoes - ubiquitous pebbles of London brick rubbed smooth by the river. These tumbled fragments of London’s architectural history inspired James to create a collection of graphic-shaped dishes and platters, which reference objects that were once used, held and lost. He was drawn to the idea of re-discovery providing a new purpose and value, gaining a whole new story. The colours and textures throughout the collection reflect the materials and qualities of the Thames potatoes - with a gritty black ‘asphalt’ clay used for the plate, accompanied by a speckled terracotta and white slip bowl.

Material: Matte terracotta, white slip, black ‘asphalt’ clay
Dimensions: Plate: Width 32cm, Depth 32cm, Height 5cm Bowl: Width 12cm, Depth 12cm, Height 6cm
Care Instructions: Dust with a dry clean brush. Due to the porous nature of this piece, it is unsuitable for storing liquids.


James was inspired by the Thames potatoes to create raw and porous surfaces using red and black terracotta. For these pieces, he used his accustomed technique of pressing terracotta clay into moulds and carving each piece with a serrated tool. He then removes the debris and sands each piece to drag out the gorg and grit - this creates the porous texture seen throughout the collection. Once fired, James uses a diamond pad to create the smooth surface, as though the pieces could have been worn away and smoothed by the Thames. He has used gritty black 'asphalt' clay for this plate and created a speckled effect on the bowl using a white slip.
The Maker James Rigler Ceramicist - Scotland

James Rigler studied 3D Craft at the University of Brighton before graduating from the Royal College of Art with an MA in Ceramics and Glass in 2007. His bold ceramic sculptures are inspired by the language of architectural ornament, and James describes his recent work as being ‘led by thoughts of ruined and abandoned ancient places, romantic landscapes and stage sets’. In 2013-14 Rigler undertook a ceramics residency with the V&A Museum and is included in their public collection. Examples of his work can also be found in the collections of the Crafts Council and Chatsworth House, Derbyshire.