The Joanna Bird Foundation

The Joanna Bird Foundation


Registered in 2012, with the following aims:

  • The advancement of the Arts through encouragement of interest in and the engagement with artists working in ceramic, glass, silver, wood and other materials
  • To inspire makers, emerging and established to find their way and extend their boundaries. To encourage large scale work for public spaces by supporting innovation and bold work with good design and craftsmanship, producing honest and genuine work with meaning and integrity
  • The advancement of education by providing financial support and specialised advice and information
  • We want to provide this to those of all ages wishing to improve their skills or knowledge in the decorative arts
  • Wherever possible we would like to help purchase materials and tools to help artists
  • We are going about this through exhibitions, talks, seminars, workshops, residencies, film, publications and journals in both digital and traditional media. Furthermore, we hope to build a reference library to aid research

Marking the line

Our first project was a life specific exhibition of contemporary ceramic makers, their brief was to respond to the life and work of Sir John Soane, neo Classical architect. It was entitled Marking the line, Ceramics and Architecture. The artists invited to make new work for the exhibition were Christie Brown, Carina Ciscato, Nicholas Rena and Clare Twomey. This was a touring exhibition whose main funder was Arts Council England (ACE), as well as generous private donors.

It travelled to three venues, Sir John Soane's Museum, Port Eliot in Cornwall and Pitzhanger Manor, Ealing. We published a brochure, with photography in all three venues by Hélène Binet. There were classes for the visually impaired, young offenders, older adults and a symposium for curators and arts professionals at Somerset House. The intention was to find common ground between the disciplines of Ceramics and Architecture. This produced some excellent papers and we filmed the entire day at Somerset House. Keynote speakers were Eric Parry, Suzanne Lovell, Glenn Adamson took the chair and it was a wonderfully inspiring day.


Richard Batterham Film

The first film of many we hope to make with Alex J. Wright was a portrait of Richard Batterham and his working life.

How it came about:

The Richard Batterham film was always in Joanna's mind – although at first a reluctant participant, Richard began to warm to the idea once he had measured Alex up and we had all enjoyed a few oxtail lunches together. It was the idea that it could help others – the younger generation that made it acceptable for him to do it.

The film recorded the life of Richard Batterham, potter for over 60 years. He chose his destiny from his school boy days and has made a satisfying and rewarding life from the pots he has made.  His single mindedness is a beam of light in our multi factorial world and we hope others will be inspired by it.


Our Further Aims

  • We want to nurture the experience of established artists and create opportunities for exchanges between them and young pathfinders, at times this may be through interaction with other disciplines
  • To make films to record practices which might otherwise die out, for posterity. We would like to build up an archive of different disciplines. All JBF productions are to be of quality and worth collecting as a library – about people who have made it/or are finding their way
  • To create exhibitions which open eyes and question existing beliefs and preconceptions
  • To make people aware of the beauty of concepts in art and of the hand made. Focusing on the beauty of the creative mind, how it permeates into our everyday in different forms; philosophy; movement; appreciation of form and the enduring beauty of the hand made
  • To underline the importance of the creative spirit in breaking down barriers and making available renewal of spirit and imagination, through education, publications and tours


JBF Legacy

What are we trying to do and who is to benefit from it?

  • We want to broaden minds through good experiences, to make them aware of the power of the creative mind - how it permeates into our everyday in different forms; philosophy; movement; appreciation of form; the enduring beauty of the hand made
  • CREATE dialogue between different nationalities
  • BUILD bridges over chasms and create new ideas, alter perceptions, move forward into unchartered territory through bringing together creative minds.
  • EDUCATION, workshops for artists, bursaries and exchanges
  • We wish to have open exchanges of ideas and to give practical help and advice by discussing aims, objectives and limitations with artists to enable them to realise their dream, set them free to explore their expression, by building confidence and giving encouragement.
  • To show people what’s new and exciting – things are moving faster than ever before, there is great scope to do so

How that is going to be done?

  • Joanna Bird, supporters and assistants will be working with people, talking to them and enthusing about current projects
  • Fund raising – it is a vital part of making things happen, involving interested parties – making the projects dynamic

How others can help us?

  • With their experience and expertise in different fields, and by giving