The Last Sane Man: Michael Cardew: Modern Pots, Colonialism, and Counterculture
Artist(s): Michael Cardew
Author(s): Tanya Harrod
Year published: 2012
Publisher: Yale University Press
Total Pages: 380
Illustrations: Illustrated in black and white and colour
British studio potter Michael Cardew (1901-1983) was a man of paradox, a modernist who disliked modernity, a colonial servant who despised Empire, and an intellectual who worked with his hands. After graduating from Oxford in 1923, he made majestic slipware alongside legendary potter Bernard Leach. Wartime service in Ghana made Cardew fiercely critical of British overseas policies; he remained in West Africa intermittently until 1965, founding a local tradition of stoneware. Beginning in the late 1960s, he travelled through Australia and North America, teaching pottery and demonstrating against racism and its consequences. By the time of his death, he had established himself as one of the finest 20th-century potters and as a voice of political dissent and counterculture. This is the first biography of his remarkable life. Harrod’s engaging narrative includes interviews with friends, students, and Cardew’s two surviving sons. Also included are previously unpublished photographs of Cardew and his family, as well as colour images of his work.