Clean lines at Sladers Yard

CERAMICIST Yo Thom and painter Vanessa Gardiner do not immediately have much in common, but when you see their work together – as you can at Sladers Yard gallery at West Bay until 14th July – you see synergies and a shared sense of structure in the clean lines of their very different artworks.

North Dorset-based Yo Thom was born in Japan, and the delicacy and precision of her work suggests her native tradition as well as the heritage of her adopted country – but the delicate and often monochrome decorative, studio and functional pieces are uniquely hers.

She uses stoneware which is thrown, slabbed, coiled and pinched into delightful simple forms. She lives in and is inspired by Dorset’s beautiful rural landscapes which she celebrates in her distinctive sgraffito technique reminiscent of patchwork-style, recycled Japanese folk textiles called ‘Boro’.

In her new series Sea Cliffs, gallery regular Vanessa Gardiner shows paintings of Boscastle, Tintagel and Godrevy, subjects she has loved all her life and has painted often and brilliantly, alongside daring and powerful studies of Orkney.

The exhibition also features recent work by furniture designer and master-craftsman Petter Southall which celebrates the trees whose exceptional wood he is using in simple original forms, finished with understated, brilliantly chosen details.

Alongside the featured artists, there is also a collection of pieces by leading Dorset artists and makers: Fiamma Colonna Montagu, ceramic sculpture; Caroline Sharp, woven sculpture; Alex Lowery, paintings and drawings; Frances Hatch, paintings; Julian Bailey, hand-coloured etchings; Robin Rae, paintings; and David West. wood carvings.

As well as a talk by Vanessa Gardiner on 21st June, Sladers Yard also has another of the gallery’s regular environmentally themed talks, “What if you just leave it? A wilding journey’, by Dr Sam Rose, on Thursday 30th May at 7pm; all proceeds will go to West Dorset Wilding. Dr Rose has set up the charity West Dorset Wilding to start to address the loss of biodiversity locally. It is led by local landowners and farmers who understand the problems facing nature, how these impact on all of us, and how, as custodians and users of the land, we can all start to make a difference on our doorstep.

The charity now has funding to focus their attention initially on the wider Brit catchment, which includes the areas around the Symene, the Asker, the Brit and the Mangerton rivers. Within this area they are working to help landowners and farmers collaborate in a ‘coalition of the willing’ to improve nature at a catchment scale.

Pictured: Ledge 4 (Orkney) 2024. acrylic on card, by Vanessa Gardiner; Large Tsubo by Yo Thom.