KUNSTHUIS Gallery's Shades Of Clay 2016 exhibition will welcome 26 British and international ceramicists to Dutch House, Crayke, from Friday.

The gallery's annual ceramics show "adds heat to the kiln" in a show with one eye on the Christmas present market and the other on selecting artists who are pushing the boundaries of their creative practice.

Dutch House co-owner Cecile Creemers says: "We're celebrating our belief that ceramics can engage, inspire and invite the contemplation of the process of design. Artists explore and challenge the versatility of clay both as a creative, functional and sculptural medium, exploring the properties of a material that is both universal and sustainable, while also exploring the dialogues of form and surface.

"These concerns are developed through practical experimentation where the artists test a variety of techniques to explore different methods of manipulating materials and surfaces."

Nathan Mullis's practice examines the engagement between the material and structure of clay objects. "The relationship of matter, texture and surface complement form and this act of making creates meaning," says Cecile. "The objects cohere to the same universal similarities that Nathan finds himself in, voicing the primal, which is what unites them. The sculptures create a language that comes together to create a bridge between the past and present."York Press:

Kit Hemsley: "Uses anything that has an interesting surface"

Kit Hemsley's work is influenced by the Yorkshire coast and countryside where she grew up, as well as reflecting the nature of the clay itself. She  uses mainly porcelain, self-glazing Parian bisque porcelain and stoneware coloured with oxides, glaze stains and underglazes. Textures are applied using fossils, wallpaper, bubble wrap, lace and anything else that has an interesting surface.

Oregon artist Kelly Thiel's sculptures show the story of her life. "These narrative pieces are a physical representation of the issues and experiences she has as an artist and a mother," says Cecile. "Kelly applies figurative and animistic forms to create these expressions; heart and soul are poured into each one. She uses human and animal figures because they are so potent and versatile; and she tends to think of them as 'my power animals, storytellers, or even guardians'."

Clare Crouchman's work combines textures ranging from rough grog to smooth, shiny glazed porcelain that create tactile, contrasting surfaces. "As well as painting with different stained slips and inlaying different clays, drawing into the clay is a crucial element of her work and is a contemplative process," says Cecile.

Other ceramicists contributing to the exhibition include Katie Braida; Julie Brunskill; Lesley Lishman; Sylvia Holmes; Carolyn Marr; Gail Altschuler; Clare Wakefield and Joan & Jack Hardie. "Joan and Jack are presenting 3D printed ceramics in the show," says Cecile. "There is only one other artist in the UK making this form of ceramics. Jack built the printer himself and it's very, very, very interesting work."

York Press:

A ceramic piece by Clare Wakefield

Painter Lisa House complements the ceramic work by showcasing a vibrant combination of hue, texture and form. "Painting with instinct, emotion and skill, she has a subtle understanding of colour and its deep impact on the viewers conscious and subconscious," says Cecile.

"Her work is inspired by Impressionism and colour theory and these have a major impact on her work. The landscape and still life are her favourite subjects to focus on and indulge her lifetime obsession with colour."

Accompanying the ceramic show will be John Illingsworth's photography in the Dutch House Cafe. John travels widely to capture his imagery but is equally inspired by the Yorkshire landscape where he lives. "He has a great affinity with architecture, doors, windows or other manufactured shapes rather than natural forms and captures his work using a range of techniques," says Cecile.

Kunsthuis Gallery's shop presents handmade items from arts and crafts makers, showcasing contemporary interiors, jewellery, handmade books, ceramics, table accessories and prints, not to mention a few Christmas inspired pieces.

Shades Of Clay 2016 will run from November 4 to December 23 at Kunsthuis Gallery, Mill Green Farm, on the road between Crayke and Brandsby, near York. Opening hours are 10am to 5pm, Wednesday to Sunday; admission is free.

Did you know?

Kunsthuis Gallery is one of the six finalists in the Art and Culture category of the 2016 White Rose Awards.