YORK Ceramics Fair, a new event on the northern crafts calendar, will showcase contemporary studio ceramics from Britain and beyond on October 6 and 7 at The Hospitium, Museum Gardens, York.

Run by the Craft Potters Association as part of the city-wide Ceramics & Design Now festival, this is a rare opportunity to buy hand-crafted pieces direct from 40 leading contemporary makers, chosen through competitive selection from a wide range of approaches to the craft.

"You can discover hundreds of pots to fall in love with and take home during this special weekend, from teapots, vases and jugs of all shapes and sizes, to quirky figures for the fireplace and large sculptural artworks, each revealing the versatility of the artform," says event publicist Jane Redfern.

Minimalist design lovers will be drawn to the simplicity of Karen Downing’s hand-thrown porcelain tableware: everyday pieces inspired by her childhood on the New Jersey coast.

Next weekend's fair offers the chance to take a closer look at the work of salt-glaze studio potters Jane Hamlyn, from Everton, Doncaster, and Ruth King, from Shipton-by-Beningbrough, York, whose alchemy of glazing and firing results in a myriad of textures, finishes and colours.

Jenny Southam’s "odd, eccentric and humorous" figures make reference to her fascination with Staffordshire mantelpiece figures and are influenced by time spent in her Exeter garden. Look out too for the porcelain vessels of Austrian-born Katharina Klug and slipware pottery of Dylan Bowen, from Kidlington.

One familiar name, in an unfamiliar setting, will be Ely artist Roger Law, co-creator of Spitting Image, ITV's iconoclastic puppet series that ran from 1984. He has turned his energies to making ceramics and will give an hour-long talk on October 7 from 2pm on his journey from politics to pots.

"The success of the topical satirical show Spitting Image, which pilloried the rich and famous, ironically made me rich and famous," says Law. "When the show closed in 1997, I quietly deported myself to Australia to concentrate on what was left of my talent. In the last two decades, I’ve gone from politics to pots, working in both Australia and China's 'Porcelain City', Jingdezhen. I would like my pots to be as engaging and attractive as my caricatures were rude and ugly."

Law's talk will be part of the fair's two-day discovery programme about ceramics, organised in collaboration with York Art Gallery's Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA). On October 6, CoCA's annual Day of Clay, there will be live demonstrations and a chance to "get your hands dirty" as makers show how raw clay can be pinched, carved, rolled, thrown and transformed through their craft; October 7 will offer talks, films and even theatre in an in-depth look at the craft.

York Ceramics Fair will be open from 10am to 5pm on October 6 and 7 at The Hospitium, Museum Gardens, York. Entry is £4.50, giving access to all talks and demonstrations each day, with free admission for under 16s. For more details, visit yorkceramicsfair.com

Charles Hutchinson