Edmund de Waal hails ‘regeneration’ of ceramics after being made a CBE

Artist and writer Edmund de Waal has said he is pleased to have been part of the “regeneration” of ceramics in the UK after being made a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

The author of The Hare With Amber Eyes and The White Road said he was left “flabbergasted” after being told he would be receiving the honour, which is for services to the arts.

He added he feels “very grateful that the things I have done over the last decades have been noticed”.

Edmund de Waal
Edmund de Waal has been made a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

“It’s such an extraordinary honour to receive and you can’t obviously prepare for anything like this,” he told the PA news agency.

“It comes out of absolutely nowhere. It’s wonderful.”

The artist, who is known for his work in ceramics, said he has “always been an advocate for making things”.

He added: “I have been a potter for all my life, for 50 of my 57 years, so I have always been evangelical about making things by hand and also about talking about them, about advocating for that in our culture.

“It’s lovely because it feels like crafts, ceramics and pottery are so widespread and dearly loved by people that it’s very nice to be part of that regeneration of ceramics in this country.”

The digital age has not ended “the need to express who we are as human beings through touch, through our response to materials”, he added.

“It’s marvellous to think that the crafts and pottery, these particular arts, are flourishing very much and will continue to,” he said.

However he added the pandemic has been “catastrophic” for arts institutions.

“We are in this very strange position where very beloved museums and galleries and our theatres and places where music happens are absolutely struggling desperately to survive,” he said.

This is “coupled with this desperate need for people to return and experience the arts” as the pandemic eases, he added.