Maak is the market leading auction house and art consultancy specialising in the very best in Contemporary Ceramics and Craft.
Since its foundation in 2009 by Marijke Varrall-Jones, Maak has been dedicated to presenting Contemporary Ceramics at the highest levels to international audiences. With a focus on nurturing the market through their regular schedule of auctions in London, they have maintained an unwavering eye to long term sustainable growth, ensuring Maak has been at the forefront of raising the global interest in Studio Pottery and Contemporary Ceramic Art to the levels seen today.
Maak's expansion in 2023 to include the wider remit of Contemporary Craft is a natural evolution that builds on the expertise that Maak has gained to establish an environment where a secondary market for Contemporary Craft can be nurtured and flourish, all the while retaining Maak’s commitment to a dedicated level of specialism.
The Maak team of specialists bring their years of experience and extensive connections to offer wide ranging personalised services to both individual private collectors and public institutions. Handling everything from individual consignments to some of the most important single owner collections to have been offered to the market in recent years, selling through auction or brokering private sales, Maak is unique in its comprehensive approach to the contemporary ceramics and contemporary craft market.
Maak presents regular auctions which are conscientiously curated to offer works by a broad selection of ceramic artists, reflecting all the major developments from the early Anglo-Oriental traditionalists to the contemporary ceramic artists of today. The auctions have a particular emphasis on British Studio Ceramics, however Maak has an international audience and as such also offers Japanese, European and American ceramics on a regular basis.
Following the inaugural auction dedicated to Contemporary Craft presenting the single owner collection of the late Victoria, Lady de Rothschild in September 2023, Maak will hold an annual auction dedicated to this speciality, encompassing the very best international makers working with wood, metal, glass, textiles, basketry, lacquer and jewellery.
The Maak auctions have become well established amongst collectors and the auction viewing exhibitions in Covent Garden, London provide rare opportunities for collectors and enthusiasts of studio ceramics to see significant collections featuring works by the leading names in British and International Studio Ceramics.
Today Maak is the only organisation in the UK to hold regular auctions dedicated to the fields of Contemporary Ceramics and Craft.
Marijke has worked in the fine art auction industry for over twenty years.
With an early interest in 20th Century Design and Decorative Arts fostered during her time working in the 20th Century Design department at Sothebys, Marijke focused her speciality to Studio Ceramics from 2004, when she joined the Contemporary Ceramics department at Bonhams, London. The Bonhams Contemporary Ceramics department represented the best part of the wider international market for studio ceramics at that time, and Marijke was Head of Contemporary Ceramics until the department was closed in 2008.
‘The appeal of studio ceramics is multi-layered for me. Not only do I love the visceral tactile quality of clay but the endless variety of studio ceramics means there are endless opportunities for surprise and inspiration.
However as much as the work itself it’s the pleasure I find in working with the many collectors that we are engaged with every day. The ceramics auction market is characterised as comprising an unusually high proportion of private collectors – 90-95% of our buyers and sellers are private collectors. For them ceramics are often an all-consuming passion and one that they are all too keen to share with anyone willing to spend time talking about it. Their knowledge, insight and enthusiasm remains a highly influential in fuelling my own passion for the work that I do with Maak.”
Marijke has been a Consultant Lecturer at Sotheby’s Institute of Art, contributing to the MA in Contemporary Design and the MA in Art Business as well as a number of other post-graduate courses. In addition Marijke is regularly invited to participate in discussion panels and exhibition selection committees in her capacity as Ceramics Specialist.
Marijke is also the Founding Director of iRostrum Limited, which provides online auction and bespoke software solutions to the auction industry.
Senior Specialist & Head of Sale
Frances joined Maak in 2018 bringing with her over 15 years of knowledge and experience in the auction industry. Frances had previously co-founded the Modern Art auctions at Bonhams, Oxford and spent nearly 10 years as multidisciplinary valuer before joining Maak to specialise in her passion of contemporary ceramics and craft.
She holds degree in Fine Art and attended the Gemmology Association of Great Britain where she was awarded her Cert-GA
Frances is also a Trustee of Maak Foundation, a charity providing funding for primary research for the publication of books to advance the education and understanding of studio ceramics.
Fleur joined Maak in 2021, after nearly five years working at Sotheby’s in London. Previously she obtained her MA in Fine and Decorative Arts from Sotheby’s Institute of Art, where she majored in history of ceramics.
Hannah joined Maak in 2020. She has been involved in the ceramic industry for over 20 years. Her passion for ceramics began while studying for her degree in Three Dimensional Design. After specialising in ceramics for the final part of her course Hannah went on to make and sell her own work. She continues to develop her skills as a maker alongside working at Maak.
Alexa joined Maak in 2022, with more than ten years experience in the industry. Having spent many years working for a leading dealer, she specialised in 18th-century decorative arts and contemporary ceramics before going on to run the studio of a major artist, initiating collaborations with museums, galleries and international art fairs. Alexa looks forward to bringing her varied knowledge of the ceramics industry to Maak.