Artist Statement

I graduated from Bath College with a degree in ceramics in 1990 and spent the next 12 years making and selling a whole variety of ceramic objects from domestic ware to individual sculptural pieces.

My work is, informed by architecture and patterns from ancient civilisations, with Raku as the main firing technique. While working solely as a ceramic artist I had orders for my ceramic clocks from Liberty, and UK galleries, along with exhibitions and weekly sales on a stall at Cambridge Craft Market. However I decided to expand my knowledge of architecture and interior design with a view to changing career and enrolled on  architecture degree course at London Metropolitan University. I went on to complete the RIBA part 2 architecture diploma.  I am now working as a freelance architectural assistant for local practices, and have a ceramics studio in Stroud, Gloucestershire.

 

 

I am continuing to make ceramic clocks, but also producing sculptural pieces, drawing on my architectural studies and observations of the built environment, although still holding onto the traditional ceramic idea of a vessel and at the same time enclosing space that is similar to a building envelope. In this way I can use ideas from the making process to inform my clock and vase designs.

I like to construct my sculptures speedily and intuitively, making decisions on structure, texture and mark making that allows me to ‘play’ cutting and rearranging to create a piece that I could not have designed on paper. I also use very simple tools and found objects to produce sharp, fresh marks in soft clay slabs, cut from a solid block of clay using a wire harp. I make work in batches that allows my work to evolve, building on ideas and forms from previous pieces, which I can keep or discard, so the work becomes less precious, becoming part of the design process. ­In this way I can free up my ideas, and I become totally absorbed in the construction process blocking out the awareness of my surroundings and loosing track of time.

Raku Firing

After bisque firing I then glaze and fire the work using the very immediate process of Raku, that is a continuation of the experimental approach used in construction. Originating from Japan Raku is exciting and enthralling, with unique and unpredictable results. These are created by rapid heating, cooling and various post firing reduction techniques, typically placing the red hot glowing work into a chamber with combustible material such as wood shavingst or straw, that burns therefore reducing the oxygen in the air producing a huge variety of effects including metallic copper/silver/gold glazes, that are frozen by immersion in water. The carbon from the burning sawdust coats the glaze and is absorbed into any unglazed areas or crazed glazes creating another layer of detail to the piece. Finally after the piece has cooled the carbon layer can be washed off to reveal the rich glaze effects unique to each piece of work.

Here are some dramatic photos of the kiln, still glowing red hot, after the work has been transferred to a metal bin containing wood shavings

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