2nd August - 27th October 2016
"I find that I am continuing to be energised by the idea of timelessness and solidity as represented by ancient rocks. Recently at the British Museum I saw some hand carved Egyptian vessels circa 3,000 B.C. They were made from stone porphyry with remarkable patterns and I was mesmerised by the heft of the form; even in the smaller pieces. I want to try and capture that feeling in my work."
"My work is about the transformation of soul, a journey of humanness, viewed through the lens of natural common wonders; the myriad strata of rock, the patterns of wind on sand, the lines of growth on a seed. Those things which mirror the influences that mark or mar our world, give me inspiration in my making. What I make is my response to the challenges in life, the personal journey that is taking place at a deep level in all of us. I strive to make vessels that feel as though they are alive and vibrant, objects that resonate in the mind and the hand, in the way that a favourite rock brings us inner calm. By working to make sense of inner turmoil and transforming it into objects of beauty, I hope I will inspire others."
Techniques and processes
"My large vessels are all coil built, but as I want my work to be accessible to everyone I make each shape in at least three sizes. The shapes I make are usually oval; it's a more organic shape and I like the tension this creates as well as the infinite potential that exists by changing the profile of the curve. In a sense I feel that the piece has a say in its creation in a way that making round shapes never do. In this way I feel that I more accurately imitate nature; I am affected by my work in the same way that nature is affected by the external forces.
Reproducing oval shapes by hand accurately is very time consuming so for the smaller sizes I make press moulds and use slabs. Once basic shapes are formed I work the surface using a variety of wooden, metal and rubber ribs until it is as perfectly smooth as I can get it. If I'm using terra sigillata I wait for the piece to dry completely and then paint it on.
The glazing process is quite involved especially for the Lewisian Gneiss series which is first covered with a layer of thin resist slip, then I pipe on thick slip in the flowing patterns that are so typical of the Lewisian Gneiss Rock. Once these coats have dried for a few hours I pour a layer of glaze over it all and then pipe thick glaze following the thick slip patterns. When that has dried I carve fine lines between the thick trailed layers with a cocktail stick. These will end up being the black lines while the different thick trailed lines will show up as varying degrees of tonal contrast. I carefully calibrate the viscosity of the glaze to achieve this tonal difference between all the layers.
When the glazing process has been completed and the pieces are fully dried, I Raku Fire them in an outdoor kiln…if the weather is benevolent! Bringing the pieces up to about 860 degrees I pull them out with tongs when the glaze is nice and shiny. After smoking them in reducing buckets for about fifteen minutes I pull them out and start rubbing off the glaze and slip layers, this takes time and effort especially with the terra Sigillata pieces as they must be handled very carefully in order not to damage the fine slip layer."