Continuing my current project, I have switched clay and firing temperatures and so now work in stoneware rather than earthenware. At the moment I’m making a start on some editioned pieces, both cast and press moulded. This is quite an exciting departure as I’ve handbuilt my work for the last 25 years…I’ll still be making handbuilt pieces but will have a range of limited edition pieces in a few months…watch this space!
Have just had some of my recent vases photographed by Alistair Clark.
This new work follows on from my previous project that responded to trips taken in Europe. In this series, currently consisting of vases and lidded boxes, I have been revisiting old photos and travel memories from the late 1990s and early 2000s. At this time I made some of my first visits to Canada and the US.
The overriding themes to this work are nostalgia, commemorating past experiences, touristic and photographic ‘seeing’, and using the permanence of the ceramic vessel as a way to present this.
The lidded boxes offer a way to ‘contain’ memories, and the vases a ubiquitous and recognizable, ornamental form that can communicate narrative.
New series (untitled at the moment) 2018.
Some quick shots showing various stages of making; from construction with slabs, painted and monoprinted slips, glaze and decals/lustres.
My current work in progress follows on from ‘A Souvenir from Europe’ series, and continues to focus on tourism and travel experience. After some reflection on current and older images of various trips undertaken, I have decided to revisit photos taken in the late 1990s and early 2000s – these are all physical photos (pre digital). The ones I’ve started with are images from my earliest visits to North America. Its been an interesting process, remembering past experiences, and looking at what I chose to photo (and what I left out!). There is definitely a thread running through of what I saw/visually consumed nearly 20 years ago, and more recently…I may include more recent images too.
In terms of form, I have started with the lidded box. Small and intimate in scale, with the implication of containing something (not necessarily anything physical, but more to contain nostalgia and memory). Still at the early stages of development, I’m currently working out proportions, relation to the surface, and practical issues such as fitting lids.
Alongside this I’m working on some surface treatments; experimenting with linoprinting, stencilling and photographic image. With any new work, I tend to separate out different aspects and experiment with different things/processes, as well as making some initial pieces to work out the best approach. Additionally I source any relevant literature that can inform and inspire. Sometimes it’s a book I’ve read before, sometimes new. Susan Stewart’s ‘On Longing’ has a particularly relevant chapter on the souvenir where she talks about the connections between nostalgia, souvenirs, photographs and past experiences. Other books are tourism focused.
More to follow once I have some pieces in development…
Not long to go until I’ll be taking part in our Beaverhall Open Studio event- opens this Friday at 5pm! There will be some new work, and some older pieces- we will be having a sale in our studio so lots of bargains to be had.
I also have work currently on display in The Kunsthuis Gallery in Yorkshire in their selected ceramic show – Shades of Clay. Some of the pieces are shown below..
Its been a busy few months as per usual, but currently I’m making work and preparing for a couple of forthcoming shows. I will be exhibiting at Kunsthuis Gallery for their Christmas show ‘Shades of Clay’. I will also be taking part in another open studio event at Beaverhall studios in November. Details here. I’ll post up some images of work in progress over the next couple of weeks.
Over the last few months I’ve been slowly working on more from my current series of pieces that reflect trips to mainland Europe. Earlier in the spring I took a short visit to Paris which was an inspiring experience….museums, parks, galleries and the palace at Versaille included. The Musee de Sevres was a reminder of the rich and hugely inspiring history of ceramics. Clay connects and reflects places, cultures, social history, social and technological change and the present day.
This trip is feeding into the pieces I’ve been working on most recently. Coil built forms are based very loosely on pieces viewed in the Musee de Sevres. Surface imagery is initially abstracted, predominantly from photos taken in the gardens at Versaille, and in Paris itself. The final layer will include the photos, and may also include previous imagery from Belgium and France.
Previous work has explored research into tourism/ travel related themes, and has reflected the commemorative nature of souvenirs. This new work returns to this theme, and has been inspired by various short trips to European destinations over the last couple of years; Nice, Brussels, Ghent and Bremen.
This series of vessels uses the squared off ‘vase’ form with different variations in size and shape. The vase is arguably one of the most popular and generic ceramic forms; it usually has connections and reference to the domestic/home.
The act of being away from home and being a tourist is a way of ‘escaping’ the everyday; on holiday the everyday is far more interesting however…we are looking with much more intent; visually consuming the sights. I am interested in how these ‘sights’ may be something very ordinary and everyday, as well as the more typical attractions in most tourist destinations. I am interested in how we try to read a place, to navigate and interpret maps, brochures and signs. And so the images and marks I use on the work reflect snippets of these travel experiences, fragments glimpsed. They are collaged, layered and placed sporadically on the forms. A big part of touristic experience is trying to capture and retain the moments and temporary experiences; to pin them down and revisit them.
Photos by Alistair Clark
Over the last few months at Cyan Clayworks we have been really busy with courses and other projects. I’ve also been making new pieces- more about those in the next blog post!
One of the other projects we’ve been involved in is working with our studio neighbours Bart and Craig. They have spent quite some time observing, filming and photographing us at work in the studio, and have made a great film which you can see here….https://vimeo.com/205628020
It shows a little of behind the scenes of how and why we make what we do.
Big thanks to Craig and Bart and the ‘sound man’ Lewis!
Its certainly been a busy autumn! Have been working on a new series over the last few months which is inspired by various trips taken over the last couple of years- to Nice, Bremen, Ghent and Brussels. This new work ‘A Souvenir from Europe’ revisits previous themes and commemorates travel, being a tourist, and experiencing the new. It also has taken on a new significance since recent political events.
I will have work in the following events and galleries over the next few weeks:
Edinburgh Art Fair with Saorsa Gallery 18- 20 Nov
Saorsa Gallery, Edinburgh from 24 Nov
Roger Billcliffe Gallery, Glasgow
Contemporary Applied Arts, London
Velvet Easel Gallery, Portobello
And coming up soon – our open studio event! Everyone welcome to join us for a look around the studios and a glass of wine. For more details visit the eventbrite page here. There will be lots of artwork/design for sale; including ceramics, painting, millinery, print and jewellery. We will have lots of sale items too.