I unloaded my kiln this morning and then cracked open a couple of saggar pots that had been fired with wood ash, banana skins and all manner of organic matter. I’d also been anticipating some plinth like slabs to seat my smaller sculptures. The pieces came together in such a pleasing satisfying way. I can always tell when I’’m really happy with work because I photograph it endlessly. I’ve tried to edit a couple of sets as follows.
I wrote about feeling crustaceous here. The idea of forming a crust, skin or protective shell is very familiar territory for my work. With these I love how briny they look.
I love the idea of having a hardened exterior. I definitely don’t permanently but it is a good feeling to be finding your shell again. This word also relates to new work on which a longer piece will follow. I did the sketch below after loading but before unloading my kiln and I was so pleased to see the same shapes emerging.
of, relating to, having, or forming a crust or shell
Having fired the moulds taken from the plaster ceiling rose (see previous Instagram posts here and here) I pressed the first round of porcelain shapes today. The hands holding tools are the most interesting to me and I’ve started to think of these as protest badges. I’m thinking of calling the collection The Furies and then individually they could be things like Fiery, Fury, Frustration, Forge, Fight. The potentially unglazed porcelain or a matte finish glaze will hopefully evoke a classical marble statue. I’m hoping to finish these for Sheffield Ceramics Festival in July.
I felt very honoured to be featured by Aesthetica recently in a piece about sculpture evolving. Lacuna was longlisted for Aesthetica’s Art Prize in 2015. I remember being asked to write something for the Art Prize Future Now Anthology. It was one if the first times I took a deep breath and wrote what I thought and felt:
“I am preoccupied by the alchemical, the haptic and the woeful disregard for the conjury of ceramics, the illegitimate art form. My work represents states of being, relies on recognition – of the everyday, of human stance and domestic scale – often taking etymological origins.
Lacuna – an unfilled space, a gap, an extended silence or depression – is a once-thrown piece that rests and melts with hidden pools, smooth folds and broken loops.”
Lacuna, Future Now Anthology 2015
Emotion of the day series, with thanks to Be Manzini
On Monday I spent the day in my studio for the first time in months. Winter and lockdown had combined to make it very difficult to be there. It was an apt moment to take visual stock of my surroundings, how comfortable they still felt and how excited I was to be back.
I recently finished A Room of One’s Own for the first time. There’s so much more to say than this initial post but in the midst of several funding applications I am reminded of two of so many phrases that hurtled towards me.
“That collar that I have spoken of… bowed my head to the ground.“
A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf (p.5, Vintage Classics)
This physical manifestation of worry or preoccupation is a concept I’ve ruminated on for some time. The Daily Journeys We Wear is an overarching concept for my present art practice. The notion being our lived experience can be manifested in wearable sculpture, portraits that enclose, cage, guard or amplify us.
I am developing a new series:
Worn: A Battleground. Exploring what we carry with us. Accumulated weight. An armour of sorts.
Worn Weft Weary. A trio.
Vestiges of an emotional battleground, artefacts.
I like the sense of a trio emerging here. They’ll be several stances forming a group I think. The W words are textural and a ripe starting place as specific words often are for me.
“A nugget of pure truth to wrap between the pages of your notebook and keep on the mantelpiece forever.”
A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf (p.4, Vintage Classics)
I loved this phrase from the moment I read it. That preciousness and the idea of a gift of words. A weightiness too though that can be burden like the previous collar. It is writing I want to write and the pressure I feel to find such writing when deadlines loom.
Documenting this sketchbook helped hone why they’re such a key part of how I develop work. Continually reframing the composition of pages and elements I revisited the textures, surfaces and shapes I was interested in when putting the pages together. I tend to work with several projects in mind with so much not realised in sculptural form. Sketchbooks continue alongside making and documenting and bringing them online has added another dimension to the research and revisiting process.
“The China Hall is one of those buildings that on first stepping inside elicits gasps of wonder – with its high barrel-vaulted ceilings, immense space and visible remnants of its former industrious past.”
I agree with the British Ceramics Biennial site description there’s certainly something about the sheer scale of this space. That work continues to be commissioned especially for it is especially wonderful.