Manipulating soft clay on a revolving wheel and feeling the material respond to the merest touch is like setting out on an exciting journey for me. The dialogue that goes on between the maker and the clay is carried out through the use of the pots. You pour, you eat, you store, you serve and you drink from them, and sometimes you just contemplate them. All of my work is thrown and manipulated while wet on the wheel. In an attempt to capture the softness in the finished piece, I do very little turning (trimming), and when the turning is done, it mainly happens at the soft stage. After firing and transforming the clay to stone, that softness can still be seen.
Sodium vapour glazing emphasises the marks and rhythms of making, picks out every line. Spouts and lips for pouring, handles to invite lifting and balance, feet for stability and elegance – these are some aspects of looking at function and sharing with others which hold my attention when making pots. My inspiration comes mainly from the natural world around me and the energy in the evolving landscape, celebrating the rhythms and creative forces of the earth and the human body. Drawing, particularly life drawing, is an essential activity for me in the training of my eye and developing my inner sense of form and keeps me thinking about the life in a pot. When I am throwing I often picture the moving, dancing model and try to capture that imagination.
Observing and touching the surface qualities of such diverse things as the sculpture of Brancusi and Giacometti, water, sand and stone, ancient unglazed vessels next to highly glazed ones, the profound inevitability of the landscape and the drawings of Rembrandt all feel the creative spirit. Work which concerns itself with the highlighted areas and shadows, shiny and matt surfaces and textural qualities punctuated by the play of fire and vapour is what I endeavour to achieve. We are inherently defined by what we do and what we potters do with clay identifies who we are. I see my work as a potter as an active participation in a way of life that is celebrating the beauty of the world around us and the intimacy of human relationships, enjoyment, caring and warmth. I try to use clay with honesty and integrity and hope people respond with their hearts.
Copyright 2012 : The Three Stags heads
Ceramic artist specialising in soda-glazed pottery formed on the wheel