I have studied Ceramics since about 1990, embarking on a degree course at Bath Spa University from 2001.
After that, until September 2020, I enjoyed work as a ceramics technician and demonstrator, at first specialising in plaster work, but ultimately filling all technical roles within a university Ceramics art and design department.
In 2016 I completed an MA in Ceramics
at Bath Spa University. My work involved investigating aspects of identity through making.
My early work, after BA graduation in 2004, concentrated on the development of decorative and functional work in a rented Bristol studio, though I now work from home in the Somerset village of West Chinnock.
Up until 2010, I specialised in making decorative plates and platters using an earthenware body covered with colourful glazes, carefully trailed onto the work. More recently I concentrated on the production of functional work for everyday use, partly as a response to the economic climate of the time.
My MA was an attempt to 'find my way back' to earlier exploratory work and took me in the direction of sculptural expressions using functionally-produced pieces, driven by an exploration of personal identity; driven by a period of personal identity 'crisis'. Click here
to access the blog for this work.
The inspiration behind my earlier decorative work seems to have been driven by a fascination with a two-dimensional depiction of three-dimensional form, but on the grand scale of the cartographer or geologist. Some influence for this may have come from the completion of a BA in Geography in the early 1980s. Creatively speaking, I think I was concerned with an obsession about making beauty
permanent in some way. Differently coloured glazes were carefully trailed and juxtaposed over the large surface areas of platters and plates, with particular attention to line and containment. The firing process softened lines, producing a more dynamic visual effect, echoing some of the amazing revelations encountered when the natural world is 'cut open' by mapping, survey, or with a rock hammer. Functionality of the form pays homage to the simple origins of early ceramic forms, but also seems to be a major concern for me; I can admire practical non-functionality in the work of others, but I seem to need to incorporate it, or references to it, into my own creations.
My directly functional work has involved the use of earthenware, stoneware and porcelain clays to make a variety of thrown, slip-cast and jigger and jolley works, primarily for practical use. This includes vases, bottles, bowls, teapots, jugs and drinking vessels. Glazing may be strongly or subtly coloured depending on the form and body used.
My MA work
became a sculptural/conceptual take on my personal feelings about producing functional work. It came to powerfully embody the emotional turmoil I had been experiencing in relation to my sense of identity. The work is wheel thrown and assembled. A lack of glaze treatment and a consequent reliance on the bare clay body for finish often resulted in questions about materiality. In some ways, the work highlights the plastic nature of clay, but can also allude to a kind of 'plasticity' in our use of materials in a world already teeming with useless objects.