Throughout the summer holidays of my childhood I would scour the Cornish beaches for stones and pebbles whose shapes and surfaces, colours, patterns and textures corresponded to the ideals of my personal aesthetic. Returning home with my pockets (and those of my parents) bulging with these treasured souvenirs I began the fascination with natural forms impacted by the elements which became the fundamental inspiration of my work as a ceramic artist.
Many artists have found inspiration in landscape and the natural world. I find pleasure in seeing the vastness of erosion and weathering, of geographical and geological change, of time and decay, expressed microcosmically in a fragment of rock. I have endeavoured to incorporate my visual and tactile responses to these phenomena in my work through abstract interpretations using press-moulding, hand-building and carving techniques.
Contrasts feature prominently in my work: contrasting shapes, surfaces, colours, techniques and processes. Spiky and smooth, light and dark, controlled and unpredictable – it is through the tension of these contrasts that I ultimately create the balance within each piece.
The making process is controlled. I spend a great deal of time smoothing the surface but spikes are often added one by one to provide a pleasing contrast. Smoke firing is then used to introduce an unpredictable surface pattern to the ceramic forms. Finally copper leaf is used to embellish the surface adding warmth and vibrancy to the finished piece.
My work has frequently employed the sphere as its predominant shape, but more recently I have begun to manipulate and extend this form whilst still retaining the surfaces that have become intrinsic to my working practice. Coiling and extruding techniques have been introduced in order to achieve more elongated shapes that create an interesting development from my pebble forms and indicate the new directions I intend to explore in the future.