Oxfordshire Artweeks - 11-19 May 2019 - Exhibiting at The Granary Cafe in Watlington as part of a whole town event featuring the work of 43 artists
From a young age I have always been a keen maker and craftworker, but it was only after taking a ceramics evening class in my mid-twenties that I fell in love with the medium of clay. I continued with informal classes for a year or two before completing a City and Guilds Ceramics course at Kingsway College, North London and becoming an artist in residence at Fortismere Secondary School for 3 years. It was there that I developed my style of handbuilt high-fired stoneware ceramics and first started exhibiting my work, while also teaching ceramics to staff and students.
Since then, in between dull but necessary administrative jobs, I have worked as a free lance theatrical prop maker and as a peripatetic art workshop teacher in primary schools. Over the years I have explored a wide range of different creative disciplines in addition to ceramics, including photography, stained glass, mouldmaking and casting, wire sculpture, mosaic, metalwork and life drawing, but my favoured medium is still clay.
The main influence on my art is the ancient and universal symbol of the spiral. As well as finding it a beautiful and pleasing form, I am intrigued by its symbolic significance. Spirals can be seen extensively in nature in the form of plant structures, patterns of growth, and in the movement of elements. Prehistoric cave paintings and tribal carvings show examples of spiral motifs and demonstrate how early humans instinctively knew the significance of the spiral, which modern science has since proven with the discoveries of the double helix of DNA all the way up to spiral galaxies. I am also fascinated by clockwork and mechanical machinery, the workings of which I see as a kinetic representation of the spiral.
Most of my work to date has taken the form of handbuilt ceramic sculpture, primarily using grogged clay and dry finish glazes to create a textural quality much like those found either in nature on lichens and moulds, or as a result of natural forces acting on man-made materials, such as rusts and patinas. However I also work in other media, particularly metal.
While some of my work is purely sculptural, my instinct leans towards creating art that is functional. I find it really satisfying to create pieces that not only look beautiful and interesting but which also have a practical use in the home or garden. I feel that the functionality of an object can enhance its beauty: Candlelight reflecting on a sculptural form can highlight its colour, shape and form; different flowers or plants can add to and alter the appearance of a vase or pot; water travelling over a sculpture can add movement, texture and sound.