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From the moment I started to work in clay it came instinctively to me to use colour and brush marks on my work; a single glaze, however beautiful the surface finish, was never going to be enough.
Discovering vitreous slips many years ago, gave me a material with the surface quality that I had searched for; a way of creating surfaces, vibrant or subtle without the use of a glaze. Employing burnished slips as an alternative surface adds another dimension, creating a different mood. Early vessels were purely vehicles for decoration, but now I am more interested in creating pieces that have harmony of form and surface.
Landscape in its loosest interpretation continues to be the inspiration for my new series of work: I had never lived with a view before moving to my current studio where to the north is a patchwork of woods and fields and the vastness of the Ashdown Forest, and the Sussex Downs gently roll to the south. It’s a varied landscape that has influenced me greatly and not only visually. From my studio I observe the changing of the seasons and the rhythm of the year. As coiling is all about rhythm, I feel attuned to this natural beat. My cottage garden is also very important to me and this smaller scale more intimate landscape, where the play of light and shadow across plants suggests ever-changing abstract and sculptural compositions, often provokes a fresh theme or series of work.
Another important source of inspiration comes from my appreciation of paintings, often by British Artists from the 1930s, 40s and 50s. I feel a special affinity with the painters of this period - their peculiar application of paint and use of brushwork.
My sketches, from direct observation, in black and white in a small sketchbook, are not literal, rather a noting of atmosphere, mood, rhythm and texture. These marks and gestures on paper are the starting point for studio work where I work intuitively relying on visual memory for colour whilst bringing together my interest in the physicality of working with clay and my passion for painting.
Each piece I make is an interpretation of the world around me, abstracted images weaving around a fluid form to create a three dimensional painting in clay with luminous coloured burnished or vitreous slip.
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