My work for the past eighteen years has been focused on learning new skills and techniques, I like creating animal sculptures and making functional and non functional pieces. Each piece that I make is made with the chosen clay that suits the surface colour that I am trying to achieve, incorporated through application of underglazes, oxides, Slips and glazes.
I incorporated hand building techniques as well as wheel thrown pieces because I found that I could recreate visual images in 3D. I have made videos making animals over the past couple of years and have posted them on my you tube channel. To date I have 2,438 subscribers and 599,195 views.
The inspiration for making clay animals came from observations of dogs that I have known and animals that I like.
From my videos the one that I am most fond of is, making and painting a tiger cub. I made a mistake when editing the video and deleted connecting the head but I think the best part of the of the video is the painting on the stripes. I just had to go for it, any mistakes meant I would have to wash off all the underglaze and start again.
For 7 years I have been teaching at the Malden centre in New Malden. I have my own class on Monday evenings and three after school classes. I do a four hour session on Saturdays with my friend and colleague, teaching parent and child classes, also during the summer holidays I will be doing the summer club. There will be 12 children in each class. Rachel Frendo will be teaching alongside me.
I believe it’s true that if you want to learn, teach. I Can remember being in the classroom as a student, thinking, that I could teach better than this but when you are on your own it is quite daunting. Doing demonstrations was the hardest challenge for me. Although I knew how to do the technique I found it hard to get the point across in a simple easy manner. My favourite technique to date is monoprinting. It took me a long time to build up the confidence to do it. I watched several videos on you tube, Mitch Lyons is always a good one for motivation. https://youtu.be/nC9xa5nw8m8 The hardest part is getting started so if you are not familiar with this technique, plan your colour scheme in advance using colours that compliment each other. It is easy to over do the layering so to begin with; go with the concept that less is more.
Paying attention to the craft, making things that are meaningful and watching people achieve a goal by sharing my knowledge is the biggest thrill of teaching.
Moving forward :
The theme that runs through most of my work is sculpting. I like the thrill of making something come to life in my hands. For future projects I want to push myself harder, I find myself looking and observing people’s character and movement. I am on Instagram and since I posted my last sculpture of a female torso, I have had three requests for commissions.
My aim this coming year is to teach a sculpture class. I want to specialise in the human form so I will set up a schedule for myself so that I get used to working under pressure and to a deadline. Professional practice is a priority in the near future. I am collaborating with my friend Rachel Frendo, who is also doing the HNC course. I will be making most of the thrown pieces and she will be decorating them. She is a brilliant illustrater. She is a big fan of retro and pop art. We get together over a coffee in the French tart in surbiton. (Which, I think, serve the best coffee in England.) to throw ideas at each other and make lists of shapes and sizes. Our business will be Ditton Pots. Ditton after Thames Ditton, where we both live. We are currently busy making for our exhibition in the Malden Centre as part of the KAOS. Kingston artists open studio. This will be the starting point of our business. Where we will be giving out business cards and testing to see what the viewer/ buyer likes.
I am currently doing the final term of my HNC at Richmond college. It’s a Pearsons Btech level 4 in ceramics and design.
The last project is about exhibitions and exhibiting our own fanal project as a group.
My title project for the exhibition is : Innocence.
Innocence in children’s movement through intentions and in play. I plan on making feet and hands as the main attribute. For example if you were to see a child’s feet on tip toe you would imagine that the child was reaching up for something. I would finish the piece just above the knee, the jeans will be turned up to the shin and frayed at the cut off point just above the knee, leaving the illusion for the viewer. The hardest part will be capturing the shape and making the material vanish softly into thin air so I will have to do lots of test along the way.
Over the past year I have had a few successes, one of them being my slab teapot.
Unsuccessful piece was my water feature. The project was based on the word enclosure, I decided to make two large thrown bowls that fitted inside each other. The outer bowl being the river bank and the inner bowl being the enclosed river. The fish is large and brightly coloured because he is making a protest about the amount of plastic that is thrown in the river. He is displayed on a plinth – an old rusty oil drum that was pulled out of the river and litter from the river is attached to the netting. I didn’t allow enough for shrinkage so had to quickly make a larger outer bowl. In hindsight, I should have made a double Walled bowl and cut through on the hollow rim so that it blended in better. The water pump would have been inserted through the top of the outside wall and ran through behind and under the fish.
Artists that strike a chord with me.
I am inspired by ceramic artist Craig Underhill. His work fascinates me, I like the crispness of his style and his unique mark making. I bought a small vessel from Craig when I went to Hatfield last year. I often pick it up just to admire it. I was so thrilled to meet him. As soon as I picked the pot up I had to buy it. I like the inside because he has left the makers marks, it has energy and character of the maker. Craig’s elitist style which through the shapes of his pieces express and show his work at its best. He uses lightly grogged clay, on which he applies layers of slip and engobe. He scribes and adds texture, he sometimes does this before assembling them. They are then fired then more layers of engobe, oxide and glaze to highlight detail is used. Craig’s work is influenced by landscapes and the coastline, the main source being St Ives.
Another artist I have recently taken to is Carolyn Genders. She uses traditional coiling and slab techniques. She paints her surfaces with abstract imagery. I think her pieces are striking and the use of bold colour makes a statement and brings the piece to life.