My work is calls upon a very wide range of sources for inspiration which is reflected in the variety of work I create. The thing each piece has in common is my fascination with clay as a material and a style that is intriguing and a little off-beat. I try to imbue each piece with a character or detail to engage the viewer.
Artist statement – Inside potential
For my current work I originally took inspiration from the Japanese art of Enso in which, although an apparently simple circle, it is a reflection of everything, from the universe as a whole to the void from which it came. The way the circle is drawn encompasses a spirituality
and connection. I then added inspiration from seed pods, pollen and sea urchins.
The idea that the centre of the enso held the potential to create everything in the universe led me to consider of the internal spaces within sculptural forms. It also led me to consider fertility and how seeds, plant and animal, contain such amazing potential. The inside contains all the important ingredients for creation and growth.
For this internal strand I started with vessel forms that with a tradition feel to the base that ‘grows’ into a more organic form. I decorated the interior of the forms and tore into them to reveal the ‘potential inside’. From these I moved towards a spherical form, returning to the original circle concept. The intricate patterns and textured decoration inside each sphere is revealed through openings cut, torn and broken into the sphere depending on the nature of the inside. You can glimpse the potential as it starts to ‘unfurl’. Everything is inside.
In contrast to the internal, the idea that the enso circle itself contained all the elements of the universe birthed from the void and ‘grown’ into the miracle that is everything led me to develop pieces that are more about the outside. They grow out in waves from a partially hidden centre cone creating an organic structure with a sense of movement and life. I am also interested in how the pieces sit within their environment which has led me to be interested in how light might change the look of a piece as well as how the piece might impact on its surrounding using light and shadow. As such these pieces hide a secret interior space revealed only when lit inside, with glossy jewel colours inside and intricate patterns outside on the cone partially hidden by the growing waves and shadows.
Elements of Protection
In earlier work, another source of inspiration has been the concept of ‘Elements of protection’.
Sculptural forms are inspired by organic forms such as seed pods, shells, & insects, nature’s amour and natural defences evolved over millions of years. These highly effective and often beautiful structures are the basis for hand built abstract forms and surface decoration. Exploring scale and form these pieces combine to create works representing protection from the perils of the physical world, direct attack from predators or the forces of nature.
Gargoyles, the guardians of church buildings, are the inspiration for figurative sculptures. I studied their character, humour and form whilst trying to define the essence that extracts such varying responses from the viewers. I became interested in appearances and assumptions, people’s instinctive or ingrained reactions to certain features or “looks”. Goodness and beauty have become inextricably linked within people’s perceptions and therefore, ugly and evil have also become intertwined.
By moving my study away from gargoyles toward the human form I am making my work more accessible to the audience whilst updating the style. It appeals or extracts a response from something deep within the viewer. I want the audience to look further than the superficial appearances and consider why they react in a certain fashion. Other contributing influences include African art, alien culture and peat bog mummies. My aim is to capture the character and humour that is the essence of gargoyles whilst bringing them up to date. In addition to pieces influenced by talismans & good luck charms from around the world, these form work representing spiritual protection.
Each piece is individually hand built in stoneware clay. I enjoy creating work that has impact and involves the viewer, as a result many pieces have simple descriptive titles as I do not wish to influence or guide the viewer’s responses. They invoke a wide variety of reactions, which do not warrant any limitations or direction from me.