Change the world - rebuild it in clay.
I work with clay because it is such a responsive material. It is a pleasure to work with a medium that does (almost) what you want. Clay can be moulded when it is soft, when pressed it holds the shape you give it, when it dries to a leather-hard state it can be worked like soft wood or plaster, carved, cut and re-joined in sheets.
Working with clay seems to have a therapeutic value too. Could this be because it is satisfying to have an idea then to realise it in a physical form? Or is it just good for us to exercise our dexterity as it is to exercise our minds and bodies in general? Then again it could simply be that working with our hands has value as a form of play and that the benefit is in the process as much as in the result.
What to make of clay in the 21st century?
What is interesting to me about this medium is what to make with it in the modern world. Both the sculptural and the ceramic traditions are in flux and their historic purposes in question. Clay work sits uneasily between the fields of art and craft but this is only to be expected, the material will take whatever meaning you give it, it is receptive and open, it has no problem, the question is, where do you place your work to let it tell it's own story?
My work has several strands of ideas running through it, including an iconography drawn from my history as man and boy mixed liberally with references to art and contemporary life.
I find that experimenting with forms that are not entirely designed in advance is a good way to generate ideas and techniques that can be consciously incorporated in later work.
At the time of writing I continue to work with fired and glazed clay. My work is in transition, becoming larger through splitting it into many parts that make up groups or installations.
Drawing the line
My drawing work is related to my clay work, (as is my photography and video) but it has a life of it's own too. I do almost as much drawing in public as I do on my own, I find the context of an event has an energy which is both exciting and pressurising, it creates an interesting tension which I find intriguing. At present my drawing is not based on direct observation but it is representational.
Qualifications and training
- 1976 Fine Art, Leeds Polytechnic, Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK
- 2007 Conflict, 20/21 visual arts centre, Scunthorpe, Lincs, UK
- 2006 Origin, Crafts Council, Somerset House
- 2005 Chelsea Crafts Fair, Crafts Council, Chelsea Old Town Hall