My career as a ceramicist began when I was still in school. I had a wonderful tutor who was interested in clay – she was so passionate about it that I was drawn to the medium too. It was something about the clay and its flexibility, and the seemingly endless things you could do with this malleable material.
When I went on to college, I enrolled on a 3D design course at Northbrook College in Worthing, and while there I was able to do more work with clay. I spent 2 years developing skills and techniques before moving on to the Surrey Institute of Art and Design to do a BA Hons in Contemporary Crafts, and then further study for an MA in Ceramics.
Artists and designer/makers take their inspiration from many sources. For myself, at the beginning, I was inspired by the idea of containing space. I was looking at the body as a vessel – a vessel containing Hope, Thought, Feelings and Emotions. The outer shell of the piece is what we present to the world as a disguise of what we are really feeling. In my ceramic work I was trying to express this – the outside surface would have texture, erosion of surfaces, and colours inspired by Nature. I made cracks and holes in the surface of the clay to show the darkness that lies inside the form.
This is still part of the work I do today, but of course has further developed over my years of working in ceramics. I use landscape imagery on the surface of the work to capture a moment in time – a memory, a feeling of place, a thought, a hidden emotion. I have now been working with clay for over 20 years and can honestly say I am still in love with it.
My current work is moving more towards making large bowls with landscape on the both the outside and inside. I am still looking at moments in time and trying to capture the feeling of a place on the surface of the vessel. I use aerial images of landscapes which inspire the surface patterns on my work. I also visit these places to take in the atmosphere, and to collect an object which I can press into the surface of the clay. After I have all the information I need, I roll out some clay and begin to paint onto the surface of the clay. I use underglazes and oxides, making up my own internal landscape, reacting to what is happening to the marks and colours I am applying to the surface of the clay. Each piece I create is an individual and original work of ceramic art.
Over the years I have worked on many commissions – some for schools, and other private commissions. Currently I am working on a personal project – it is still in the developmental stage but I am hoping it will go live some time soon.
I first became aware of the Sussex Guild around 2005. I had visited one of their events and was impressed by the quality of work on show. I decided to become a part of the Guild and have been a member now for 15 years.
We have all been affected by the current world situation – Covid-19 has prevented me being able to teach but I hope to reopen my studio for teaching in May. I also hope to be taking part in the Art in Clay event in Windsor – the dates are 20-22nd August 2021.