This is my almost life size sculpture of a female torso in its finished pre fired state. I was feeling ambitious at the time and had the desire to work in a large scale. I worked from a model and from photographs. I found it satisfying physically to work on a piece this size. The sense of wrestling with the material and with the form which that was achieved was wholly engrossing.
The clay changed its substance over the course of the modelling. From a firm and moist state at the initial stages it gradually hardened into a firm leathery material through the drying process. I particularly enjoyed slapping the surface to create structure. The material was tough and allowed me to test it with vigour.
The piece took a couple of months to sculpt a relationship between me and the work an external embodiment of myself in which I could channel my experiences into. This too was deeply gratifying.
My lounging lady is a survivor. Due to there being trapped air inside the piece it was badly damaged during firing. It split into several pieces but I salvaged two main portions which I put back together and for glazing and final firing. Due to the fine nature of the piece the risk of damage in firing was highly possible.
I am glad I restored what I could of the figure. The crack through the middle has done little to diminish the overall result. The edges where the legs were blown away provide an interesting textural contrast to the smooth curves plus the final dimensions appeal visually to me more than did the original complete figure.
Perhaps it was fate as I was excessively attached to what I saw as my beautiful flawless creation.
My mother and and chick penguin in glazed ceramic.
The inspiration for this piece came from a photograph which I then made a drawing of. I was struck by the tenderness of the relationship between the pair. Making the drawing first helped me to get a sense of what I wanted to evoke in sculpting the birds.
The formation lended itself well to working in clay as the simple forms are free standing due to their being larger at the base and so also hollowed out easily. The glazing was experimental as I had really no idea what the colours I was using would turn out like. I was most surprised and pleased at how well the finished fired colours worked.
The chick with his head back under the mother’s beak is so touching. The innocence and trust of the young and the stoic determination of the mature adult female to protect and nurture her chick is absolute.
My chick is larger than I intended. He is more adolescent in size but he is a baby.
My seated figure lounging by the kitchen window. She looks well by the light.
This piece is more experimental than my other ceramic works. It is the product of two methods. I started out with by carving from without into a somewhat hardened lump of clay. The way stone sculptors work. Envisioning the piece inside the rock or marble and in my case lump of solid clay.
It was a fresh approach once again I found a new method that helped to distance myself from the end result and I was able to immerse myself fully in discovering what I could do and what the clay would allow me to do.
At a certain point I had to change tactic as the material was not firm enough to allow carving at the outer and finer parts e.g. the limbs. But the new method of working resulted in a totally different type of figure and form than I would have created by building in the conventional way.
The piece has a pleasing abstract quality to it an there is a good jagged muscularity to the pose.
There are a few things I’ve done that I am wholly satisfied with and this piece is one of them. This and a couple of other things I feel I wouldn’t do differently, and have no reservations about. I feel pride enough to think that no matter when in the future if they were dug up or discovered that me or whatever if anything exists of me at the date I’d still feel the same.
It is a nice feeling to have.
I made this about ten years ago. I was having a rough time and going to the the studio on the winter evenings helped to keep me going. I don’t recall my thoughts while I worked on it it was more a case of to just keep doing it, the action became the thinking if that makes any sense.
The project absorbed a great deal of the stress and anguish that I was in at the time. It went into the material through my hands and with work and the continuos showing up each week a form was made.
It was as if I was not doing the making but rather it was being made through me. An alchemical process. Matter transformed with mystery. I was hugely surprised with the finished result. I had definitely worked hard on it but not in the way I had previously understood.
This is one of my early pieces of ceramic art. It was inspired by the primitive art of South America. Heavily stylised features, almost brutal in its crude execution large totemic head he is is reminiscent of the Easter Island statues. It has also the quality of a supernatural being as many primitive artworks do. He is large of head and almond-eyed as many aliens represented in film and comic books appear.
It is an embodiment of man in a very basic form. He stands erect with large eyes staring out seeking something in the beyond,something unknown. His hands clutching the sacrum or heart centre.
The subject of our origins and of our earliest ancestors fascinate me. The art that remains of previous civilisations is alive with hidden knowledge and secrets of their existence and their understanding. The awesome mysteries of the universe lie within the sculpture carvings, paintings that they left behind. The human instinct for expression burns bright like a flame.
This critter crawled out of my imagination back in 2009. I was going through a lizard phase. Lizards and reptiles were on my mind and in my dreams. To me they represent survival our oldest and most essential instinct. I associate them with danger and threat always scanning the terrain all senses primed on the single goal.
My original intention was to collect large flat stones and paint colourful geckos and chameleons onto them in a folk style. The project never came to light. I went out to Greystones to with the intention of collecting stones on the beach but spent the afternoon having tea and playing football with a friend of mine who lives down there instead.
The idea and imagery persisted in my drawings and notebooks for a spell and then I decided to try making one in ceramics. They have a wonderful silhouette all curvilinear in their extremities.
The fineness of the digits and the thinness of the piece required very careful attention in the drying phase. It happens so often that fine pieces become dried before the whole and snap off so I kept it wrapped up and moistened in an effort to avoid it and was fortunately successful. He made it in and out of the kiln intact, a survivor like his kind.