Artists Statement

My work uses a single pure jar form as a canvas to map my observations from an ongoing study of my surroundings. I incorporate stone and locally dug clay into my work to create a narrative, one that conveys a unique sense of place. The unpredictable nature of each jar comes from the inclusions and their metamorphosis during firing. This individuality and tension between materials speaks of the human condition and how the landscape shapes us as individuals.

Landscapes have inspired artists for generations but for me a landscape has to be felt. To depict it is always going to fall short. I was inspired by archaeological theories that the Menhirs of prehistory are a veneration of the landscapes that surrounds them. With my site-specific work I too am venerating the landscape. By placing a Jar at a particular location within the landscape I hope that it will make us look beyond the object to its surroundings.

My work is also about change, about natural cycles and the transience of human endeavor. Part of my ‘Earth to Earth’ project is to illustrate one cycle as a metaphor for all. I placed a raw, unfired Jar at the top of Carn Treliwyd in Pembrokeshire. Made from the earth; the wind and rain will return it back to the earth. Clay in turn is created from the weathering of igneous rocks upon which this unfired Jar stands.

Paths are a motif I use to represent my actual and metaphoric journeys through a place. To understand a landscape is to move through it, to give it context. Paths are like common routes of experience, guiding us through the landscape. They are connections through time, to others and to the land. Ultimately my work is about being present within a landscape.

The Studio

The studio was purpose built in 2006 as an internal space within an old farm barn, which also houses my kiln and a couple of donkeys. I did the work myself after completing my course in Ireland. It is well equipped with three wheels, slab roller, extruder, electric kiln and of course my 80 cubic foot wood fired kiln.

All of my work is made in the studio except when the weather is good I take the wheels outside and throw in the sun. Partly because it’s nice but mainly because of the speed with which the pots dry, making me able to get a lot more done.

I have a designated glaze research area where I try to develop new glazes, experimenting with local materials that I have collected from the surrounding area.

The Kiln

I built my kiln at the beginning of 2007 from plans supplied by Joe Finch. It was a great project and an important one that gave me a deeper understanding of kilns and how to fire them. It is a large kiln at 80 cubic feet (or 4”x4”x5”), which I fire with off-cuts from a sawmill in the nearby Preseli Hills.

The kiln fires to stoneware temperatures of 1300°c. Due to its fast fire downdraft design firings can be as short as nine hours.

Firing a wood kiln is very involved, the constant stoking giving you a strong connection to the process that turns raw earth into glass and stone. The direct contact with ash and flame brings a subtle earthiness to my work. The unexpected nuances in each piece resulting from the firing reinforce my works connection with the natural environment and the unique processes that shape the landscape.

Local Materials

The collection and use of local materials is integral to my work. I intentionally source my own local materials, using them unrefined to show my personal relationship with the landscape, the materials within it and my past experiences from where they were collected.

My research into local materials is ongoing. I have tested a number of local clays dug from the nearby moor-land, which I either blend with other clays or apply to the surface of a pot as a slip. The beach aggregate I use is a coarse black sand from the coast behind the studio, where I also collect seaweed.

I am constantly bringing different stones back to test. My next investment will be a ball mill, which will enable me to make powders from local geological samples, for use in glazes. It is a great pleasure to get out of the studio and into the beautiful surroundings to collect new samples.



CV

Education

 

2004-2006 Crafts Council of Ireland Ceramics Design and Skills Course.
2002-2003 West Wales School of Art, Carmarthen
1998-2001 BA (joint hons.) Archaeology and Anthropology, Lampeter University

 

Exhibitions

2015     Collect, Saatchi Gallery, London
2015     Real to Reel, Crafts council touring exhibition
2015     Fragile? National Museum Cardiff

2014    Beaux Arts, Bath
2014    The Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh
2014    Cornish Series, New Craftsman, St.Ives
2014     Ruthin Craft Centre

2013    Corvi-Mora, London
2013    Moon Jar: Contemporary Translations – KCC, London
2013    Jerwood Makers Open

2012    Create, Observe, Preform. Alkovi Gallery, Helsinki, Finland
2012     Atencioni, Buenos Aires, Argentina
2012     Chelsea flower show, London
2012     Dewisland, Tenby Museum and Art Galllery, Tenby
2012     Artists in Residence, Oriel Y Parc, St.Davids
2012     Earth, Ruthin Craft Centre
2012     Ceramic Art London, RCA, London
2012     Modern Masters, Munich, Germany

2011    Figure in the Landscape, The Discovery Centre, Winchester
2011    Insight into Beauty II, Embassy of Japan, London
2011    Bloomsbury Art Fair, London
2011    Contemporary Craft Festival, Bovey Tracey, Devon
2011    Close to Nature, New Brewery Arts, Cirencester

2010    Little and Large, Contemporary Ceramics, London
2010    Welsh Artist of the Year Exhibition, St.Davids Hall, Cardiff
2010     Sarah Myerscough Fine Art, Mayfair, London
2010     RBSA, Birmingham
2010     Garden Gallery, Hampshire
2010     New Craftsman, St.Ives

2009    Roger Billcliffe Gallery, Glasgow
2009    Origin: The London Craft Fair. Somerset House, London
2009     20:10, Ruthin Craft Center

2008    Harlequin Gallery, London
2008    The Albany Gallery, Cardiff

2006    National Craft Gallery of Ireland, Kilkenny

 

Collections

2015     Crafts Council UK
2014    Chatsworth House
2013    Oriental Museum, Durham
2012    National Museum Cardiff

 

Awards

2013    Jerwood Maker Open
2013    Ceramic Review Award

2011    Arts Council of Wales research grant

2010    Invited Professional Member of the Craft Potters Association

2009    Arts Council of Wales project grant to exhibit at Origin