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I make heads and faces.

Although relatively shallow in physical depth my sculptures are intended to have a psychological complexity, they rarely look directly at the viewer, are often lost in thought or otherwise occupied. I am also driven by narrative; spoken and written language informs much of my work. As I don’t deal with anything below the neck I’m interested in the head as a metaphor for the complete body. 

The psychological aspect of my work allows room for ambiguity in the interpretation.  The title of the pieces makes my intention more explicit, but I enjoy the other meanings that are given to my heads by those who encounter them.

The main theme of my sculptures is the communication of the interior world; a world of memories, thoughts, fears and responses, which can be revealed by the fleeting subtleties of expression or betrayed by a glance. The focus of each piece is the eyes, typically the gaze is averted inviting the viewer to contemplate the interior world of the subject or what may have just happened 'out of shot'.   Woven around this framework are reoccurring themes such as; my concerns over the beauty industry, ageing and interest in feminism; my personal search for quiet contemplation and balance; my anxiety over consumerism; the recession: my love of humour, innuendo and word play; and my interest in the depiction of melancholy. 

Clay has a skin like quality and I feel that it helps me make my pieces.  As a painter I found the inert quality of the board I used discouraging.  But as soon as I sit down with a slab of clay and begin a piece it helps me. The clay starts to mimic skin – it develops textures and collects indentations, scratches and stretch marks.

I work with a wall of many images - photos, drawings, clippings, and photos of previous pieces in front of me as peripheral inspiration.  A new piece is formed where these ideas and images collide with the shape, texture and idiosyncrasies of the slab of clay in front of me. Some days the clay does all the work and an unknown and unplanned face will emerge.

I draw into the clay and draw with the clay to develop my subject; I’m looking for any oddity or asymmetry as the piece takes shape. I paint on wet clay; the clay becomes part of my pallet. My pieces are single fired.

Language, written and spoken is a significant influence. I have a collection of well-thumbed wordbooks and favourite sites online plus sketchbooks and notebooks with gathered words and snippets. I listen to BBC Radio 4 in the studio, which is a fertile hunting ground. I’m fascinated by the workings of humour and comedy and the relationship between irreverence and solemnity.

One of my favourite parts of the making process is to sit down at the Internet with my reference books, and all the other collected words and ideas and start the hunt for titles. Although this marks the end of a cycle of work it’s also the beginning as I always discover fresh ideas for sculptures yet to make.

 


 

Education:

1993 BA(Hons) Graphic Design/ Illustration, Bath Spa University.

2006 MA Ceramics, University Wales Institute Cardiff

 

Awards:

Crafts Council ‘Next Move’ Award

Arts Council Grants for the Arts

 

Public Collections:

Ceramic Collection and Archive, Aberystwyth University.

Crafts Council Handling Collection

 

Selected previous shows:

Origin, Somerset House, London

Ceramic Art London, RCA, London

‘Two ways about it’, The Brownston Gallery, Modbury, Devon

‘Must Have More’, Aspex, Portsmouth

‘Get Fresh’, The Devon Guild

‘In the Window’, The Bluecoat Display Centre, Liverpool,

Origin, Spitalfields, London

'Look Sea', The New Craftsman, St Ives

 

Associate Member of the Devon Guild 

Professional Member of the CPA

 

Arts Council logo        

 

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