Text accompanying the questionnaire for the Open Studios event…
Ceramic material and specifically Porcelain is perceived as special for many and in some cases precious (think of Gran’s best China!). We esteem its qualities, in being pure (white), it has clear dichotomies: it symbolises strength and fragility, birth and death. These are the main reasons it has become the most powerful and predominant material in my work, in representing the natural world, both as we know it and as we imagine it. The other materials I use in conjunction with clay have their many purposes but they are used as reminder of our world being increasingly man-made, industrial/technological, plastic, concrete or throw-away. In showing precious ceramic in collaboration with these other materials I hope to highlight even more, clay’s particular beauty and strangeness, as well as its nastier side….Many known materials produce a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction. Even just by looking, our teeth can hurt, think of how ‘nails down a blackboard’ makes the nerves in our mouths/teeth set on edge, these sorts of visceral connections are linked to the mouth and involves taste. Babies explore everything with their mouths, it’s a primal sense but over the years we acquire memories of materials through our experiences with them. Perhaps you will have memories of a particular material. Whether you know clay well or not, it doesn’t matter, I would like to hear your thoughts. I am inviting you to look at these tests without touching and think about them, please answer three simple questions for each plate.
- Knee-jerk – tooth ache, does this combination unsettle you in this way?
- Does this combination spark off any memories for you?
- Does the Porcelain or Ceramic element look particularly precious/special in this combination?