My initial response to the theme of this exhibition was thinking about the traditional senses of sight, sound, taste, smell and touch. Images of different types of surfaces such as smooth, rough, prickly, sharp and shiny popped into my head.
I work mainly with bone china liquid clay; it is a material I have used for many years. I like its properties and how it can be altered with coloured stains and glazes. I also use mixed media and found objects. I use metal pins with my work, I want to ‘draw’ and create forms with the pins to particularly focus on the sense of touch.
I work very intuitively with the materials I use. I have a starting point of how and what I would like to make but during the making process things inevitably change. I enjoy this aspect of making, the incidental and how it can spark new ideas. Sometimes if I am making a mould and I’m waiting for the plaster to set I will start a drawing or consider the placement of a new composition using individual pieces of my work.
My studio has three different ‘stations’. I have a table for making moulds and slip casting; this is the messy area. Another table for drawing and a third for placing works and objects to observe and reflect upon. When entering my space each day I have the practical ritual of filling buckets of water (my studio doesn’t have a water supply) putting on the heater, kettle and radio.
The beginning of making new work usually starts with mould making. This is a means to an end. I dedicate a particular amount of time to make the moulds; once they are dried I start slip casting. Only after several days of slip casting, I become at ease and in control of working with the material. It takes time to familiarize myself with each mould and work out how to get the best cast. This I would say is a crucial point of interaction with the material.
As my studio starts to fill with new works, I have to adjust my studio space and move things around everyday. I make decisions on whether I will carve, slice, pierce, wrap or bind the works. Once the works are completed I then clear my studio and decide on the display and placement of these new pieces.