Thursday, August 13, 2009
When I throw a vessels the completed object is in my mind. I think of the magnolia or the nest or the eucalyptus twigs and try to get the line of these things, the single complete line, through my arms and fingers into the clay to create the three dimensional field for the decoration. Many people would say "How can you tell the difference isn't a tea bowl a tea bowl?" The difference becomes obvious when the decoration is complete. Each element of the vessel, the form, the function, the colour, the compostion, the weight and the texture must all enhance each other, none taking over from the original idea so that what looks like a plain old tea bowl becomes a thought about sunny afternoons with nothing to do lying in the head high grass or the way things grow, or the enormous interconnected emotions arond the family and the home symbolised by a nest, when it is held in the hand.
There are about 17 steps in each pot (they take ages!) The purpose of all this mucking about with raw pots is to integrate the surface and the form. Vessels are interesting because the field for the drawing has edges in the rim and foot of the piece. The decoration can lead the fingers over the rim or contain the eyes within the bowl of the vessel. The purpose of the line is to seduce one into touching the piece then move the toucher through the pot making them aware of the weight the thinness of the rim, the texture of the line and colours. All my pots have "hidden" textural and visual elements. Some can only be seen if the vessel is held up to the light at a certain angle and the edge reveals the surprise of translucence, some will only be discovered as you wash up and feel the pots underwater or turn it upside down. I want the decoration and the conceptual idea to be totally integrated into the pot not just floating on the surface. The vessels are in continual dialogue with those who see them and handle them. Only those who look closer can really experience this back and forth between the inanimate object and their own body. At the same time the imagery suggests other things so the viewer is led to a "gate" into visual concepts and the philosophical thoughts that might arise from this.
The form is the thing that makes domestic ceramics such a powerful force. Because the vessel is such an innocuous, common form it creates a space where all these other things can slip in. Between the noise of making school lunches, the clatter of saucepans, sizzle of eggs frying and tug of the life of the house there is a small , quiet space in a tea bowl or milk jug where , for a second you can smell the dusty grass of a long sunny afternoon with the bees buzzing around your head and the cloud shadows chasing each other across the blue, blue sky.