After the rush of Christmas fairs and commissions, I've had quite a thoughtful start to this year, with the chance to play and experiment with porcelain.
As I mentioned in my last post, I've been working towards producing pieces for a ceramics 'Natural Inspiration' exhibition, Made at Mac (at the Midlands Art Centre, Birmingham). And have you now worked out what cabbages and sea anemones have in common? They are both intrinsically beautiful and delicate, and have provided a lovely, fresh 'natural' stimuli for recent work.
Last month we had a photographer, Sam Orchard, come into the centre to take photographs. I did find it hard to keep a straight face, but I was so pleased with how he captured what I was working on that day...So here's a sneaky peek of what goes on 'behind-the-scenes.'
For the next piece I was initially inspired by a potter I have admired for over ten years - a local lady called Sam Krankpod. I attended a workshop where we made simple pendants and pressed a variety of leaves into the clay. I was suddenly struck by the beauty of the cabbage! :) At the same time my tutor at the Mac had just made a plaster mould of a cabbage leaf so I then took this to make a flower-inspired cabbage bowl. I'm hoping to use a lovely translucent or pale-coloured blue or green glaze to highlight all those lovely veins. Fingers crossed it works. There are no guarantees when working with clay or porcelain. Here are some work-in-progress snaps.
I've also heard this week that I've been accepted to have a stall at Moseley Arts Market on Saturday June 28th. This is a curated market so they only pick you if they like you. I was delighted to be accepted, but all this means that I can't be quite so leisurely now and will need to pick up the pace. I've had a lovely play - but it's now back to business.
2014 - hello there! It's been an exciting start for me with news that some of my ceramic work will be included in an exhibition at the Midlands Art Centre in Birmingham.
The exhibition, Made at Mac, will take place in May of this year and has as its theme 'Natural Inspiration'.
This has come as a new juncture for my work, and has challenged me to embrace a more organic style by using nature as the stimulus for a new range. Which leads me to my title - 'Who's your muse?' Or equally one could ask what is your muse?
I'm taking inspiration from Ernest Haeckel, a German naturalist and biologist from the 1800s who did the most fantastic illustrations of micro-organisms, as there was already some synergy with these drawings and the rhythmic carving of holes in a number of my pieces (see first illustration below and my three un-fired vessels).
"Nature has created an inexhaustible wealth of wondrous forms whose beauty and diversity way exceed anything that has been created by man." Haeckel, 1899
As I have started to study his works more, I am seeing even more possibilities of how his drawings could be incorporated into a wonderful range of lighting, incorporating the piercing technique.
I've also been looking at normal scale sea-creatures, and have been been studying the beauty and fragility of sea-urchins to see if I can capture their delicate essence in my work to create a sweet tea-light. This may even be the basis for the new lighting range. (see pic below of un-fired piece) I can't wait to find out.
Today I was listening to my capoeira music whilst piercing my pot, and felt that the music was influencing the rhythm of the markings. And earlier today, I had the fortune to be hanging out the talented illustrator and print-maker, Emma Hardicker in her studio, who mentioned that human contact provides her with a great stimulus to make. I feel very fortunate to know so many creative friends, I won't list them now, but they are so important to the creative process and I am indebted to them.
So what inspires you when you're making or doing any creative process? Is it music? A view? A person? A theme? I'd love to hear from you....