A conversation with clay

My work is the outcome of a conversation with the clay.  The seed of an idea will come from something I find beautiful    a pebble found on a beach, a tree encountered on a walk, a sensation felt in the body, a quality of movement – and working directly with the clay, I watch to see how the idea grows.  Thoughts, feelings, music I listen to, found objects in the studio, conversations… all of life has the potential to fold into the making process and influence the way the piece develops until a sense of resolution arrives and there is no more to be said. The piece has found its final form.

I love the gradual nature of this process which seems to mimic the creation of the objects that inspire me; a pebble eroded by waves and tides, a tree shaped over years by prevailing winds, or a body sculpted by the life it has lived. And being curious rather than prescriptive about the outcome I have a sense of being observer as well maker, often leaving me surprised and occasionally delighted by what emerges.

I see motifs that recur and have become my vocabulary, shapes and textures that my hands enjoy making and that connect the pieces, and sometimes a pot seems to reflect things that matter to me in life; to do with nature, connection, and underlying unity.

I know that others may see different things, or simply see a pot, but it makes me happy to relinquish any sense of control over that and to focus on the beautiful process of making which I love. I hope you enjoy the results.

Life before clay

My creative life has been delightfully varied; as a musician and sound engineer, a science and environment journalist, a producer and presenter of natural history radio, a furniture maker and a  landscape painter.  Through all of that there have been two constants – nature as inspiration, and the search for an underlying, unifying simplicity in what I make and how I make it.  I think it’s that search that has led to a change in emphasis over the years from knowledge to experience, thinking to feeling, words to form, outcome to process, and from concept and control to curiosity and surprise.

Meeting with clay

Now, at what feels like the perfect moment, when I’m finally ready to appreciate it fully, into my life has come clay.  Tactile, responsive, expressive clay that was shaped by the hands of the earliest humans into pots and effigies. Clay that, in the creation stories, was the unity from which the diversity of life was made. For me it has been a significant meeting; a sense of coming home, finally finding in clay a medium in which I can rest, be open, and delight in what emerges. For that I am deeply grateful.