Tricky to know where to start really...
We're all in our own crazy boats, together, but 2 metres apart, bobbing on a turbulent sea and hanging on for dear life. The world has suddenly become smaller and life is restricted to us all having a shared experience within our own four walls. Society's values have slewed and morphed into something more important and community based. The government defined 'low-skilled' workers, are holding us together and keeping us going, despite putting their own health at risk.
The simple pleasures feel highlighted, as I found when I walked downstairs and the early sunshine lit up the delicate layers of my most recent porcelain sculpture.
Having worked flat out for months, in the studio making, and on the computer organising the Taster, it was heartbreaking to have to cancel York Open Studios 2020. But in the great scheme of things, with people ill and scared, it's not a huge thing. In terms of hopes and dreams it does feel it though. At the same time I got my work into a great exhibition, Ones to Watch at Sunny Bank Mills near Leeds . The installation took place just as things were shutting down so there is the weird situation of a brand new, perfect exhibition that no one has ever seen, can see, or possibly will ever see.
I thought I would share my Artist Interview for the Ones to Watch Exhibition at Sunny Bank Mills Gallery . The questions have helped me focus on my practice and reminded me of some of the fantastic exhibitions I have been inspired by. Now, more than ever, seems good time to focus on human creativity.
ONES TO WATCH - ARTIST INTERVIEW
DESCRIBE YOUR WORK IN THREE WORDS
Capturing Light and Shadow
WHAT MEDIUM DO YOU PREFER TO USE?
Porcelain, plaster, concrete, wire, 3D pen
WHAT IS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND YOUR WORK?
Striving to express the delicacy of paper in porcelain whilst investigating how geometry, repetition and folding capture the interplay of shadow and light, and embrace the space between.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST IMPORTANT ARTIST TOOL? IS THERE SOMETHING YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT IN YOUR STUDIO?
Cartridge paper; its texture and warm white tone, its strength and delicacy, how it holds a fold and crease so perfectly, taking its story from desktop to sculptural form and creating magic in the shadows.
That, and vast quantities of Earl Grey tea.
DURING THIS UNCERTAIN TIME WHAT WILL YOU DO TO OCCUPY YOURSELF?
A spring tidy-up in the garden and playing games and quizzes at home and via Skype with friends and family around the country. Creating new pieces but feeling thwarted that I am unable to get to my ceramics studio to work with porcelain. Busy framing my most recent wall work and completing the painting of my downstairs rooms that were being readied for the now cancelled York Open Studios.
WHICH ARTISTS ARE YOU MOST INFLUENCED BY?
In 2011, I saw Jaume Plensa’s work at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, his use of materials, language, light and space were a big influence on my work. I appreciate Thomas Heatherwick’s approach to problem solving and innovative use of materials.
HOW DO YOU SEEK OUT OPPORTUNITIES?
The best way to be found, is to be found working. And you have to make your own opportunities. At the end of my degree I approached York College and suggested they started an Artist in Residence programme, and that I would like to be considered for it. I am now over half way through my first year of a two year residency and loving every minute of it.
Most of the exhibitions my artworks have featured in have come from Curator Space. I also check on Art Rabbit, Artists Newsletter and follow opportunities on Twitter, plus keeping my ear to the ground in my local area.
WHICH CURRENT ART WORLD TREND ARE YOU FOLLOWING?
My dissertation focused on the development of folding and origami, looking at its historical context, its versatility in architecture, fashion and interior design, through to its use with space age technologies and ultimately, its development into fine art. I follow Dezeen, Design Boom and Colossal to keep up to date with developments in the use of origami.
In a world where it can feel like its spinning too fast, I find a sense of calm and peace in manipulating materials, creating movement on folded surfaces and revealing the patterns in light and shadow. My work reflects this.
PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
I’m looking forward to my second year as artist in residence at York College and continuing writing my Blog,
I was thrilled to be selected for the Art& RAW Talent Award which will give me access to business and display mentoring for the next 6 months followed by exhibiting and selling my work at Art& York in October.
I joined the committee of York Open Studios this year as Events Manager, so will be busy organising the Taster Exhibition for York Open Studios 2021 next April. All the artists (and there will be over 150) exhibit one of their artworks together, in a central York location, and its a great opportunity for members of the public to see all the works in one venue. There’s no way art lovers can get round over 100 venues in two weekends, this way people can chose which venues they would like to visit over the Open Studios weekends.
TELL US ABOUT AN EXHIBITION THAT HAS STAYED WITH YOU
In the Chapel at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Chiharu Shiota: Beyond Time, a stunning evocation of body, space and memory. It was hauntingly beautiful and its effect transformed as the light changed. The power in that one installation gave me goosebumps.
ANY BOOKS/FILMS/TV SERIES THAT YOU WOUD RECOMMEND FOR ANYONE INTERESTED IN ART?
I always love watching Sky Portrait Artist of the Year and Sky Landscape Artist of the Year, I love seeing how others interpret the world in front of them. Grayson Perry’s Rites of Passage was very thought provoking. Thomas Heatherwick: Making, is a book I can always return to and find something new.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS?
Instagram accounts: Ceramic Art London, Doga Ceramique, Jim Bond, Cornelia Parker
WHAT IS YOUR DREAM PROJECT?
I've spent a lot of time trying to create larger porcelain vessels but each time I've failed in the kiln. My aim is to continue and develop a technique to enable me to create larger folded sculptural porcelain.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST SUCCESSFUL PIECE OF WORK AND WHY?
Most successful piece of work. ‘Lost for Words’, Portraying Dementia. A very personal body of work that I undertook to help me come to terms with my mother’s dementia diagnosis.
Because of its nature and its stripping away of language, dementia blocks attempts to describe its internal experience. My work was an attempt to enter the silent darkness and convey the effects of dementia. It was exhibited in London, York and Newcastle, and chosen by Alzheimer’s Research UK to be shown at their National Research Conference.
Meet the Maker!
It is either a World Book Day costume or casting with concrete, either way...pretty scary!
Here I am, frantically trying to create new work for York Open Studios whilst at the same time losing large chunks/whole days organising the York Open Studios Taster Event which will take place on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 April. Plus there's the worry that the government may decide to close schools and colleges in which case I won't have access to a clay or kiln for as long as the closure lasts. But at least I've got the anti-Coronavirus safety clothing sorted!
I've been having a lot of fun projecting colour onto my porcelain wall work. It's amazing how the shadow and folds wave and blur as the colours roll over them. This is a work in progress and I'm looking forward to developing and extending my ideas.
The Art of the Fold - Blue 3x3 has headed off to its new home in Wolverhampton this week. One of my favourites, I loved the North Sea shades. Goodbye beautiful.x
The art& RAW Talent Award is a mentoring programme which nurtures emerging artists by offering support in business development and a subsidised space at the Art&York show. It is open to newly emerging artists anywhere in the UK. I applied for the award last year but my application was too wide ranging in terms of media and message. Instead, I went to Art&York 2019 as an installation artist showing my dementia work.
The Art& RAW Talent Award is something I've dreamed of for a year and a half, so I am thrilled to announce that my 2020 application was successful and that I am one of 12 selected to take part. This means that, this year, I shall be going to Art& in October as an exhibiting artist and I am totally CHUFFED!
Having heard many good things about these two organisations, this week I finally joined the York Art Workers Association (YAWA) and the Northern Potters. Consequently, on Monday, I attended a YAWA event, a talk by Kate Jones from Gillies Jones, makers of exceptional contemporary blown glass. It was such a joy to listen to an expert who was able to share her passion with such vibrancy and eloquence. The mastery of the traditional methods that Gillies and Jones use has led to them gaining an international reputation and their work can be found in public and private collections around the world, including at the V&A. When life calms down I am looking forward to taking a trip up to the village of Rosedale Abbey to the Gillies Jones studio and workshop.
As I prepare for York Open Studios I have begun preparing my signage and am working flat-out in the ceramics and mixed media studios at York College developing a number of colours with a range of shades in pure porcelain. Here are my reds, quietly drying before bisque firing. The true colours will be 'fired up' in the final firing.