Texture and a close connection to the physical land of its origin are important elements of my work. I use combinations of hand building and throwing with slips, glazes and firing techniques to achieve this.
My work is influenced by the powerful landscape of the Isle of Skye where I have lived for 18 years. The views are immense; there is a sense of being immersed in landscape with little middle ground to focus on between the hills and the close up detail; jewel-like colours of mosses and lichens, the absolute darkness of a peat bank. These elements, of monumental mass and close detail, which texture my work are strengthened and informed by living here.
The inherent textures of clay as it is stretched and pushed reflect the textures in the hills - where the surfaces change by forces of climate and human intervention, but the substance remains constant and immutable. We scratch the land by our presence here and traces of the past are drawn all over the landscape, as monuments to the communities who worked the land.
My work has developed in response to a feeling of connection with past inhabitants as I walk old, eroding paths and tracks. I want to combine visual and physical elements of the landscape with the innately human need for containers and vessels. It is what makes me a potter rather than a sculptor. Sometimes this takes a functional form, a jar or a bowl passed from hand to hand, sometimes it is pebble-like, to be held.
Many of my pieces are raku fired for the monochrome hues and natural textures. I love knowing what is happening at the molecular level as I pull a pot from the raku kiln at 1000°C, submerge it in sawdust, watch the flames dance briefly across its surface and wait to see how the pale clay has turned dusky black as a result of the reduction atmosphere.
In recent years I have been firing work to higher temperatures than with raku, specifically using wood to fuel the kiln. At stoneware the ceramic becomes harder and more rock like and ash from the combustion of wood combines with the clay as a natural glaze. The weather influences and directs the firing as the kiln site is exposed to the prevailing winds. This labour intensive method of firing gives the work a strong physical connection to the place of its origin. It is also an extraordinary experience spending 15 to 18 hours alone and stoking the kiln, peaceful and exhilarating at the same time. I have also been firing an anagama kiln, at Higham Hall in Cumbria, with a team of like minded potters a couple of times a year. These firings are often 60 hours of continual stoking, and give their own
unique results.Wood firing enhances and develops the ceramic surfaces through the process of firing and is enabling me to be more experimental with materials and techniques. Minerals gleaned from the land find their way into the clay, slips and glazes. The process is bringing me back to the fundamentals of the ceramics - clay, hands and fire.
Hand built and thrown, raku fired earthenware and wood fired stoneware.
Mostly decorative with forays into functional.
Availability of Work:
Inchmore gallery, Inverness,www.inchmoregallery.co.uk
Bircham Gallery, Norfolk www.birchamgallery.co.uk
Just Art, Fochabers,www.justart.co.uk
Papa Stour, Online Gallery: www.papastour.com
Gallery Heinzel, Aberdeen www.galleryheinzel.com
Claremont Gallery, Aberdeen www.claremontgallery.co.uk
Edinburgh Contemporary Crafts www.cabinetedinburgh.co.uk
Specialises in naked raku and fast fire wood firing with some soda (about 18 hours).
- Studied at Central School of Art, London.
- Has lived & worked on Skye since 1995 showing work mainly in Scotland.
- In 2011 was selected to represent Scotland at Philadelphia Museum of Art craft Show in their guest country program.
- In 2013 work will be at SOFA Chicago represented by Craft Scotland
2013 SOFA Chicago, represented by Craft Scotland
2011 Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, selected for Scotland in the guest country programme.
2010 An Talla Solais, Ullapool, selected ceramics show.
2009 Inchmore gallery, new work from the wood kiln
2007/8 Analach Inspirational, selected showcase of highland makers at the Scottish Parliament
2006 solo exhibition, An Tuireann Arts Centre