Monthly Archives: February 2013

Artist Spotlight – Ray Mallaney: Carved Porcelain Lamps











In order to sustain my creativity I find I need to have time to think.  My recent much looked forward to retirement from teaching means I can devote myself to my own work. I had a years sabbatical from teaching 4 years ago and it was a fantastic period where I experimented with porcelain and new ideas, where for the first time in years I could ‘play’ and afford (timewise) to make mistakes. When you teach even part-time, your ‘making-time’ is precious you don’t want to waste it on failures (or at least I don’t)!

I am a bit of a manic sketch book person, I work things out in 2D and do research etc. I like working in a sketchbook.

In terms of subject matter for my work, I have always tended to work in themes; shoes, wings/flight, Tarot…I don’t know what I’m doing at the moment…whether working in porcelain is the theme or the fact that I seem to be looking a lot at architecture. I do know I’m like a miner I dig away at something until I feel bored by it, then I know it is time to examine another theme.

At the moment I am still excited by what happens when you switch my porcelain pieces on…the way light changes them…so for the time being I will continue. To be honest I distrust ‘inspiration’….but I do go with intuition!  If I get really stuck I go to the Victoria and Albert…there is so much stuff of such brilliance there it pushes me out of the lull, or I make something I think I would like.

From my background….oldish very working class parents, secondary modern school…art was something done by posh people, the likes of us got jobs and did art for a hobby. I did that for 2 years and then hated it so much, my evening class sculpture teacher said I was good enough to try for art school. So I did….Wimbledon Foundation, degree at Middlesex.

I have done commissions, but only based on what I do (I made a double piece for Schroeder’s Bank in London, but it was something I was keen on anyway).  I did a garden fountain, years ago which was really hard work, and they changed the deadline date so I had to rush…it was a COMPLETE disaster…I didn’t take any money…in the end they gave me a case of wine! I needed it!

In terms of repeating work…NO it is always even SLIGHTLY different otherwise what’s the point…I’m not a machine…..besides which if I try to make something EXACTLY the same it never goes right, the best thing to do is aim for a ‘recreation’

I like selling, and would like to charge more but will have to build up to that.  The deal I made when I left art school 30 odd years ago was that I would not live from my work, but from selling my labour: initially shop work, then technician work, finally teaching, that way I was free to make what I wanted and would not have to throw 200 Mugs a week. Consequently I can price my work at what I am prepared to let it go for rather than what it might be worth in times of materials and labour OR what I think it is worth.

The future for artists is tough- depressions are always tough (I’ve been through a couple!!), b
ut it does sort the wheat from the chaff.  However people need art….or at least decorative art to grace their homes.  I have been lucky, (so I’ve just touched wood), but more of the same would be my desire. Not to teach would be good BUT even that has its rewards and is fun, so I guess a bit more time on my own work and not to worry about money in the future.

In terms of my work my ambition is to produce stuff which people want to buy 2 days before I die would be good!

I’ve always been drawn to stained glass, but have NO skill in making (designing is a different matter) I think you need to like jigsaws! So I would like to be able to have the patience to MAKE stained glass windows…..something where you just DO it you don’t need to fire it (with all the disasters that can entail)

Environment is important to me ….I mean I can do 2D work anywhere, but to make and fire clay you need a workshop. You can’t do it in the kitchen. But thinking I can do anywhere…I don’t need to lock myself in a separate room.