artist spotlight

Ray Mallaney – Porcelain Hand Carved 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 mybackground….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. .

Charlotte Storrs – Ceramics

I love being able to create useable objects from lumps of clay. The throwing part is for me the most exciting. Throwing pots on the wheel is magical.

I make functional stoneware. New ideas for work arrive steadily. There are so many items which can be made on the wheel, you just need to look around you at the objects people use on a daily basis. Sometimes family members and friends come up with suggestions, always gratefully received! I will then go to the wheel and try it out, giving my own take on it.

I get inspiration from natural materials and organic food. My pottery is in our beautiful  garden with greenhouse, raised veg beds, away from traffic and noise. It is a very inspiring place to work in. I love to see a table laid with handmade bowls and plates, as opposed to impersonal factorymade items. Food can be so colourful and stands out beautifully against any white or muted glaze. Salad in salad bowls, roasted vegetables in large dishes, soup in white bowls, all a feast for the eye. Organic vegetables in buckets, fruit juices in jugs, pasta in pasta bowls….my whole range is meant to be used.

As I make functional stoneware there is no need to continually come up with new ideas. It can be equally satisfactory to make 50 coffee cups or a one off vase or dish. The thought that someone somewhere will be using what I have created gives me a real buzz.

 

 I joined an evening class in ceramics when I moved from the Netherlands to the UK years ago. I got hooked, but when our children came along I had to give it up. I was working as a music teacher and there were not enough hours in the day to indulge in hobbies. Family came definitely first. When our youngest son left home to go to university I decided to go back to College, became addicted to throwing on the wheel and set up the pottery a few months later.  I have not looked back since. There is a steady flow of orders, either for shops and galleries, or on line. There are times I have to turn orders down when too large as I remain a one man band and do not intend to employ assistants.

 

Being an artist is a very good and important part of my life. I feel totally at home in my pottery and can work well on my own. It is so good for the soul to be creative at any stage in life. I occasionally have Pottery Open Days when I assist people to “have a go” at throwing a pot on the wheel (donations to a third world charity). It is great to see how much enthusiasm there is for these events and how inspired children or adults are when working with clay.


 Being a potter is my 3rdcareer. I briefly worked as a translator, then became a musician (violin and viola), now also a potter.Marketing and selling can be an equally creative process; it is part of being self employed.

 

Any creative job, whether in art, music, theatre, dance is a tough one. But people should follow their hearts and try to make it work. It might mean taking on extra work of a different nature to pay the bills, but so be it.

 

Even though I would love to learn new skills, I do not have enough time as it is! I enjoy all the things I do and would love to have more time to try out different glazes, play chamber music, work in the garden, read, cook, see friends, go for walks etc. I do not feel the need to take on another skill.  My studio space is crucial to my work; it is in an ideal location.

 

Jo Pethybridge – Ceramics

I love working with clay, using both of my hands together. Colour, patterns and nature are also very important to me so to be able to combine all these factors in my art is a great creative driver.

 

I find things that interest me while travelling, walking or in my surroundings, e.g. vineyards, bed mattress springs, pine forests, waves. I take photographs or sketch them. Later I make drawings from them working them into patterns, which I then draw onto my ceramic pieces. These are then painted and glazed.

 

I never regard my pieces as ‘work’ as I get so much pleasure from making them. I have never been tempted to move into probably more lucrative functional pottery as I like to view each piece as an individual one inspired by my latest experiences.

My problem is I have too many ideas and as each piece takes time to complete I have to store some ideas for later. I do often revisit themes to evolve them.

 

While I was working as a therapist and manager being an artist needed to come second, but over the years I have been making ceramics it has become increasingly important to me. Since retiring in 2010 I have been able to concentrate on my art, which has been wonderful. Some of my earliest memories though were of making mud pies in the garden!

 

Art has always been very therapeutic for me, after a hard day at the office it was a great stress buster. It is also very grounding and relaxing.

In my type of ceramics no two pieces are the same, although I do repeat ideas and patterns if I like them but often using different colours.

Because I was working and married I did not need to earn a living from my art, which gave me great freedom in the type of work I was ablre to do. I do find the process of selling and marketing a challenging process. I have enjoyed doing this with other artists in art societies and open house groups.

Art like music I feel will always be present in the world. Art is a good way to express feelings and can be a record of the times.

 

My studio is in the attic ,which has excellent light which is important when making ceramics and plenty of space to store and dry pieces. The only disadvantage is carrying clay stored in the basement up 4 flights of stairs, but it keeps me fit. Painting my pieces can be done anywhere preferably in a comfortable chair with good lighting.

 

 

 

Ruby Orchard – Jewellery

My creative impulse is driven by many things but top of the list would be my baby girls and living in beautiful Cornwall.

I have developed an intuitive style over the years but skill of the hand is important too. I try to add new repertoire but keep to a ‘theme’. My practice is in the main silversmithing but I have reviewed the gemstones I use and find a limited palette to be more effective.

I believe strongly in ‘work ethic’, ideas and inspiration being a part of the whole. Solitary studio practice allows the imagination to wander I find. I am always open to new ways of seeing and doing, never remaining static.

It is important to me to have an ordered studio so if there is a lull of ideas I tend to get on with manual tasks, for instance, forming earring loops, tidying my bench and sorting my gemstones and of course the running of the business.

I was born in Cornwall and have chosen to make my life here. My upbringing was bohemian and mainly influenced by my Mother. Falmouth is an incredibly creative town, full of artists and musicians. Freedom of expression was encouraged and although I tried other ways of being I feel that this is what I am meant to be doing…for the rest of my life, learning as I go.

Running my own business means that I can work from home and combine my role as a new mother to twin girls with my role as an artist/practitioner. Finding a balance is tricky at times but I find organisation is the key, keeping to strict working hours (with the help of a nanny).

Although I was born in Cornwall, I also have French and Irish ancestry. As my work tends to be Celtic in look and feel, maybe this family history has some bearing?

 

Yes, I do see commissions as a positive thing and would love to do more bespoke commission work. My style is forever evolving, never static but I do tend to work in ranges, e.g. drop earrings, bangles, talisman nugget charms and gemstone beading. I find that there is major satisfaction in liaising with clients to realise a design that they have in mind.

I am efficient in my marketing strategies and consistent in my management of my business. I actually enjoy the admin side of things and find that keeping order helps my creative flow.

 

If money were no object I imagine that I would venture into experimentation with gold, platinum and top end gemstones…which I plan to do!

 

Recession always hits the luxury goods market but jewellery is perhaps less affected than other arts and crafts items. I think that we are over the worst now and am optimistic about  my continuing future practice

 

My main wish is that I remain healthy and physically able to continue in practice for many years to come. Bench work is more strenuous than people imagine so a healthy body is imperative. I wish to continue enhancing people’s lives in some small way, jewellery being my chosen path.

 

Organisation and effective time management are imperative to my practice. I am in the process of setting up a new purpose built studio, warmth and light being high on my list of priorities.

 

 

 

Sarah Devonald – Jewellery

Ideas that just arrive in my mind as I try to sleep, or sitting on a train, or reading a book, or looking at paintings, or listening to music sustain my creativity. Playing with colour and shape. Experimenting with forms and textures.

Precious metals are great for contrasting smooth, neatly finished surfaces, with organic, more chaotic pattern. I take photos of interesting natural texture such as frost patterns on glass, or the froth of seawater on flat sand. I then experiment with achieving similar textures in metal and enamel, often through a process of trial and error. I also love to play with the juxtaposition of colours – think of jellybeans in a jar, or a well-stocked wool shop.

The key for me is melding inspiration and work. The urge to work with my hands in order to create something tangible sometimes kick-starts the creative process, while at other times the image of a moth, a leaf or a sunset might suggest a particular ingredient for a piece of jewellery. Once the process is going it can be hard work until about half-way through a creation, after which the brain coasts more and the hands completely take over, in order to make sure the piece is as perfect as originally envisaged. Some things change along the way though, as I have to sort out the mechanics of the piece, so that it can be worn.

I’m also a musician, teacher and radio producer, so there are always lots of other things going on in my life. Sometimes the structure of a piece of music I’m playing suggests a structure of a piece of jewellery. I scribble an idea or a sketch down and when I’m in my workshop try and make sense of it! Playing with colour and texture is also a great way of getting over those ‘blank sheet of paper’ moments.

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to make things, whether with paper, fabric, wool, audio, or music. I suppose I had 3D training in making Airfix kits and model houses from the age of about 8 and as a music student knitted countless customized jumpers for people in exchange for all sorts of things. It felt very natural to eventually become a mature student at the Sir John Cass College of Art and satisfy the ‘making’ need.

After the difficult ‘working towards’ moments of inspiration that ebb and flow, and sometimes frustratingly disappear, it’s fantastic to be actually making something you hope is going to look pleasing – the processes of filing, enamelling, sanding, polishing, making intricate links are completely absorbing. Following an idea through to a finished object is one that I recognize in all sorts of other things that I do – from cooking to planning a concert.

I used to make all my own oboe reeds to play on – a tedious and demanding business. But now I buy them from other makers and modify them, preferring to spend ‘making’ time on jewellery. Especially as only about 1 in 5 finished reeds turns out to be worth playing on…

 

I’ve gradually evolved a style over time, but every piece is individual and a one-off, as colour and pattern in enamelling and etching vary slightly with each piece. I have worked with clients on commissions in the past, which has been interesting, as their ideas sometimes lead me into new areas of style and design.

I try not to let the costs affect the way I work, but clearly there’s a big outlay on materials when making precious metal jewellery, so I sometimes tailor my designs accordingly – especially as gold and silver prices have been very high in recent years.

 

People always have a need for something beautiful or imaginative or unique in their lives (whether they realize it or not I think) so artists will keep creating, and hoping that others will enjoy what they create.

I learnt some basic hand-engraving techniques at art college, but wasn’t great at it. The most difficult thing is keeping your graver really sharp (and not gouging chunks out of your hands). I’d like to be more skilled at this, for engraving pieces to be enamelled.

I’m lucky to have a small studio space, with an enamelling kiln and just about everything else I need to make jewellery. It’s a challenge to keep it tidy as I work – like keeping on top of washing up as you cook. If I don’t keep putting things away I end up with tools everywhere, which is when a jump-ring or a catch I’ve just spent hours making will disappear, and I have to spend more time looking for it…

 

 

Ann Bubis – Painter

Having had 11 solo and many joint exhibitions in London over the past 20 years, I have developed a good reputation as an artist and a keen eye for understanding my clients’ needs. I have displayed one of my sculptures in the foyer of the V&A and before that I was an animator and won many awards for my work, culminating in 2 golds at the New York Film Festival.

I am passionate about my work and when I am preparing for an exhibition I have a trance like obsession about my subject and can work for days on end with little care for sleep or rest, I am in my element. To get back into the real world, I teach and some of my pupils have been extremely successful having repeatedly achieved the best results in the country. My passion and love for the creative image is generously passed onto many generations of students. It’s difficult finding the balance of my own work and working for others and so like a pendulum my life falls into different creative directions. At the moment I am on the cusp of leaping back into my own creative world, as I am giving up teaching in schools, allowing myself to commit to my own indulgences.

I am fascinated by nature and am now enamoured by the beauty of plant life. I start a painting with stark realism and thorough observational research, sometimes I have the plant in front of me and other times I use my own photography as my starting point. Some of the images are close-ups that are enlarged tenfold until they become an abstract image of natural form through unusual compositions. I try to create a lyrical beauty within these paintings, a luminosity enhanced by colour. I create an outer image of inward things. Enlarged to five foot images and then to the other extreme; the tiniest of paintings. So for the viewer the image therefore becomes distorted, they would have an experience of nature in detail, colour, pattern and form. I always challenge myself to continue to develop new concepts, experiment with new formats. Colour and composition is the key to my work and I however much I learn through my practice they is so much more to discover.

To prepare for an exhibition it takes sometimes more than a year and so I therefore create another world for myself by also concentrating on three dimensional form. I am at my best when I have the two parallel creative adventures running together as they counter act each other, the beautiful world of reality and the limitless abstract form.

I also create vibrant coloured papier mache sculptures using beautiful manmade objects discarded by our society. The sculptures are made using the Mexican papier mache techniques, I have been taught by the Leonaris family. I am interested in creating an interpretation of the natural world juxtaposing and metamorphosing with the manmade objects. Celebrating its beauty, the texture, form and meeting points of different angles that curve in various harmonies of light, shadow and luminous rich colours.

 

I take on commissions and can produce any required size plant life etc; I also do portraiture which you will see on the website. If you find me any work I will pay the percentage to you.

With regard my studio space I have a large room in my house at the moment. I am not interested in natural light as it changes all the time so I remove all natural light and have very strong light as I need it to be consistent as colour changes as light reflects of it. I also work with interference colours and my actual light source is very important to me.

July I have decided I shall stop teaching in schools. I shall then look for a new studio space, large room with basin and the windows will be blocked by curtains or blinds. So if you hear of a space let me know.

 

I am also passionate about music and listen all the time to classical music when I work, or if I feel too isolated from the world I listen to radio 4. At times being an artist I can become too lost in my creativity and forget there is a world out there. That is why I have taught in schools etc to keep me grounded in the real world. But now I do not care and all I want to do is create.

 

Selling my work makes me happy as I am not interested in keeping my work. My work is like a past thought a creative moment that passes. I have already moved on to my next creative moment and totally absorbed into that.

 

The future for the artist is a hard and interesting question:

Having taught so many interesting young people to be in the creative world, I love seeing what they do how they go on developing. I am very excited for them. One of my students is on the team for designing clothes for Lady Gaga. I have many who are in the creative world.

Gillian Wearing worked for me when I had my animation studio for 3 to 4 years when she was very young and she has now won the Turner prize I am so happy for her. Daniel Greaves who also worked for me in my studio got an Oscar for animation.

The awards though mean little to me I won many gold’s and prizes at many festivals when I was an animator  but I was on the next exciting production and was annoyed that I had to travel to get the award, however much they wine and dine us. On the other hand without these awards we would not get work so I do also have a practical and business approach to my work.

 

My wish is to create forever and not to be disrupted by the day to day life. I live for my passions the creative world and get frustrated by the daily toil of travelling in London, it is time wasting. Paper work or should I say computer work with its endless requests of irrelevant questions should be removed from the world. This is what frustrates me when I teach the endless irrelevant paper work that takes up so much time that is nothing to do with teaching the child. The obsession of having to prove that you are a brilliant teacher and not the final outcome. I am a good teacher where my pupils always gain high marks A*’s and I have taught children who got the best results in the country several times. So now I leave that mad world where they do not give enough time to teach the child properly. Sorry you got me started! I am beginning to hate the schools now as they are removing more and more the arts from the curriculum and demand that the children learn English, Maths and Science more and more. So I am very worried we will only have art for the elitists, those who could afford private lessons. So I am out of that rat race, as proper rounded education is no longer the priority by the government and the schools.

 

Jamie Louise McIntosh – Ceramics

I am driven by curiosity and colour. Experimentation and the unknown are key to my work. Which I think is quite handy considering ceramics can be extremely unpredictable, you are never certain that what you put in the kiln will emerge intact or in pieces or if the colour will be what you planned. But I have always enjoyed surprises so I tend not to mind.

I develop through making, I find getting stuck into an idea and trying it out is the most advantageous way for me to develop, maybe with a few doodles along the way. I also find that writing everything down like processes and ideas can help.

Inspiration for me is what drives an idea, although it is work that your making, its the being inspired that keeps you pushing through with an idea, especially when, at points, it isn’t going your way.

Ideas come to me at the oddest moments, there are some that I will never be able to pin point when they came to mind. I try to keep track of them all so that if there’s nothing new at all in my head usually there’s an idea somewhere that I can work on. However I find that if I keep calm and don’t become consumed with generating ideas, they usually come easier than if I get stressed and over think it all.

During High school I was set on going to art school in either Glasgow or Edinburgh. It wasn’t until after visiting the open days at both these art schools that I felt uncomfortable in the buildings and decided not to apply. Instead I began a course at Glasgow Caledonian University doing Psychology, however I knew the day I stepped foot in the door that I was going to hate it. I stuck it out for a year but decided in the summer of 2009 that I wasn’t going back and I wanted to be an artist after all. Gray’s school of Art in Aberdeen stood out to me as they had a general first year course and they were willing to give me an interview despite my late application and when I went up for the very first time I knew that was where I wanted to be. I’m a big believer on going with your gut instinct and thats what I’ve done since then. I never thought I’d have seen myself as a ceramicist, I was never a very patient person but it was the best decision I made and I believe that not going to Glasgow or Edinburgh was the right path because Gray’s school of art is the only art school in Scotland to still have a ceramics department as part of the 3D design course so I definitely think it was meant to be.

Being an artist is part of my life, I make time for it like I do anything else. But I don’t let it take over, I could very easily get carried away in my studio and let days pass but I want to ensure I have a life with my boyfriend, family and friends. They have all supported me through my journey at art school and now as a new artist, so I’d like to make sure they have an as important place in my life as much as being an artist has.

I love colour, despite working with predominantly white pieces just now I love exploring how colour can alter ceramic works. Experimentation with glazes is a major part of my day to day work in my studio and I’m always trying out a new variation of a glaze to get the best colour.

I think it is nice to create one off pieces as you and the person who commissioned it know there is only one out there. However I believe that unless your a mass producing company no 2 pieces will be entirely the same. For me my work is repeated but every piece is different as the tools I use don’t allow for repeating the same texture and design twice, because I embrace the little bits that fall off none of my pieces are exactly the same.

As I’m a new graduate I’m only just beginning to understand the difficulties of being an artist, both financially and artistically. I try to take on as many opportunities as I can, however I do need to work in another job that I can live off of. If money was no object I don’t think the style of my work would change but I would take on more work and be able to have all the facilities I needed to go ahead with different or larger scale ideas.

I think there will always be a place for artists, people will and have always enjoy art and craft and work that they know is made with true passion and enjoyment. Its just a matter of money, but I’m optimistic that artists will always have a place, we might just have to work a little harder to get noticed.

I don’t think my one wish would be to be rich and famous (although that would be nice). Maybe this is because I’m only new to the world of being an artist but my hearts desire would be to not give up. I want to be able to see this through and make something
out of it, take my skills further and become excellent at what I do.

If I could learn one new skill, it would be glass. I tried it out a few times at art school but myself and glass never got on, never the less I would like to keep trying it and see if I’m any good at it.

I like to have back ground noise and light when I’m working. I don’t mind a messy environment when I’m working as long as its cleared up for me starting again. The only downside is the sink is in a different room and when your working with clay and plaster and other messy materials its a little bit of a nuisance, but its not the end of the world.

 

Katalin Szallas – Ceramics

I enjoy all types of art but came to realise I am a 3D artist. I love working with clay. I love the material, its flexibility and how easily it can be manipulated. I watched potters as a child and was always fascinated by the way they controlled a lump of clay on the wheel.  I also found other potters’/artists’ works very inspiring. I like flicking through art books from time to time just to remind myself that an artist can reinterpret an old idea and produce a new and exciting piece of work.  Sometimes I just play with the clay; experimenting brings new ideas.  Inspiration is important but so is work. It’s only through work and experimentation that I can learn the skills that allow me to follow my inspirations.

Quite often I feel frustrated because I find that I can’t keep up with the ideas I have in my mind. I want to explore every aspect of the idea but there’s never enough time. Sometimes there does come a point when it suddenly all becomes very boring and I have to stand back, have a break and a look at my works with a fresh eye. I always liked drawing and I enjoyed art lessons at school and went to study art at college so I guess it has always been there.  It just took time to find the right medium.

Partly because I also do small scale production throwing, I believe it’s important to have the technical ability to repeat works. However, with most of my work I don’t really make the distinction though clearly some are more generic than others. I always try and improve on things I’ve made before so I still see them as one offs.  I don’t like selling my work because I’m not a good salesman and I find the process a bit depressing, though I do find the idea that someone appreciates my work enough to want to buy it very rewarding.

Being a craftsman, I’m not very optimistic. I think our generation is very spoilt with mass-production. Most people don’t realise how much work, effort and cost are involved in art and handmade products.  I’d like to be able to keep producing my work without worrying about finances and selling them.  I would love to try sculpture with metal and stone.

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Neil Hardy – Automata

Automata is one of the few crafts that has not originated from a practical need, like pottery or glass. Its purpose has always been to fascinate, intrigue and more recently give a sense of fun and whimsy.  I have tried to make pieces that basically make you feel happy to own, that do not take themselves too seriously, and do not require great aesthetic taste to appreciate. They should have no practical value apart from making you smile. They are like a film cartoon, something that takes skill and considerable time to make but with the sole purpose of amusing you.  I like the idea that something that often takes weeks to design and make for the first time is ultimately something so silly and pointless. With this in mind I like to show all the intricacies of the mechanics, the way in which it is put together and that there are no short cuts using motors, electronics or specialised materials. You turn a handle and things happen. You can see how each movement is created individually but the end result should be slightly magical, unexpected and whimsical.


New ideas come slowly for me and it is a question of sitting down with sheets of paper and just doodling until something comes along.  I have to take time to sit down and really concentrate on finding new ideas. It is probably the hardest thing I have to do and is just plain hard work.  As all my work is with animals, I often look through animal books and videos of their movements to look for ideas. The mechanical side too is as important and has to be considered along side the initial idea, and only when both come together can the work proceed.   Inspiration is important and can come from anywhere. A new work might come from a joke, a particular animal’s look, or an interesting mechanism. It’s important to have the inspiration to start the work. The actual realisation of the piece though takes many hours of sorting out the practical problems of designing the mechanism, finding a simple method to make the piece and making sure it’s fairly foolproof when the handle is turned by others.  

I worked as an architect for many years before stumbling on automata and felt this was something I could do better. I have always made things from an early age and gone through a few crafts before finding automata suited my talents in particular. In the past I have made and sold pottery, stained glass, and water colour painting.  I would really consider myself a maker rather than an artist. My work is as much about how a thing looks as about how it is made. Automata is a complicated craft as and has to actually ‘work’ rather than just look good. I am never too sure about whether any of the things I have done are artistically good, but I do know my automata works! I think that’s why I found this craft suited me best as it is not quite as subjective as many arts.

Most of my work is repeated as it is the only way to keep the costs down. It would be totally unreasonable to try to sell just one of pieces as the time taken to develop each piece is far longer than making a piece that is tried and tested. Having said that I believe repeating pieces does perfect them too. They very slowly evolve, become more precise, work more smoothly, and become less cluttered. My work is better after I have made it a hundred times or so!  I have never really marketed my work that much. Fortunately galleries have come to me through word of mouth generally. If I did not rely on the money to make a living I would like to make larger more complex pieces for museums.  But even so, in a world of high tech machines and gadgets there is still a wonder for the hand made piece. In fact I think the more stuff that is factory mass produced the more desire there is for the hand made.  It does though become relatively more expensive as the mass produced products become cheaper.

My wish would be to produce a few great pieces that were seen as the pinnacle of automata making. Also, there are so many new materials out there now that I have no real knowledge about. Skill in plastics and resin would be interesting I think.  I work from home in the basement to my house with a window looking out my garden. My cat comes and sits on the window ledge sometimes and life seems good.
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Carmela Kantorowicz – Ceramics

    Making ceramics is a very challenging disapline.  There is always something new to discover, a new technique, different materials.  There is always a challenge and I never tire of it. This sustains my creativity and drives me as an artist.

I usually start from a technique.  You have to understand the constraints involved and work within those.  From experience you discover what works and what doesn’t, what forms the materials will allow you to make, and what effects you can achieve.    I usually have a picture in mind of the end result, but getting there can often take a lot of time and effort.

It doesn’t happen often that I have a lull in the flow of ideas, I have more ideas than I have time to realise them.  If I’m really stuck, I just make something I have done before and often discover something new in the process, or find a way of improving it. One idea flows from another.

I’ve always enjoyed making things.  From a young age at home we were always knitting, sewing, embroidering, cooking, baking etc.  I enjoyed art and pottery at school, but because I was very academic and went to a grammar school, it didn’t seem the best path for me.  However, now I realise if I had understood myself better I would have been much happier if I had been able to take art and craft more seriously.  It took a long time before I had the opportunity to really learn about ceramics and spend time making.  These days  I’m always thinking about ceramics, but having a family makes it difficult to find as much time as I would like to devote to it.  There are a lot of distractions.  I also never seem to have enough space, and because certain processes need to be done outside, my work is very weather dependent.  In the winter it’s too cold to make very much.  I would love a beautiful big studio with everything I need.

I think that it’s always difficult from a commercial and financial point of view for artists, but I believe they do what they do because it fulfils a need in them to create and to express themselves.   I enjoy doing commissions  as long as they fit in with the existing body of work.  A lot of people ask for things not understanding the limits of the way I work.  It is very hard to repeat pieces exactly, especially with raku, as the final outcome is mostly out of your control.   I find selling and marketing detracts from the time spent making.  I like to make things that I find interesting and enjoy myself.  If I try only to please other people, I find it doesn’t work for me.  I do my best work making pieces I love and if other people love them too that’s great.   I find it quite hard to promote myself and my work.  It might not appear so, but I’m quite shy and don’t like a lot of attention.

I would like my work to speak for itself.