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.