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)!
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. .