For some time, my obsession in the emotions one feels when looking at personal items encased in clay has led to presenting articles of clothing and objects, frozen in time, with photographs of their owners, past and present, transferred onto the sculpture. Inspiration for this was going to visit The Petrifying Well at Mother Shipton’s Cave in Knaresborough as a child and seeing teddy bears, shoes and hats suspended under the lime heavy waters that cascaded down from the rocks above and saturated the items turning them slowly to stone. With this in mind, in the studio, results were achieved by immersing clothing either belonging to a loved one or purchased from various charity shops with the imaginary history and associated wearers of the garment taken into consideration, into porcelain casting slip, drying and firing. The original material of the object burnt away and the remaining work, post-firing, was a realistic facsimile of the original item.
Using the same method, I have been working on bedsheets and towels in order to use them as a projection screen, projecting pictures, be they moving or still, the activities of use and the persons who use them onto the surface.
Inspired by Grayson Perry, the work has developed. Having learnt that a great deal of Perry’s work is embedded with inspirations from his life, I have started to look further inward into my life experiences, and friends and family surrounding me, in order to gain inspiration from past negative and physical emotion. Whilst not allowing this to end in a cliché, a secret narrative that can only be guessed at by the viewer is important, allowing a mystery that might be solved but remains tantalizingly out of reach. As a further secret, an object relating to the emotional event is placed inside the vessel pre-firing, so that it becomes part of the physical story of the work.
Further inspiration comes from looking at narrative past and present. From the earliest images discovered in caves, to Roman vessels depicting the hero’s story. The ceramic funerial plaque with the image of the deceased loved one displayed on the grave stone, to the lamppost displaying a heartrending poster of a teenager not seen for months. All bring to mind my experiences on which I can draw from.
Treating the ceramic surface as a canvas, in order to convey a metaphysical visual and emotional message to the viewer through photographic transfer, projection and decalcomania.