My style is best described as expressive gestural form and responsive mark making. This freedom of expression is underpinned by considered elements of design, the core intention having always remained constant regardless of material, method or outcome, this being to achieve a palpable tension of opposites that is affecting on many levels. I love the permanence and richness of surface that is uniquely associated with the ongoing history of Ceramics. and continue to remain obsessed by the tactile process of clay and the excitement of possibility that comes with using heat works in conjunction with multiple chemical formulas. I am still immersed in enquiry and discovery after 20 years of intense practice, nowhere near saturation point.
I also remain conscious of the fact that throughout history/prehistory pottery has carried the potential for expressive visual surface on a multitude of form, the complexity of which delves beneath transient fashion.
My work is multi fired and multi layered, using a combination of clays, reactive / inactive porcelain slips, fritted slips, my own glaze formula’s and commercial low fire glazes and lustre’s. The clay is cut, torn, layered, pummeled, slumped and joined, the surface obscured and revealed semi-randomly in my own freehand format, manipulation and distortion to the fore. The ‘marks’ are not meant to be literal interpretation, and are perhaps best described as organic abstract in notion and intent. My surfaces are now more to do with colour, line and space, although still always underpinned by the emotive feeling ranging from utmost despair to joyous elation, depending on my mood.
The preparation of form and surface is surprisingly arduous considering that simplicity is the goal. Always prone to excess, I manipulate to the point of collapse and then rebuild adding more and more surface detail with each firing, a complex and forever challenging process, yet one that I shall never tire of. I use a white porcelain/dense black and coloured ground slip which is poured or more often brushed on when the form is leather hard, to achieve a luminous/saturated canvas on which to place my chosen palette of colour. Large brushes loaded with corresponding; sometimes clashing coloured slips are then dragged across the base coat in random stripes and circles. I then flick, splash and draw through these layers, quick line drawings that expose and respond to what lies beneath and goes before. Reactive, vitreous slips, additional oxides and pigments are then applied, wiped through and overlaid with intense colour pigments before bisque firing to 1000’c. As a general rule I gloss glaze the interior to encourage usage. The exterior surface is purposely contrasted between matte/gloss adding to the tactile sense. I then place, in selected areas, bright, often gaudy high gloss colour. I fire again to 1120’c – 1200’c, the final firing being taken to 747’c, for the precious metals and lustre’s that are used to highlight ‘handles’ and to detail selected focal points.
I continue to freehand etch my ‘Styles’ signature into the clay body as seen in: –
‘British Studio Potters’ Marks’, Eric Yates-Owen and Robert Fournier Published by A&C Black Limited. 1996 – Ongoing