I’ve felt a little in a rut with my style lately. Because of that I’ve been getting lazy, cutting corners, not really caring too much about the finish on my pieces. I’m so glad I have a tough mentor who absolutely won’t let me get away with that, but it doesn’t stop me stamping my feet like a toddler on occasion…
It’s hard to feel motivated to do well with a piece you’re not loving.
But instead of letting myself get bored, I decided to change things up.
I want my work to be even more evocative, provocative, odd, jarring, colourful, and edgy. I want to capture some of my own aggressive attitude towards living freely in my art rather than creating just novelty.
So, I’m excited to share the results of allowing myself more creative freedom – the chance to push against a few expectations and stop just making cute art.
These are experiments, and maquettes (although they are for sale in Etsy) but I’m already in love with their boldness.
Blood on the Moon
To consider this piece along with its name should make the inspiration fairly clear. To use the word ‘moon’ along with female figurines is evocative of paganistic mimetic ritual and the deification of this bodily form. But with this deification comes a degree of alienation from the very real human experiences we have as women in the era of developing/late capitalism.
‘Deification’ these days comes in the form of sexist idealisation, to the point where our own acceptance and love of our ‘unusual’ selves can only be viewed as understandable by the rest of society if we agree to recreate these conditions. And so our experiences as ‘other’ can only be understood or communicated about through the framework that marks us out as such. We don’t yet have a way to express our atypical nature that doesn’t rely on the structures given to us by a broken system, and that doubles the pain of knowing that we are actively excluded by it when we don’t fit the ideal.
Making this figure was a journey into using glazes in a very expressive way. I tried to capture the liquidity of one glaze melting on top of another.
The colours used and emotions evoked by were simply inspired by my desire to show others what it’s like to live in a body you’re constantly battling to love.
Artistic inspiration was drawn from contemporary ceramicists who are using glaze and structure in ways that break with the norm and add a modernist element to ceramic practice.
Magic of the Protea
This is a maquette (smaller scale sculpture) of a much bigger piece that I’m currently working on.
I think often of fynbos, which in South Africa is a blanket term for fire-adapted plants found growing wild all over the veldt. The incredible thing about these plants, of which the protea is one, is that in order to grow to their best it needs to be burned systematically so that they aren’t overgrown by other plants. You won’t find fynbos plants of an age over 20 years.
In a place as hot as South Africa this often happens without human intervention being necessary, but a similar thing that happens in the UK is the deliberate burning of heather.
Through fire the dormant seeds germinate, and the plants thrive in inhospitable soils.
Coupling that story with my own of survival and growth evokes a very intense sense of strength for me. The noticeably patchy jewel tones of the body and the bleeding of colours from the body into the flower and vice-versa are a sign of how we can grow even through trauma – our futures may be marked by our past but that makes them no less beautiful.