Exploring: Cass Sculpture Foundation

After more than two years of waiting, I finally got the chance to visit the Cass sculpture park, and it didn’t disappoint. The park closes for the winter at the end of the month, so if you’re interested get it in the diary soon!

My favourite pieces by miles were the two works by Bernar Venet, fantastic forms and details from every angle, intellectually interesting and physically/materially rewarding.

I’ve long wanted to be able to make ceramics pieces big enough that you could get right inside of. Working in stone rather than clay Jon Isherwood offers a taste of how that might be.

Two other works that stood out for me perhaps blur the boundaries of what a sculpture can be. ‘Poem in lights to scattered in the square mile’ by Robert Montgomery and ‘Picnic grove’ by David Brooks.

In other cases, the work as whole didn’t speak to me, but specific details did appeal… these included works by Lynn Chadwick, Peter Hide, Keir Smith, David Annersely, Bruce Gernand, Tania Kovats and Thomas Kiesewetter.

Exhibition: Watts Ceramics 2019

Anyone still hankering after my thrown work may like to take a trip to Surrey for this group show as a selection of my tableware and servingware pieces will be featured.

Watts Ceramics 2019
7 September - 20 October
Watts Contemporary Gallery
Free admission | All works for sale

“ For the first time, Watts Contemporary Gallery will present a group ceramics show, bringing together work by nine leading contemporary artists to demonstrate the diversity of contemporary practice and to celebrate the long tradition of pottery at Watts Gallery – Artists' Village.

Featured ceramicists include Julie Ayton, Sophie MacCarthy, Penny Green and Felicity Jones.

Inspired by the legacy of ceramic artist Mary Watts (1849 – 1938), the artists in this exhibition are all women. Mary Watts was the co-founder of Watts Gallery - Artists' Village, teaching clay modelling to local villagers and subsequently helping them to establish a pottery co-operative that provided employment in the village for over 50 years. Between 1900 and 1956 the Compton Pottery flourished, selling at Liberty & Co and receiving commissions from the most eminent architects including Lutyens and Clough Williams-Ellis, for his Italianate village, Portmeirion.

Significantly, the exhibition takes place in one of the original Compton Pottery buildings, remodelled as part of the restoration of Watts Gallery – Artists' Village to provide a gallery space in which the charity can show and sell work associated with the ethos of the Artists' Village. Proceeds from Watts Contemporary exhibitions directly benefits Watts Gallery Trust's Art for All learning programme.

Work selected for this exhibition – which includes terracotta, stoneware, earthenware and porcelain – will show how leading contemporary makers are exploring new techniques and pushing artistic boundaries whilst acknowledging the influence of the past.

Studio potter Julie Ayton makes exquisite stoneware and porcelain pieces and, in a career spanning 25 years, has exhibited widely across the UK; as the daughter of renowned potter Clive Bowen, Helena Bowen always had clay 'at hand'. Inspired by a love of horses, Helena creates carefully modelled ceramic horses; Lucy Burley draws inspiration from the still-life paintings of Giorgio Morandi and from nature's palette to create her elegant sculptural vessels; Penny Green's detailed ceramic figures and objects include references to the past, including medieval illustrations and Elizabethan miniatures; Felicity Jones decorates her fine porcelain and white earthenware pieces with plants she collects while out walking with her dogs, adding underglaze to create a beautiful watercolour effect; award-winning Silvia Komodyova makes tableware and terracotta vessels inspired by the folk traditions and artefacts of her native Slovakia, tapping into the idea of social history to create modern interpretations of traditional designs; in the course of her 40 year career, Myra McDonnell has collaborated with illustrious clients including Raymond Blanc, Soho House and Watts Gallery. Myra's tin-glazed pottery has been exhibited internationally and for this exhibition Myra will be showing highly decorative platters and bowls; Sophie MacCarthy's slip-painted earthenware is widely admired for its distinctive imagery and bold, joyous colour, and Stephanie Robinson takes inspiration from the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and from the Arts & Crafts movement to create elegantly patterned work inspired by nature, and Jane Sarre will present her tactile serving and table-ware, inspired by family tradition. “

Cream of Coastal Currents 2019

I’ll be showing solo here in my studio this year so there will be plenty of space to spread and show you lots of new work. There will also be older pieces and seconds at bargain prices as well as demonstrations of work in progress.

Here’s my pick of the rest of the programme for this year…

Eshibitions & events


Open studios


Working title: Dynamics series

I’m unveiling some very new pieces this weekend as part of South East Open Studios

As part of the displaying process I’ve been having to think about names and stories. These works are now called as follows

Top L-R; Interlock, Flange, Weight | lift

Bottom L-R; Opening | closed, Catch

As with all my recent work they are place based, still working from my time at Dungeness for the moment although I suspect this series will go on to explore other areas.

My original photographs and drawings and memories are abstracted through a process of workings on paper; cut outs, collage, layering, and tape drawings etc.

At root, the works are inspired by my fascination with angles, proportions and chance compositions, particularly arising from utilitarian architecture such as industrial and military structures and are intended to evoke certain feelings and relationships recalled from the embodied experience of the site. This is what I am aiming to draw out in the names.

All I need now is a name for the series - perhaps Dynamics…

Works on paper: Cutting and sticking

As part of the process of developing my newest series of works I have been starting to work more on paper. In the past paper had always seemed rather too flat, but a chance reminder of the pleasures of collage got the ball rolling and a comment by Jane Ponsford about the ‘thinginess’ of paper cemented the deal. It’s proved to be an interesting way of digesting and reconstructing forms and generating new possibilities…

Initial work preparing papers and free-hand cutting of forms for collage, but then the colours were too dominant and I preferred the happenstance marks on the back and the resultant cut-outs that I then layered up and used tape to ‘draw’ out new constructed images.

South East Open Studios (SEOS) 2019

My next event will be SEOS - starting very soon on June 8th. There’s lots to do in the studio to get everything ready for you. It’s a huge programme so before it starts I thought I’d share some details of the exhibitors that particularly caught my eye.

Showing with me in my studio is Annabel Faraday (venue no 128)

annabel faraday.jpg

Fellow Clay Culture Trail members Anna Thomson (no. 131), Kate Schuricht (168) and Wendy Love Hinds (95) can be found in Ninfield, Tenterden and Goudhurst respectively.

In the Hastings area:

Ali Stump (108, Benenden), Brenda Hartill (123, Udimore), Tim Riddihough (124, Pett Level), Liesha Yaz (138, Mayfield)

Further afield:

Margaret Devitt (20, Sevenoaks), Rebecca Laister (63, Hadlow), Jan Brine & Jess Levine (87 & 88 Tunbridge Wells), ceramics by Lorraine Singer & Anne Wagstaff (90 & 91 Tunbridge Wells), photography by David Shaw (156 Ashford), Tracy Nors (184, Rye)

Dungeness sources

As the precursor to the next round of making I’ve been going back over many of the hundreds of photos I’ve taken on Dungeness in the last year.

Some of these have led on to paper-cuts - initially intended for collages but then leading in an entirely unanticipated direction. I’ll share the results with you next…

Clay Culture Trail

You are all invited to join us for the first ever Hasting Clay Culture Trail event. We have 13 talented ceramicists in 4 venues for you to visit. It’s an amazing range of work so there’s lots to discover!

My studio is one of the venues (no. 1 on the map) and I will be showing my new Dungeness series as well as my thrown tableware collections . I’ll also have christmas decorations, postcards and seconds at clearance prices and information about my forthcoming courses.

Guest artist Yvette Glaze will be showing with me and brings along hand-built forms that carry her distinctive print-making approach.

yvette.jpeg

We look forward to welcoming you for pot-talk, home-baked goodies, mulled drinks in handthrown cups and more.

For full details you can download the leaflet: inside / outside, or see the Facebook event listing.

Making the most of Yorkshire

Whilst I was up north I also squeezed in a trip to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and the Hepworth Gallery, both of which I have waited a long time to get to.

YSP has of course many wonderful and striking pieces…

But after a full afternoon of roving the park, the pieces that stayed with me most strongly were not the massive monumental pieces, but those that rewarded a more engaged viewer prepared to be a bit more curious, a bit more mindful and be a bit more open to the unexpected.

I went to the Hepworth on my last day, after the end of the masterclass, and I think you’ll agree that the pieces I photographed there say something about the kind of forms I had been chasing in my own work!

And of course the Yorkshire landscape is stunning in itself! I certainly hope to be back there soon and could easily have started a whole new series of work inspired by what I saw…

An inspiring time with Rebecca Appleby and James Oughtibridge

In October I was fortunate to be able to spend 5 days in Yorkshire doing a handbuilding masterclass with Rebecca and James. It was great to be able to spend so much time playing with ideas, developing different surface treatments, making maquettes and thinking about creative processes to formulate ideas from source materials.

I came back with more confidence in my own process and giving it time to gestate, to play with components etc, a surprising new direction to explore and a car full of damp clay which is still waiting to be fired. A passing comment by Rebecca’s about ‘quality control at every stage’ also struck home as we saw them demonstrate the care they take in assembling their own work.

Here’s some pictures of the raw work. More to follow once it’s fired and finished.

This work is quite different again from the experimental Dungeness series I’ve been sharing recently and initially I was quite resistant to it because of the technical fiddliness, but both of them came by and said “ooh that’s interesting” so in the end I decided to listen to the feedback and rise to the challenge. It’s made me ponder the difference between the work we are drawn to as viewers that brings us something we’d perhaps like more of and that which we personally need to make and how to know which is which…