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…


Dungeness series, part 2

In this second batch of works I have been experimenting further with more graphic treatments and printing, to evoke the scattering of bold box forms in the shape of houses, sheds and shipping containers across the shingle, as well as more complex detailing in he surfaces through found materials, local slips, volcanic and matt glazes.

Lifting the lid on the new Dungeness series

Inspired by my time at I have been exploring some new forms.

Building up scuffed and stained and patinated surfaces.

Developing a new palette of glaze colours and finishes that draw on my experience of the ness.

Playing with happenstance impressions of found objects and textures.

Using drop moulding and composite forms to explore the irregular growth of the cottages with all their sheds and lean-tos.

Echoing the boat rails across the shingle in added ribs on which the finished pieces stand.

It's proving really interesting to work in this new way, developing a whole new creative vocabulary and making each piece a step forward into something new. As I write the kiln is firing up with a second load of new pieces and I'm full of eager anticipation to see how they will turn out and where this journey will take me next. Watch this space!

How things land

My eye is often caught by unintentional details, juxtapositions of forms that create an interesting composition, how abandoned forks land in a mixing bowl, unplanned groupings etc - or in this case, rows of rabbit guards on new trees and the outlines of windblown plastic caught in trees.

I don't know why, but it triggered memories of tree-based forms I was playing with about a year ago, and prompted some new combinations that may form the basis for a new vessel idea I'm pondering.

A whole forest of paper maquettes resulted...

paper maquettes.jpg

Inspirations for some new creative work...

Since moving to Hastings I have loved exploring my new surroundings. Drinking it all in - and having a bit more space and time to think - has lead to some surprising developments. It has inspired me to start playing with some new creative ideas. I don't know where they will take me yet as it's very early days so far but it feels very rewarding to be able to focus on my art and inspirations and the early creative play that seems to be necessary before new finished pieces can be born.

I will share some of the processes I am exploring with you, and some of the results when we get that far...

For now, here's some views of the coast at nearby Pett which is inspiring the current developments. I have been looking particularly at organic forms, surfaces and the ways in which forms and voids relate.