My work is influenced by, and often references, 19th and 20th century art and design. The effect of time and nature is what interests me. Decay, the ageing of the human body, the play of mosses and lichens on stone, the peeling of paint, the weathering of dead trees, the sun’s fading of plastics, these are the textures and tones I try to echo in my work.
A piece can take anything between a few weeks and six months to complete. After the work is sculpted it must be thoroughly dried before it is bisque-fired – heated to up to 980°c over a 15-hour period then cooled for a similar amount of time. The next step is the mixing and application of the glazes. Some pieces will have many different colours and tones applied.
I use various glazing techniques but at the moment most of my work is glazed and fired using the raku method. This is where the sculpture is put into a collapsible gas kiln and again heated to 980°c but quickly, usually in about an hour. After some time, depending on the size and shape of the piece, the gas is cut and the kiln is immediately opened, thermally shocking the surface of the work and causing crackling effects on the glaze. The sculpture is then placed as speedily as possible into a metal box filled with combustible materials, like sawdust, newspaper and dry leaves and left for between 15 minutes and an hour. The smoke is drawn into the cracks in the shocked glaze creating a myriad of strange effects. When removed, still very hot, it is sprayed carefully with water, further changing the tones and nuances. It is then cleaned and left to cool. If the desired effect hasn't been realised, more glaze can be applied and the piece fired and smoked for a second, third or fourth time.