How do you describe what you do?
I make individual hand-made, free-form ceramic pieces.
How did you get started in art/design?
After my 3D Art and Design degree, which specialised in ceramics, I took clay workshops to 6th form students in schools and colleges as part of a Crafts Council initiative to get older children and their teachers into clay. I enjoyed the teaching and took this further with an idea for general classes at The Waiting Room in Colchester. This became a popular event and made me realise that many people want to 'have a go' and enjoy the creative process of 3D work.
What makes your work and/or process unique?
My work involves clay slabs and coils with imprinting, marking and sometimes feathers. By continually experimenting and evolving I keep interested in my work.
What would your top tip(s) be for anyone considering taking up art/design?
Art and Design can lead to so many different areas of work. 3D is especially challenging and stimulating. Art and 3D design can enhance problem solving skills, encourages creative thinking and lets you come up with your own unique solutions. These are all good skills to have in the workplace, training you to concentrate on details and pay more attention to your environment.
What piece of work or project are you most proud of?
The work I am most proud of was the pit-fired pots that I made after my degree. I didn't have a kiln and so managed to create my own outdoor kiln with a metal lidded dustbin. I did this by punching holes around the bottom to let the air fuel the fire even more intensely and used different elements to encourage subtle colour on to white bisc fired stoneware. I tried coffee grounds, banana skins (potassium), horse manure, different woods and dried leaves from eucalyptus trees and seaweed, which has an element of salt on it. These all gave a very subtle colour and mark. The unexpected outcome was exciting.
When you have the dreaded creative block, where do you get your ideas and inspiration from?
My ideas come from patterns - some from nature but many from man-made things that I see around me which I then change into my own images. My influences come from all different parts of my life.
What other artist or maker do you admire and why
I have been obsessing over the Lost Words and related articles that have come from Robert MacFarlane and the Spell Songs that have followed. Tomorrow I am going to see an exhibition of the work by Madge Gill at the William Morris Gallery followed by a talk by the curator.
Why is Colchester Makerspace important to you/or and your work?
Colchester Makerspace has enabled me to continue the workshop teaching process that I started at The Waiting Room and helped to bring ceramics to the people of Colchester. I believe that the creative process is so important for everyone to enjoy - it can lower your stress levels, leaving you feeling mentally clear and calm, and it provides a distraction, giving your brain a break from its usual thoughts. Getting totally immersed in a creative endeavour focuses your mind and temporarily pushes aside all of your worries. In a busy world this, meditative state is good for all of us to experience as often as we can!