very happy about this!
I was both surprised and extremely pleased to have won the Neue Keramik Prize at the Oldenburg International Ceramic Fair. The prize includes a solo exhibition as well as a sponsored month long artist residency.
For the first time this year I have spent January/February in Germany, working in a beautiful studio with access to a large kiln.
This time of the year is usually the quiet time of my year, after Christmas and before the summer shows begin. I am very fortunate that my dear mother Susanne is an excellent ceramicist, and she happened to be away all January (find her website here). So house/cat sitting and being able to have access to her studio seemed like the perfect idea. It is a great place to work without being distracted.. the house and studio are located on the edge of a tiny village in the south west of Germany. There are no shops, no pub, nothing. The perfect work environment.
I went with a rough plan of action.. I wanted to revisit free standing animal sculptures. I worked mainly with local iron rich clay, which I hadn’t really used before. In a way it felt like starting afresh, with an open mind, with no pressures in the background of deadlines and such. I just had time to try out the ideas I had piling up in the background for the past two years. With sculpting everyday there was routine, and with routine there came freedom. I was able to build up a new body of work for this upcoming season which I am excited about!
I rent a small studio on the edge of Dartmoor in the National Park. Here I create my sculptures. The place is in the middle of nowhere in the Teighn valley, surrounded by woodlands, countless birds, the river Teign and a lake nearby. I find a lot of inspiration roaming my surroundings, where I find space to reflect and gather new ideas. I recently discovered two sources of clay by the river, right next to each other. One is rich in iron, the other looks grey. I am running several experiments at the moment using the two clays in their pure form, and mixed with my studio clay. My hope is to end up with a dark red clay which is able to fire up to stoneware temperature. I love the idea to make use of these local materials. they bring a whole new dimension to my work.