Catching the Wave
Slicing the walls of hand-thrown forms has led to a unique way of exploring the human figure. This is a distinctive body of work conveying human movement, dance, attitudes and emotions. Although figures or trees are suggested, each piece can elicit various different interpretations, memories or associations personal to the viewer. I encourage conversations with observers, acknowledging their part in the creative process in informing future work. I surrender myself to the elemental properties of the clay and glaze combinations, working with clay in equal partnership. My role as ceramic artist is to guide the natural forces of the materials and processes. Outcomes are as much the beginning as the end of the creative process and you the viewer are invited to join this journey.
My sculptures portray the essence of waves and whirlpools, unfolding spirals and black holes. They are made in various sizes from 3 to 50 centimetres wide . The glazes are made with barium and lithium and coloured with copper, vanadium, chromium and pigments, resulting in luminescent textured surfaces. On black clay, these glaze materials have a dramatically different effect, resulting in natural earthy shades breaking on the edges and swirling into the spiral ridges. They can be displayed on a table or shelf or on the wall.
These dancing figures emerged while I was experimenting with slicing hand-thrown pieces. The pieces start off as bottomless pots in which I vary the thickness of the walls. In early experiments with this method the sliced surface was abstract but one of the shapes which emerged was just like a person. Now I manipulate the thickness of the walls to throw a figure shape in the wall. However much I try to predict the outcome, what emerges is always a surprise. The effect of movement, dancing, working together and enjoyment in another's company naturally strikes a chord with my message of celebration in simple experiences.
Further extension of this method leads mysteriously to what looks like a bone structure of dancers, or a strip-the-willow reel. This sculptural progression is described on a video which appears on the Created Bespoke Website http://www.createdbespoke.com/artist/steph.wright