I often experience Pareidolia: seeing recognisable images (in my case animals) in otherwise random and unrelated objects and patterns. This has influenced my work in many ways.
I use a single sheet of clay, draped like a skin or fabric over a newspaper core. Embarking on a sculpture is always full of anticipation as I avoid using reference material or preparatory sketches. Letting go of preconceptions means that I can embrace chance and respond intuitively to the material.
As the form of the animal starts to emerge I am careful not to over work the clay as it’s energy and elasticity are easily lost. It is the act of making that I want to capture as well as the essence of an animal. I enjoy how a suggestion of a form can be far more evocative than a literal representation. Many pieces end up in the clay bin but it is an addictive process and a successful work is a huge high.
I use colour within the clay body, akin to markings in animal fur. Geometric designs are reminiscent of the patterns I combed into horses’ coats before a show as a child. Some pieces are Raku or smoke fired, exciting and unpredictable events. Often finished work continues to surprise me long after it is fired due to the happy accidents within it. Once displayed they have a sense of calm and presence.