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 a number of 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 an abstract 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.
Nerikomi is a technique I use to create colour and patterns within the clay body, similar to natural markings in animal fur. Textural patterns are inspired by childhood memories of combing geometric designs into horses’ coats before a show. Some pieces are raku or smoke fired, which are exciting and unpredictable events. Often finished work can continue to surprise me long after it is fired, partly due to the happy accidents within it. Once displayed they have a sense of calm and presence.