Camber-Esker Vessel (2019.18)

Catalogue Record

Collection

Maker

Title

Camber-Esker Vessel

Made in

Northern Ireland

Date

2015

Materials and techniques

The work's starting points are that the material is Porcelain and the method of building the initial form is by Throwing. After that, the form is further altered by cutting, pushing, prodding, re-joining the clay to produce a totally new form. Much time is spent on the refining and finishing of the piece using a variety of metal and wooden tools, sponging and polishing. The choice of material (porcelain) is important to the fine edges, contours and smoothing-of-finish that hold the form together; another clay would not offer these qualities. But it is an extremely tricky clay to handle.
The piece is initially biscuit-fired in an electric kiln after which the glaze is applied. The interior glaze is applied by pouring. The glaze on the exterior of the piece is applied by spraying.

Dimensions

height (body):  26cm

Object number

2019.18

Category

Credit

Purchase supported by Art Fund and a donation from Sir Nicholas and Judith Goodison.

Maker's statement

I was born in Cork, Ireland in 1971, and trained in the Crawford College of Art & Design, Cork City.

My studio is in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Concentrating on the challenges of thrown forms which are then altered and changed at varying stages of the drying process, I produce Sculptural Decorative Vessels.
My work deals with a love of Form, Line and Volume expressed through the qualities and scope of my chosen materials.
I have an on-going relationship with porcelain, and for now it is still my clay of choice. Of great importance is the potential of new and exciting edges, contours and shapes which can be explored through an understanding of material qualities and increasing skill.
Surface quality is also critical; I research extensively to find the best glaze for the form; or vice-versa.

Having begun my career producing small-scale functional pots, as my skill has increased I have moved entirely into making one-off forms which are purely sculptural in their intent.

The main elements feeding the development of the work are Process and Finish; coupled with constant exploration and a deepening understanding of form, volume and silhouette.
An important aspect of my thinking and development of ideas involves 'play'. Experimenting. Trying things out which often initially don't work.
This uninhibited part of my making-cycle involves risk-taking, failure and critical understanding. It is fundamental to my way of understanding and to resolving ideas.

Sympathy with my materials is a crucial aspect feeding how I work and what I make
My work evolves from piece to piece. The knowledge gleaned from the experimentation and material understanding through the act of making one form serves to directly informing the possibilities of the next.
The work’s starting points are that the material is Porcelain and the method of building the initial form is by Throwing. After that, the playful and risky part starts, and it is the most enjoyable stage of the making process; cutting, pushing, prodding, re-joining the clay to produce a totally new form.
A certain amount of sketching is done to plan the form, but it is always different from the best results when I listen to the material and allow for a degree of lack of control.
The choice of material (is important to the fine edges, contours and smoothness of finish that hold the form together; another clay would not offer these qualities. But it is an extremely tricky clay to handle.
Colour is crucial too. In the case of this piece the contracting colour on the interior is technically difficult to achieve in terms of ‘but visually it also serves as a seductive call to view the piece fully.
From a historical point of view, my use of the manganese rich black glaze coupled with volumetric forms also refers to Hans Coper, of whom I am (surprisingly) a massive, unapologetic, enthusiastic fan.
With his legacy of understanding of form I am using my own voice in my own way to try to realise personal expressive work.