I like to make things with my hands and fix things if they break.
I was born in 1962, the same year structural anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss coined the term ‘bricolage’. Even before coming across Strauss I collected found objects, treasures found around the neighbourhood to re-make, transforming them into something new, breathing new life, a new reality.
My ceramic making process has always included finding desirable objects/shapes to make plaster molds of then slipcasting them in clay. I came across slipcasting first at Art School and then in the mid-1980s in my mother’s hobby ceramics shop, where I used to slipcast commercial moulds and fire the kilns.
The casting slip I have developed over time is a mix of commercially available clays - earthenware, stoneware and porcelain mixed together. If I have been hand building, I throw the small left over bits and pieces into the mix as well as I don’t like to waste anything. I use white clays as I like a white canvas onto which I paint colourful decorations, stories and characters. Most of the ceramic works I make have some anchor to function. Colour is always present in the final artwork, as is humour.
When making a sculpture, I arm myself with a selection of slip-cast ceramic shapes and piece them together with creamy slip. At every stage each shape, and its prior life, design and function is considered; the stories and history each brings speak to me at some point or another. Eventually a title for the piece emerges. The final constructed object is decorated with colour, glaze, decals, gold and silver lustres, whatever I deem suitable at the time. If a piece cracks in the firing I sometimes fill and embellish the cracks with gold, lustre or gold leaf. I am constantly researching and experimenting with new processes and mediums.
I try to approach things wholistically, working on whatever feels comfortable at any given time - slipcasting, handbuilding, painting, making videos and curating exhibitions, a balancing act in between all the other things day-to-day life presents.