The majority of the work for ‘Echoes’ has been produced over the last two years between family tragedies, environmental disasters and the pandemic. With all these things going on, my studio was my place to retreat and play. The result is a body of work which is almost completely new, though it contains all the elements on which I traditionally focus… texture, simplicity of form, and light.
Glass, in which I was originally trained, is remerging in my art practice. Reminding myself of old skills has been a challenge and this exhibition has given me space to regain confidence with the material.
I use surface finishes to trap and reflect light. The use of a V shaped diamond wheel to cut some of the glass for the exhibition has resulted in a shimmering effect, reminding me of beetle wings. Also new for me is experimenting with the beauty of the rough-cut surface on glass. Using ceramics, I’d already learnt to appreciate the contrast of refined form with roughly worked surfaces. These new qualities of surface were discovered in the making process for this year’s work and are the gems of experience I take away for the future.
As I photographed this work, the close observation of each piece and its interaction with light, affirmed for me the shift in how I use light now compared to pre 2000 glass pieces, which instead used gradations of light. Many of the glass works in the exhibition are light traps using reflected light, amplified light, shimmering light and inner glows.
Many of the pieces (glass and ceramic) are enclosed spaces, trapping light in one way or another. It is this trapping and creation of lit spaces with particular moods and characters which excites me most for exploration in the future.
Porcelain is the most recent material I’ve begun to incorporate into my art practice. Like glass, it is a challenging material to master. Its ability to transfer and reflect light, its strength when very thin, and its whiteness, are what attracts me. though I also enjoy the other end of the spectrum in ceramics, the groggy, earthy, solid stoneware clays.
There are the extremes of light and dark in the exhibition. Shadow comes into play particularly with the ceramic work. The play of light and shadow on textured or smooth surfaces, the cast shadows, and imposed shadow through the use of blackened surfaces.
‘Echoes’ is a mixture of diverse ideas, but the work is united by its subtle references to the natural world, and by serenity, simplicity, form, surface, shadow, and light.