Wednesday, 20 October 2010

You got to work hard

There's only 2 weeks to go for this years Exeter Open Studios!

I'm part of the steering group this year and helping to coordinate the event over at the studios, plus getting my own work done. It's a bit manic for me at the moment and the 3 weeks off ill didn't help.

This Sunday just gone I helped with setting up the preview for work that's part of the postcard auction. Artists taking part submit a piece of work and it's sold as part of an auction to benefit next years Open Studios.

The whole steering group worked hard and we got it all done in less time than I had expected. Why can't teamwork always be that good?

James sorting the postcards.

I'm also taking part in and helping to organize a craft fair next weekend as part of The Craft Hub.

An amazing amount of work has gone into pulling it off and I'm very proud to be part of this organizing team together with Pippa, Lucy and Hannah and how we've worked together to make it happen and give local crafters and small businesses the opportunity to showcase and sell their work.

Somewhere I'm hoping to have to to eat and sleep as well, which would be FABulous.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

How I surrendered to clay

You don't get a whole lot of work done when you're ill for 3 weeks!

I started feeling a bit off the week just before my birthday but attributed it to stress. On the birthday I got ill. Really ill. Think tummy bug, stomach flu and food poisoning. Together. But worse. So I was pretty much a vegetable, couldn't eat anything, was too tired to just go outside... As you might have guessed, there wasn't a whole lot of work made! I got better, and still recovering. I'm mostly just feeling I get tired very easily now.

That's why I decided to share some work that isn't mine. Call it a tribute of sorts to people, artists, things, that inspire me and my work. This will be the 1st part of a few still to come.

I wanted to start with the person who got me into ceramics, in a somewhat interesting way.

Craig Underhill was my ceramics tutor at Dudley College, during my BTEC in 3D Design.I'm not always the easiest person to communicate with and I don't think I was ready to take in everything he had to teach me. But teach me he did. And how I hated it. Ceramics was the lesson I tried to get out of at every opportunity; if I had to schedule a meeting I'd schedule it for that day and that time in the morning!

Craig Underhill - "Loch Head Landscape" (image compliments of

When I got to uni I stayed away from ceramics because it was BORING. That much I'd learned. Then came the obligatory ceramics project. And I hated ceramics slightly less. By now I had also realised I couldn't work with the perspex I had spent most of my 2 years at Dudley working with. What could I trade it for? What could have a similar plasticity and movement as a heated sheet of plastic? I think you know what the answer was.

Craig Underhill - "Split landscape, red edge" (image compliments of

I spent 3 years coming to terms with clay. I fought really hard not to fall in love with the material, fought to remember everything that had irritated and bored me about ceramics at college. Needless to say, I lost.

So I ended going back to what Craig had taught me. To handbuilding. To slabs and rough edges and dirt and hours of hard work. And it made me realise that the most important thing I'd been taught was that I wasn't ready to learn then.

Craig Underhill - "Ancient walls - blue edge" (image compliments of

I'd really like to thank Craig for what he taught me, for what he showed me could be done, for encouraging some wild ideas that I wasn't even ready to take on myself, for making an impressing on me with his teaching and his work that I would remember when I was in a place within myself where I could accept it. For showing me a way to surrender to clay.

Thank you.
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