Bowls of Britain

Commissions are brilliant opportunities for stretching you and your practice.

I was delighted to be approached by The New Craftsmen, to create a piece for their  ‘An Anthology of British Craft’ to be showcased at Decorex 2015.   The brief was for a bowl, 45cm in diameter by 25cm deep. 

Whilst my pieces tend to revive discarded ready-made ceramics, my search for such a proportion proved fruitless and resulted in me, for the first time, embarking on making the vessel myself.  Having slaved over its creation, how would it feel to then take a hammer to it?  It was an interesting unknown.  

Over the years, I have developed experience of the force needed for a controlled breakage of domestic ceramic forms, taking account for different material properties, thicknesses and scales.  This was a very different prospect.  The bowl was big and it was heavy.  As I began, the hammer strike rang out with a pure sound multiple times before a change in pitch alerted me to the development of a crack – and I found myself to be surprisingly unsentimental!

And so my ceramic patchwork process began, but this time with marked differences; heavier fabrics, thicker thread, textural design decisions and building much larger sections.  New variants of familiar technical challenges materialised and were overcome.  

As my process relyes on the strength of stitch and textile alone, I used heavier materials than my normal fashion silks, sourcing neutrally coloured contemporary furnishing fabrics from the collections of Sacho, Zoffany, Sandersons, Brentano and Mark Alexander, selecting them for surface quality interest.  Special thanks go to Casamance Group who provided some exquisite materials. 

Decorex 2015 saw my piece placed alongside work by: Edmond Byrne (glass), Eleanor Lakelin (wood), Pedro da Costa Felgueiras (gilded cork), Nicola Tassie (ceramic), Matthew Warner (ceramic), Stuart Carey (semi porcelain stonewear), Doug Fitch (earthenwear clay), Hannah McAndrew (slipware), Stephanie Tudor (Jesmonite), Grant McCaig (metal), Patrick Thomson (textiles), Nic Webb (wood), Akiko Hirai (ceramics) and Iva Polachov (ceramics).