Build Back Better

Ceramic patchwork is a creative and distinctive solution to the challenge of mending broken ceramics, exploring the potential of a traditional hand-stitched process within a different context. Researching fragility, resilience and impermanence through colour, pattern and form, they are intimate practical investigations into tension and structural possibilities. Stitch is used functionally, with the mechanics of construction laid bare and the endeavour of making made explicit. Born of cross-disciplinary inquiry, pieces sit somewhere between solid and broken, beauty and flawed, ceramic and textile.

The Build Back Better Series is the result of field research following the devastating 2015 earthquakes in Nepal and considers the impact of multiple cycles of trauma. It reflects the pride expressed by craftsmen in continuing generations of family involvement with reconstructing cultural sites after such events. Each structure represents the journey of a unique set of materials through cycles of physical change, studying their reaction and resilience to the forces experienced. The work also became an exploration of personal risk-taking, as at times, action was required that put in jeopardy qualities that were precious and had been hard won. The structures invite discussion about sustainability and the basis of value judgments in the context of different communities and cultural experiences.

The work was part of Craftspace’s Made in the Middle touring exhibition 2016-18 and presented at Futurescan4:Valuing Practice conference, 2019.