Originally from Newcastle upon Tyne, UK I am based in Melbourne, Australia. A sculptor in clay and a visual arts teacher, I have worked in the education sector for over 15 years. I have a Master of Fine Arts and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Wales Institute Cardiff.
I find the act of people watching totally engrossing. I relish the opportunity to steal glances and wonder at the people communing in street cafes or shopping in the supermarket. A forty minute journey on the metro provides the perfect opportunity to observe the person sitting opposite in detail. The hour of the day and their dress contextualises their journey. But what is their voice like? Who do they love? What are their dreams? The subjects are engrossed in thoughts, or their phone, or the view, and assume that although they are surrounded by people, they are alone. Anonymous and invisible in a crowd of strangers. This is their time to think, consolidate and prepare for the day ahead or reflect on the spent hours. My observations of commuters celebrate the space in between. Everyone is waiting to arrive somewhere. The necessary travel time is living on the way.
They are not portraits or representations of individuals but composites of people observed over time and during numerous journeys. A figurative language of universal types and habits. ‘Every man’ going about their business.
The ceramic sculptors to whom I most aspire, could capture this. An honest human gesture frozen in a clay figurine.
It is that gesture that I am in pursuit of.
'A Bridge Too Far'
This ‘bust’ is a self-portrait that represents a transitory ‘moment’ and a journey of sorts. It is worked from a ‘selfie’ that I took as a commuter on the Melbourne metro, present on an actual journey but reflecting on a literal one. I immigrated to Melbourne from the UK in 2018 and although I was in a physical environment that I loved, in 2020 I was trapped by Covid 19 restrictions and felt the pang of separation from home. I was nostalgic for ‘Brit’ culture and the 1961 painting ‘Self-Portrait with Badges’ by Peter Blake presented a means to tap into that sentimentality and provided a device, the badges, through which I could communicate. The customised willow pattern is evocative of family mealtimes and ‘home’. It maps my journey from Newcastle upon Tyne to the shores of Australia. The 1790 Kangaroo print is appropriated from Northumberland wood-engraver Thomas Bewick.
The tea bowls and plates offer an exciting canvas for processes of print and montage that are somehow enriched by the clay surface.