I’ve been back in Brighton for exactly a week now and trying to recover from the effects of such an exhausting trip! But what a journey it was!
I drove 3,500 miles around 4 countries, caught numerous ferries and crossed several monumental bridges, stayed in 13 different places, delivered boxes of ceramics back to 10 artists and squeezed in a lot of art – making and exhibiting my own, and looking at a lot of other peoples’ work too.
I’m pleased to say that my work was successful. The exhibition at Rønne Library looked fantastic, and the 6 days I spent at Guldagergård Ceramic Research Centre doing a soda wood firing paid off. The results are beautiful. I must admit the experience was not without pain – mainly the effects of no sleep for over 40 hours – but it is such a different and rewarding experience to switching on an electric kiln. It is also expensive to do a wood firing, about 4 times the price of doing an electric firing, which of course needs to be reflected in the price of the work. But the results are inimitable. I wouldn’t say I’m a complete convert, but I definitely would like to incorporate this new technique into my practice when the occasion calls for it. In this case, with the new work that I have produced, the botanical shapes really do benefit from the varying effects of the soda and the wood ash that uniquely glaze each piece inside the furnace.
So now I have a huge quantity of gorgeous new soda wood fired Botanical Structures in my possession and am hoping to find some opportunities to show this work next year. For a public artist who has been working to commission full time for 19 years, it’s quite a momentous leap to have made a significant new body of work that I now have available to exhibit. I haven’t done many exhibitions in all my years as an artist, as I have never had anything to show, as usually everything I make is permanently installed into site. One thing I have learnt from doing the exhibition in Bornholm is that my work is not exactly easy to exhibit. It’s large-scale, which means it’s difficult to transport and install and de-install. It was quite a job taking it all off the wall in Rønne Library. The adhesives worked brilliantly keeping the pieces on the wall, but meant that it was very difficult to get it all off the back of the ceramic pieces. I think perhaps pre-mounting on to panels would definitely be easier next time. So I have food for thought about making these processes easier whilst not compromising the scale….