Between the cliffs and the fields lies a stretch of common land, through which runs the Pembrokeshire Coast Path. Much of the land is now owned by the National Trust. This stretch of wilderness that can seem like a wild landscape of rock, sea and heath is in fact managed and maintained. One of ways this is done is by burning back the invasive gorse to allow for greater bio-diversity.
A major part of the ceramic process is fire, so for some time I have thought about placing a vessel in the path of one of these controlled fires. I suppose mainly I was curious about what affect it would have on the surface of the piece. I have to admit it also appealed to my boyish fascination with fire. Big fire, burn pot.
By placing my work here, it made me think about our understanding of landscape and nature. How what we perceive as natural and wild is often actually highly maintained. The human influence on the natural world is often overlooked in our aesthetic appreciation of a beautiful landscape.
I am very excited that I have been awarded a Research Grant by the Arts Council of Wales. It means that I can go to the top of hills to think about my understanding of landscape and how my work fits into it.
Here is what I proposed:
Continuing with the pure jar form that has become my canvas and my study of the human experience of landscape, I wish to explore more deeply my local landscape and how we experience it, in two ways.
Firstly, using the rich geology of Pembrokeshire as a resource for raw materials to be used in the development of new glazes and surfaces for my work.
Secondly, I wish to carry out a series of land art projects using local clays, and resources as pieces of artwork in their own right. By doing time-dependant site-specific projects within the landscape, which demand regular documentation, I have a reason to go out into the surroundings and look in a meaningful way. This discipline is about adding meaning to the themes that underpin my work and drawing on that experience to inspire a new aesthetic.
In researching these two aspects of the landscape, as a physical resource and as a philosophical inspiration I hope to come to a new and more considered body of work with a clear message about my inspirations.
I will be posting much of what I get up to here so do have a look from time to time. I hope it goes well.
Caer Bwdy, the source of the beautiful purply sandstone used to build St.Davids Cathedral has always been a place I am drawn to. The scale and colour of the pebbles at the cove are unique.
Sketching is not something I do often enough, I think mainly because artistically I am more comfortable with three dimensional expression. Throwers often talk of sketching at the wheel, the fluidity and relatively instant process of throwing makes this possible. Land Art however seems very intimidating, grand gestures in the landscape requiring rigorous planning, hours of painstaking effort and meticulous attention to detail.
This ‘Path of Elongated Pebbles’, stood on end, stretching from the high tide line to low water was conceived and executed in about quarter of an hour. A three dimensional sketch in the landscape. Sketching is about exploring and developing ideas, gaining a deeper understanding of your disipline. This landsketch was a freeing experience, as I now feel able to sketch within the landscape that inspires me. A method that suits my way of working.