The creative path is so often a multifaceted one.
In the last year, this blog has been named as one of the world's Top 40 leading ceramic bloggers on Feedspot, an immense honour. Nestled next to the V&A in the list is a very exciting place to be! And one I once could have only dreamt of, so thank you, Feedspot.
It's also very encouraging to read how people like my work when they write about it and the writing process is very much part of the creative process overall for me. As makers and creative humans, we noodle and doodle and play until things have meaning, don't we?
All that's got me thinking about trains of association, because of how the creative process works and because of the particular experience of how the Alter Pieces came into being.
Communicating about change is something I've done all my life, and I was determined to promote an altered state through making shapes as well as words that jump off a page when I drew this sketch.
It represents a figure universally applicable to everyone, devoid of gender or race, and something of how we are in a digital age, in terms of how it's made. In the process of its creation, I wanted to convey how we are all makers as an implicit message, as well as to create an icon that could stand the test of time, made of clay, for our ephemeral world.
I was on my way to Paris on a Eurotunnel train, and in the car in the tunnel at the moment I drew it. It was June 2014, and in the 25 minutes or so it took for me to cross the channel, the shape that is now the Alter Piece first came into being. Thoughts into actions, from intentions of moving away to writing reports which I wanted to do at the time, to something fashioned; all the while under the sea. You could say, 'vivre la difference!' is entirely appropriate here.
While in Paris, I went to the Musée du quai Branly, a place jam-packed full of anthropomorphic and cultural history. It was fascinating to see all the totems on display there, shapes of all sizes and descriptions, shapes reflecting cultures long-lost and yet, somehow, shapes of permanent value, and all recognizably human.
I realized there's something quintessentially constant in how we relate to our humanity, no matter what else changes all around us.
And that's what I seek to convey and depict in the Alter Piece figure. It is a figure designed for today and tomorrow. A slightly jaunty figure that feels good to hold in the hand. A figure that defies gravity, and convention, and yet speaks to people; a universal symbol, whatever moment in time we're in.
In my next post I'll write a little more about the original process of making the first prototype figures using 3D technology, the design registration process and what I've learned in the journey of making them. I've been spurred on somewhat by this blogging accolade and keen to continue the process of bringing things into being, on the page, in real life and, most of all, in the imagination.
I'm also delighted to be able to say I'll be a speaker at the fantastic Digital Plymouth conference next month, where I'll be talking about 'Digital Civilization from an Artisan Perspective'. There's only a little more than a month to go, so grab a very reasonably-priced ticket while you can! It would be great to see you if you're in the area.