I first sunk my hands into a ball of soft, buttery clay and turned it on a wheel two years ago. From that point, I was hooked. Clay bit me hard.
I find there's a special feeling of accomplishment that comes from making things, maybe it's because I've always been quite a practical and self-reliant person. My Dad was a do-er. I remember building a swimming pool with him in our garden completely by hand, using my old baby bath to mix up the cement when I was about ten.
One way or another in my life, I've worked with a wide range of fabrics and materials. Of all of them, I have found clay the most wonderful to use. I'd never thought about the many amazing properties it has too much before, though. That was an error on my part.
I am reminded now, every day, what an amazing ingredient clay is. It has been here for us in our lives for millennia and has a special place in my life today. Clay sits in the ground, under our feet, all the time. It's one of the most elemental, primal ingredients on earth that there is.
I love the various stages in which it can be worked, how it has solid and liquid states and can vitrify and turn to hard and durable ceramic, how it is very reconstitutable and can last forever. Solid as a brick. These are all amazing properties.
For me, clay is both a canvas and a vessel. Clay sits at the centre of many of the narratives and stories of our civilization. And in its most basic state, clay is simply a collection of platelets that sit and organise themselves in relation to heat and water. This reconstitutability makes me think of people and how we organise together.
Having a digital business career as a strategist alongside my artistic life, I am working in the cloud and virtually most of the time. The studio here in St Ives is a lovely place to land and feel grounded. The aim of what I make is to try and capture the essence of this relationship between [people] and [ceramics]. I want to be able to give to people that feeling of being grounded in their busy lives with my pieces.
The idea of making things that are honest and solid with my bare hands is appealing and therapeutic. Going back to our artisanal nature is, perhaps, a necessary counterpoint to everything that technology does for us now. I like to connect these things together in the way I work.
When everything's so pre-packaged these days, it's a wonderful feeling to be able to make breakfast, bowl included. There's no hiding place in being a potter, you either make something, or you don't. Do or don't do - there is no try!