Statement – Extract from 2016 MA Evaluative Statement:

STATEMENT: 

My work is primarily focused to develop a narrative between:

  • a physical exploration of place
  • consideration of the impact of human activity (including my own) on the natural world
  • endeavours to create functional ceramics associated with:
    • the places I am investigating
    • the people that I meet as part of this process.

Rather than trying to “make a point”, I find myself wanting to present work that would provoke reflection, discussion and consideration of our relationship with material culture and the environment – leaving people to make up their own minds. Over 2015-6, I chose to bring my work together with a  fresh perspective – specifically around the concept of palimpsest.

The essence of this idea, can be summarized as a surface scraped clean to be used again, originally relating to the historic re-use of vellum (an ancient material for the production of books), which in the Medieval period was in short supply. The concept has been translated to a way of viewing landscape by W.G. Hoskins, in his seminal work The Making of the English Landscape (1970) in which he illustrated how palimpsest could be used to describe the landscape itself, as a series of cumulative layers, holding evidence of human activity and a patchwork of clues that could be used to understand changes in human society and economy, and our relationship with the natural environment.

I felt that this concept had relevance, not only to my investigation of landscape – but also to my work as a ceramicist, given that so much of our work involves the shaping and building up of layers; clay, slip and glaze, altering these as we develop our forms to serve their purpose – either functional or artistic – or both.

 Notes to attend Palimpsest landscape: Soil Hill, February 2015 (see above):

  1. A:  Ovendon Moor – Rough Rock Sandstone (Carboniferous era, c. 313to 314 million years ago) covered by peat (formed since last ice-age) and heather moorland
  2. B:  Middle Band Sandstone slope (Carboniferous era, c.312-313 million years ago) with surface soil and unimproved grassland
  3. C:  Leat (man-made watercourse) to service Soil Hill Pottery (19th / 20th Century)
  4. D:  Windfarm (21st Century) above deciduous broadleaf woodland running alongsidesouth bank of Ogden Clough down to Ogden Water
  5. E:  Coniferous plantation at Mount Pleasant (20th Century)
  6. F:  Penine Lower Coal Measures Formation mudstone (Carboniferous era, c. 312-313million years ago), surface soil & pattern of “enclosed” fields (early 19th Century)
  7. G:  Domestic and industrial developments (19th Century) along Coal Lane adjacent to SoilHill Pottery works – now in conversion to residential
  8. H:  T elegraph poles (Mid 20th Century)
  9. I:  The A629 at Causeway Foot (road is recorded on earliest OS map of 1851)
  10. J:  Landfill site now closed after filling in clay pit (21st Century)

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