Letters from the Far East in the 1960’s form the focus of this work. They have been laser etched , and pressed onto porcelain paper clay. They were originally written on flimsy air letter forms and sent to Britain from my mother to her mother. Ticked when read, they were passed on by each relative to the wider family. Finally, typed and stored, they became a journal of observation and recording, and now an archive.
My recollections and influences from this period are hand written in blue underglaze on paper thin porcelain luggage labels reflecting journeys: of arrival, of a study trip to Japan, of ‘home leave’.
The framed Cyanotypes of layered image and text create the context of the two writers. The blue of this process further reflects the blue and white of family dinner plates on the sturdy dark oak of the Welsh dresser and the blue and white underglaze of Chinese and Japanese porcelain.
I have chosen porcelain paper clay for its strength and apparent fragility, enabling me to exploit its translucency and work directly with text and narrative. I have used it literally as paper by directly cutting and folding the clay to make the origami structures – sake´ flask and cup forms – that hold my narrative.
What has emerged is the centrality of text and archive; an unexpected conversation of recollection; the fragility of memory; a further understanding of the thread of blue and white that imbues much of my work and the incorporation of handwritten text to record the fleeting memory and the mindful moment.
This body of work was produced during a residency at Liverpool Hope University as part of the AA2A Scheme*.
Artists Access to Art Colleges.
Photos: Letter Archive from above and Sake Bottle Set in situ by June McHenry.