STORIEL, Bangor 7th February – 7th April 2018
Letters from the Far East: Contemplation and Memory: Reflection, Narrative and Sculptural Form
A collection of 1960’s letters from the Far East was the starting point for this body of work. The flimsy air letter forms were sent to Britain from my mother to her mother. Ticked when read, they were passed on by each relative to the wider family. Typed and stored, they became an archive recording observations of life abroad.
Selected letters were laser etched into wood, then rolled into porcelain paper clay and fired to create an embossed porcelain artefact.
My own recollections and influences from this period reflecting journeys of arrival, of a study trip to Japan, of ‘home leave’, are hand written in blue underglaze.
Cyanotypes of layered image and text provide the context of the two writers. The blue of this process makes a further connection between blue and white family dinner plates on the sturdy dark oak of the Welsh dresser with the blue and white underglaze of Chinese and Japanese porcelain.
Since participating in Craftivism at the Bluecoat Display Centre, Liverpool, in 2017, I have expanded on my own reflections and influences of the study trip to Japan.
This is explored through text and narrative held thematically by my mother’s chrysanthemum-embroidered blouse and structural shapes evolving from my exploration of the centrality of tea both to family ‘ceremonies’ as well as to Far Eastern culture.
I also further developed the use of light boxes to back- and under – light the work – essential for bring out the hidden texts and images in the translucent porcelain.
I use flax porcelain paper clay as I would paper – cutting and folding it to create sculptural forms inspired by sake sets, tea caddies and bowls.
The pieces are fired to 1260C to produce pure porcelain, its delicate translucency enhanced by back-lighting and under-lighting to reveal layers of text, image and impressed design.
My aim is the creation of a contemplative space for narrative and sculptural form.