30 August 2014

Time and tide in Sardinia

Studio door 




 Mountain backdrop near Gonnesa


Sardinia is an old and rugged place and has so much natural beauty - large craggy mountains and a huge blue sea are the main features of the area I'm staying in. It's fresh, raw and basic and gives one a feeling of having been shaped and formed over a long, long time. Impossible not to be affected in some way.



Bowls and plates


These are the first pieces to emerge from my new old studio in Sardinia. I am working in a small room that was once a kitchen, a little over a metre wide. I managed to locate some clay and a rolling pin and a few found objects were all that was needed to get started. The clay is a little rough and gritty and posed an initial challenge ... like a wilful child it wasn't going to give me what I expected: a well-behaved, smooth and even finish. 

Working with clay is all about shaping and forming, understanding the nature of the material and working with, rather than against it. After a slow and somewhat dubious start, I have come to embrace the rough and rugged nature of the place I am in and applying it (with great courage I felt!) to the clay making process - scratching back into the dry clay with coarse sandpaper (found in the studio clean-up), leaving in accidental marks made while rolling or moulding, pricking the surface with an old bristle brush, imprinting a seed pod while still wet. 


Crystal clear water with pebbles at the beach in Gonnesa


On the other hand one might just as well be influenced by pebbles found in the sea, marvelling at how the coarse sand has smoothed the surface over eons. Time and tide. Not to mention the colours ...  a whole new range of possibilities for surface decoration and glazes.


Brown paper fruit bag with collected stones



Plate with pebbles on rough concrete floor












01 August 2014

Hands





Detail from a 14 century painting in the Piinacoteca Nazionale Siena


A few weeks down the track and a chance to sit still for a bit, have a look through photos and come up with a theme that fits the moment. It's an absolute luxury to set up camp for a few days and take stock. I don't mind the constant movement - it's exciting, interesting, exhausting at times and  that's what comes with having selected the impulsive travelling option and yet of course it's a temporary state of affairs and will one day be a memory rather than every day reality.... could one take up a nomadic life in this day and age and keep going indefinitely I wonder?

Anyway .... Back to the here and now. I have selected a few photos of hands that are from paintings or real life, taken along the way. Why, you ask? Well in a few days we will have arrived at a sort of destination end-point and this means that I can start being productive, explorative, creative again with my own hands!



Hands with gold ring - on the bus from Pokhara to Kathmandu



Street side shoe mender in Ubud Bali



Waiting at the station in Prague




Bronze sculpture on the doors of the Duomo in Florence