Pouring over my work.

Seasoned readers (hello) know exactly what that title means.  I am indeed pouring porcelain.

It’s one of those activities that you forget the difficulties of, when you haven’t done it for a while.  Once upon a time, thirty years ago, I would pour all day and do a last pour, which still had to be demoulded, after ten at night.  These days tend to be days.  I’ve had more than enough of standing in the kitchen by six o clock.  By then my dodgy knee is complaining, my feet are freezing, my hands are starting to crack and I’ve just had enough.  I stop because if you carry on when you are tired, the work you produce is not very good, so you end up chucking it anyway.

The things I am making are exponentially better than those I made thirty years ago.  The only thing better than thirty years of experience might be thirty one years of experience, I’ll tell you when I get there.

I am very aware of the perils of continuing beyond your physical limits.  I have interviewed very senior miniaturists who just got better and better, and a few who should have stopped some time ago.  I know my own work, prior to having my cataracts done, was not that wonderful.  Miniatures are small, you know.  Happily now I can see what I am doing.  I have seriously wonky fingers, which is mostly due to a lifetime of writing, but they work OK.  Ideas keep coming and I still enjoy the delight of being able to make a thought manifest.  I couldn’t do that at first, or indeed for some years.  One of the questions I used to ask craftsmen when interviewing them was: can you think of an object and then make it?  About half of them could, I  can in porcelain.  Strangely this works against you wanting to make things.  If you know you can do it, the interest in seeing your idea come to life is not quite the same as the early delights of, say, making all the joints on a doll work, so that the finished assembled doll did actually look like a doll and stand up.

I remember the first few times I opened the kiln to gaze at artefacts of my own imagination and manufacture.  Distortions from outer space just about covers it.  Fortunately fired porcelain, when attacked with a hammer, makes very good crocking for the bottom of flower pots, for drainage.

These days I make more than drainage.  Poured this week are three new dolls and several ornaments in a series of dragons.  I am really looking forward to china painting the dragons.  I do have a tendency to veer into the mythic, so one of the dolls is a new fairy.  Not this time, the sweet, little, play with the children, type of fairy; this is more the sort who would make you ring an exterminator, if you found you had them at the bottom of the garden. Less Cottingley, more pokingly and bitingly.

Right, enough chit chat, I have a date with clay.


This entry was posted in About artists. and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *