Works in clay and fine plaster
A collaborative project with artist-plasterer Peter Baker

These works originated in Peter Baker’s response to and a subsequent discussion between us around a large vessel I had produced for ‘Kate’s Pond’, an interpretation of the dome form in locally sourced brick clay.

In the normal context of clay as vessel, objects are finished using ceramic techniques of glazing, polishing or burnishing, whereas the most common interior finish for clay used in the construction of buildings is render and plaster subsequently either painted or papered with pattern. These pieces explore treating the fired surface of vessels and other ceramic objects by applying fine plaster techniques to ceramic forms using marble plaster and coloured pigments. Each object has been individually constructed using hand-building techniques and all refer in some manner to homes and buildings. The plaster finish is applied to the fired surface in a painstaking process of layering and polishing, with several fine undercoats topped by layers of pigmented marble plaster adding depth and quality of colour and surface.

One of the most common materials used for building is clay in the shape of bricks. Their characteristic as a module allows constructions of infinite variety, expressing the ingenuity of the builder and reflecting the culture and environment from which they come.

The building of a dwelling offers protection and safety, a second skin or shell between the soft human body and the harshness of the outside world. Within this dwelling humans can relax and feel secure to explore ideas beyond the business of subsistence, to problem solve, to allow flights of imagination.

The interior finish of a building can confer warmth and safety, imply permanence and continued use. This smooth empty surface demands to be marked or adorned in some way, offering an empty space on which to capture thoughts, note significant moments.

Brick: small, usually rectangular block of kneaded and moulded clay, sun-dried or baked (fired).
Plaster: (noun) soft plastic mixture, especially of lime, sand, and hair for spreading on walls etc. to form smooth surface and harden by drying.
(verb) cover (wall etc.) with plaster or the like. Coat, bedaub…
Decorate: furnish with adornments.
Adorn: add beauty or lustre to.
Dome: "Round, vaulted roof," 1656, from Fr. dome, from Prov. doma, from Gk. doma "house, housetop" (especially a style of roof from the east), related to domos "house" (see domestic)


Supported by: York Art Workers Association