Judith Davies (2014-2015)

I make objects, working mainly with porcelain, engaged for many years with the transformative effects of experimental firing and the relationship between surface and form. My work relates to natural form, responding to fragments found along the tide line, here I look for objects that are altered by exposure to tide, weather and bleaching and in this way become more mysterious to me. Details; holes, edges, indents, textures draw me and I work these into the pieces I make. These details also recall the body, openings that are ways in to hidden interiors, the changing contours and sense of form beneath the carapace of clay.

Clay, with its anthropomorphic language-neck, foot, belly of pot, and its cultural history is deeply connected to the body. Its mutability means it responds to imprint, to indexical trace, baring the marks of the maker’s hand. In my making process my hand and touch is paramount; as I work I stretch the clay and thin it like a skin, responding to the material, working with it rather than forcing it. The making is rhythmic and in the finishing of the surface I use a repetitive burnishing technique that produces ripples that follow the contours of the form. These ripples are redolent of water, sand, or the texture of skin.

Drawing has always informed what I do, recently becoming more of a parallel practice as I have started to draw on ceramic surface, working on revealing, enhancing, and obscuring what detail is there, playing with illusion and actual, fiction and fact. During this residency I will explore layering up marks using gesso, graphite, pigments and wax and then sanding back to reveal textures and ripples in the form. I will also work on paper, wetting thin Japanese paper to make ripples and then using ink to reveal the channels the water has made. In this way I hope the objects and drawings produce a dialogue and the works respond to chance, to process, to materiality and to the interplay and tension between nature and control.

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