The inspiration for much of my work comes from studying the origins and evolution of pottery from various cultures worldwide. I have a particular interest in the aesthetics of various thrown forms and the challenge of creating them on the potter’s wheel. I combine this with the philosophy of working in harmony with my materials and their natural physical properties. Vernacular shapes and traditional methods show hundreds, if not thousands of years of refinements by countless craftsmen and have always been, for me, a deep creative well from which to draw inspiration. The swelling out of a pot from its foot to its shoulder and back in again, if kept within certain proportions, are generally pleasing to the senses. These proportions seem to be quite common to many cultures, throughout most of antiquity and tell us a great deal, not only about the history of pottery, but also about ourselves. Born in Hampshire and raised in St. Ives, Cornwall, England, I have by natural cultural inheritance found much inspiration from the vernacular styles of 18th & 19th Century English Country Pottery. The fluidity, honesty in shape & form, and integrity in manufacture, makes this tradition, for me, a historical high point in skill and craftsmanship. I am also inspired by oriental pottery, in particular from China; this vast country with its rich ceramic heritage has produced some of the finest examples of fired earth ever made and is always a rewarding visit for new creative ideas. When working with clay I like to combine tradition with innovation, finding, that for me, creativity takes place somewhere in the space between the two. This combination of the familiar with the unknown is my preferred mode of work, which I find to be an exciting and creative interface where new territories can be shown on familiar landscapes. This approach to creative composition draws significantly from both artistic intuition and visual observation of the natural world. These themes can be found in my work by the interplaying of flowing mathematical curves with contrasting bold statements in colour and texture. I find that a few gentle throwing lines, marks where the pottery has been lifted from the wheel, or a unique path taken by the liquid-slip can form interesting organic patterns. These ‘Happy Accidents’, for me, are often the finishing touches that breathe life into a handmade piece, giving it a special individuality that captures its moment of creation forever. I also find it interesting that these broken symmetries are the very things that give the natural world its distinctive character.
Country: United Kingdom (Great Britain)
Site: Russell Akerman
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