inspiration rocks

The other day I went in search of a beach that I last visited almost 20 years ago.  It had stayed in my memory because it was covered in perfectly round rocks, like a midden of  of abandoned dinsosaur eggs.  Something in my now pot-obsessed head was drawing me back there in search of ceramic […]

Poetry is not words

Poetry is not an arrangement of words, but a quality of openness, a distillation of experience and a refinement of expression. So to paint a poem is an entirely reasonable aim.

The persistence of impressions

If I can find a unifying theme for these last months’ travels it is stone.  Red stone outcrops carved to make rock houses on Kinver Edge and cut through by the canal which I followed. Cotswold stones from cool blue grey to sunset orange in the walls of Tewkesbury Abbey. Massive columns of golden stone […]

something as living as nature

I want to create surfaces that have the energy and life of natural surfaces that become as fascinating and infinitely explorable as the natural world. The artist, Matthew Smith (1879-1959) studied under Henri Matisse in Paris. Matisse encouraged him to intensify his vision of the natural world. The result, he said, was not a conventional […]

what is interesting about the specific

“what is interesting about the specific is what it says about the universal”. I heard this said by Author Hisham Matar on the radio this morning, talking about his approach to writing. It seems a perfect summary of what I believe the best art achieves.

Why purple doesn’t exist

The colour purple does not exist in the real world. Apparently it’s true. A rainbow of light from red to violet floods our surroundings, but there is no such thing as purple light. Purple only exists in our heads. I got fascinated by what I found in exploring this purple puzzle, so I thought I’d […]

the mist of familiarity

In 1819 Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote, “the mist of familiarity obscures from us the wonder of our being.” Is the role of the artist to commit themselves to peering through the mist and to re-present the familiar in a way that rekindles wonder? follow Grant’s art blog  

coincidence – pierced forms

Isn’t the web a feast of coincidence.  A ring carved from bamboo by Kevin Woolgar @kevinwoolgar, a photographer in Puerto Rico, and a ceramic sculpture by Matt Sherratt @sculpturalforms working in North Wales arrived via email and the Maker in Wales facebook page today.

Birdsong Tables

A while ago, sitting on a bridge in my local nature reserve and listening to a particularly soulful blackbird,  I realized that birdsong could be a great source of inspiration for the visual design of my furniture.  Now I’m about to start work on the first of a series of “birdsong tables”.

Boxes as Sorbet

Boxes are a sorbet for the furniture maker – they refresh the palate between heavier and more complex pieces.  But they are also a reminder of the fundamental qualities of wood which make it a unique and living medium.

Goodbye table. I will remember your making.

Leaf - ripple sycamore dining table

It would be easy to think, looking at a calm and refined piece of furniture, that the experience of making it is equally calm and refined – a relaxed and measured series of steps that takes you from timber to table. Oh how wrong! What you see is the serene swimming swan, while under the […]

Clay, wood and beauty 3

the Anagama fired work of Shiho Kanzaki

If you’ve been reading the recent posts you’ll know that I’ve been thinking about the relationship between woodworking and ceramics, both from the practical point of view – thinking about how they complement one another and how to combine them, and from the point of view of process – wondering what is the equivalent in […]

clay, wood and beauty: 2

Paul Bradley – the maker of the pot in the previous post  – pointed me at the work of Edmund de Waal.  It’s interesting what he is saying in this video about his Japanese influences and you can see clearly how he is now very much working with ceramics in context.  No wood in sight, […]

Furniture and birdsong

With all the wonderful bird song beginning again now and Spring feeling as if it must burst out soon, I have been thinking about birdsong as an inspiration for furniture.  In my past life I worked a lot with birdsong – made lots of programmes about it from it’s biology to its beauty.  So to incorporate it […]

Furniture as sketch?

Can a piece of furniture be a sketch? Or more specifically, can it have the immediacy and energy of a sketch? That’s what’s been on my mind. Sometimes I get frustrated by the precision of “fine furniture”… it seems so accurate and so flat. Where’s the life in it? I want to shout at it. […]