My mother taught me very
early to cook but I did not discover how fire could also transform clay
until I was in my thirties. Although my ceramic work has never been
overtly political, it was through joining the Women's Movement in the
seventies that I became a potter; my political engagement led, curiously,
to my commitment to clay.
click on image for more photos
I have stayed with the basic techniques of pottery and use very simple
methods. Either I pinch: that is I start with a ball of clay and slowly
hollow it until the shape is formed; or I roll out and then bend and
curve the clay. Layers of coloured slip are painted on, the surfaces
are burnished and the work is low-fired to a temperature of about 1000c.
Sometimes I will then smoke or second fire the pot. Finally everything
is lightly polished with beeswax. The permeability of the walls, which
results from the low firing temperature, is a way of suggesting a link
between the inside and the outside of the form that has fluency and
ease. Water can seep in and out. A breath might pass through. The eye
may even be able to enter the forms that are closed. The walls, though
made of many layers, are only just holding their shape. The pots, I
think, emerge more from my memories of holding and of being held than
from any study of art or nature.