The night before my gap crit I found myself at a bit of a loss on what to do. Disheartened with my ideas inspired by indigenous tribes, I went to the library and submerged myself in looking at books on ceramic sculpture. I found myself hugely drawn to one called ‘500 Ceramic Figure Sculptures’, which particularly excited me. I have become increasingly interested in producing figurative sculptures, as I love the feeling of creation this provides and the sense that I am breathing new life into the clay. They produce feelings of protection within me, which I do not get from making any other pieces. Maybe this comes from the time and care which is poured into their creation.
Still very excited about using the earthy coloured glazes, with tints on top and having received a lot of positive feedback about my watercolours, I felt that it would be a good idea to incorporate these two strands into my piece. I drew designs for three figures who would be interacting with nature each in their own way. They would be a lot smaller than pieces I have created previously; the sitting figure above would reach about 30cm high. I feel that this would enable me to concentrate on producing more detailed pieces and would make the firing and glazing processes more straightforward. Below are the three designs for the positioning of each figure. The first would be sitting down, touching a finger to the surface. The figure would be looking towards this hand, which would have flowers growing up it. Where the figure’s body touches the surface from its sitting position, there would also be flowers sprouting and growing, but the figure would seem unaware of this. The next figure would be sitting upon a plinth peering at its cupped hands in which there would be a dead bumble bee (this has become an important symbol for me to demonstrate environmental issues) and similarly, where the figure touches the surface, flowers would be growing up, but again the figure would appear oblivious to this. Finally, standing (or revised, lying down as standing may be too high and fragile and I like the idea of incorporating the embryo position) the 3rd figure would be looking at a stalk of forget-me-not, which is a very important flower to me personally, but I feel that it also holds a lot of meaning within its name. Again where the figure is making contact with the surface either with its feet if standing or side if lying, there would be flowers emerging.
I feel that these ideas are somewhat inspired by an image I came across and immediately liked, a little while ago (below). I feel this piece captures a serene and harmonious connection with nature, which I would like to achieve in my own work. I would also like to attempt in my pieces to suggest that we should not take this relationship with nature for granted as it is already under threat and severely strained through our over consumption and destruction of natural resources.