Writing is a significant part of my practice. I use it as a tool for capturing some of my experiences of the world, for research in a more formal sense and for communicating some of the ideas behind my work.
In 2018, I completed my first publication Material Perspectives with support from Arts Council England, designed by Emily Benton. The book explores different ideas that recur through my work including Thresholds, Objects, Vessels, Lines and the act of making itself. The book can be purchased from Yellow Chrome or by e mailing me directly. A chapter of the book is added below.
from Material Perspectives, 2018
One of the joys of making is the way in which things emerge spontaneously. I will put two pieces next to each other and their relationship will say something new, or I will be casting plaster and the join of the mould makes an interesting mark on the piece. I think this happens to all makers. It is how my subconscious shows itself, and one of the ways in which making is a conversation not just with my ideas and myself but with the material as well. It is the main reason why making is, and must be, first and foremost about action.
I was creating a new body of work when lines started to occur and reoccur in my work, emerging seemingly autonomously in sketchbooks, on models and in photographs. Once I saw a pattern, I began exploring them.
Lines are fundamentally lonely creatures – isolated from each other, they never meet. A line cannot meet another line or any part of itself without becoming a form, which destroys its identity.
Lines are travellers of the world, traversing great distances across maps, and marking out the paths of rivers passing from one country to another. They cross eons, cultures and arguments, joining lovers and separating nations. They destroy (lines of fire) and divide (borders), but they also link (having a ‘line in’). They can be held over time, over distance. They are the physicality of the prison bar or the invisible moral barrier that may both protect and restrain.
Lines are woven threads; in silk, in thoughts, in words, in voices. They mix but remain individual, travelling separate roads, ready to unravel or to unwind.
Lines always have a start and a finish, even if they can’t be seen. They join, and define but never hold: if they hold, they are a shape or form. The line is opposed to the vessel; the latter must be able to hold, the former never can. Relationships between lines, such as parallel lines, are intangible - they are relationships only of inference. The line is tangentially associated with the space in-betweenwhich is a space corralled by lines. Lines lead and direct: they move, transition and transform; they are bridges or paths. They are tangible and intangible: ‘a line in the sand’ or the moral lines of a code of behaviour for example. Lines or marks that travel in different directions create tension, holding a piece together – they frame, contain and give definition.
Investigating lines led to ‘demarcations’. Like lines demarcations indicate the boundaries of something, but unlike lines, which can only contain by corralling (by holding between and not within), the word demarcation holds within it the word of ‘mark’. Mark(both verb and noun) encompasses the idea of the line (the visible impression or trace) and, crucially, the idea of spaceor the marking off or delineation of something. A demarcation is like a hole in that it weaves together both a line and a space.
Unlike the line then, the demarcation can be a form as well as something that marks and delineates. This reconciles the inflexibility of the line as a boundary with the need to mark off and articulate the different spaces in which we experience things, and these previously separated spaces instead become demarcatedspaces across which thresholds can form and one space can speak to another. Demarcated spaces are not banished from one another, bound by the lines that separate opposites, but are spaces with porous boundaries that can both give and take.
Demarcations speak of what it is to be human, to leave a trace, a mark or an indentation on the things that we have touched as we pass by. These traces are the touches and marks that make imperfections in handmade work so intriguing and communicative. These objects speak of what it is to be human, not of what it is to be perfected by a machine. In them you can see the traces of the person who made the piece, and the narratives within.