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My grandfather was a carpenter and his passion was repairing antique clocks. Much of my childhood was spent by his side watching him work on the clocks in his large basement workshop. The ceiling was a sea of Mason jars with the lids nailed into the beams, the natural light shining through the high basement windows glint off the glass and the metal parts they contained, and to me, it looked like a wonderful, ever changing sculpture. My grandfather would reach up and unscrew jar after jar, placing small weights and various movements on the table and with specialized tools he would begin to put them together within the workings of the clock. I was amazed at how many of these little pieces fit so intricately together to create the simple movement of the hands and pendulum, all the while the space was filled with the rhythmic sounds of dozens of these clock’s pendulums lobbing back and forth in synch with the ticking of the hands on each face. These vivid memories are intertwined in my work.
My raku ceramic sculpture is created from many pieces and each has a relationship to the other in order to complete the whole. Raku can be broken down into its own components; the elements, earth, fire, water, and air and each are considered for their function, like the parts of the clock, they must work together. In working with bare surface techniques combined with raku, I attempt to achieve an atmospheric quality, which is a balance of the reflection and absorption of light.
Ancestry is my most recent series and it is an exploration into my heritage. The Orkney Isles off of Scotland have been home to my father’s family for centuries. The isles have served those that have lived off the land and the sea, both presenting challenges. Weight of the Wind, one of my sculptures in the series, was inspired by the assemblages seen off of the north face of farmhouse roofs on the Orkneys, as the winds off the North Sea never cease and cause roofs to break way to these winds; ropes run over the roof and are weighted down with rocks, buoys filled with sand and other heavy objects. The Orkneys are home to many artists and they will tell you that they love the light and that it is different there then anywhere else. That light and the elements that play out in extreme are an inspiration to my work within this series.
“In the course of a single day you can see, in that immensity of sky, the dance of sun, cloud, sea-mist, thunder, rain.”
George Mackay Brown, Orkney Poet.