Elan Valley

Oxford University Kilns

I am one of four lead firers in this project, directing firings that may take a week or more.

Of the work that I fire in the kiln, I am particularly interested in using an unglazed, bare clay, or one that has a glaze comprisingly primarily of wood ash. Different clays and different species of tree can produce very different effects, which can be further enhanced in the way the firing is controlled.

This creates pots that are specifically related to the materials and the firing, giving them a unique sense of place.

CAS: Themes of Life

A project where I made two pieces in response to the gallery’s location in Andover. Sited in the cemetery, I found it held the grave of the first airman killed in the Royal Flying Corps (RFC – the precursor to the RAF), who came from Andover and crashed close to Stonehenge, which is nearby.

My project focussed on the RFC in the First World War, beginning with the two airmen in that crash, and created two pieces for the exhibition.

The first was a full size ceramic gravestone, in the shape and cross section of a wing of that era. The front face represents the establishment view of the RFC as a memorial stone. The reverse evokes the reality of life for the pilots, sent to the front with minimal training, and an average life expectancy of two weeks once they arrived there. Parachutes were not supplied as those in command wanted to ensure the pilots did all they could to land their aircraft safely.

The second piece is a scaled down wood and fabric section of a fuselage, holding a 3×3 grid of double sided tiles contrasting different views of life in the RFC and the activities they carried out. This let people explore and contrast many aspects of the RFC, and create their own story.