By golly golly….this is unusual!

Beads, beads, beads, I have a great fascination with beads. Ancient civilizations are exhumed by archaeologists and they are judged by their beads, their finery, their jewelers, their adornment. I felt, “Would I not like to participate in this millennial cycle, that I could make objects, that would reach 5000 years into the future as the Egyptians? Yes of course!” Every creative person would love to be remembered. My bowls are already in museums, there is no challenge there. The challenge now is to make other objects that may just make it into museums, to make other object that will be revered and to create opportunity.

Jobs, jobs, jobs, this is what my country needs. We are going through the forth industrial revolution, apps are replacing people, but can you get an app to string beads…No! Therefore I attempted to create object that will go on to create joy, pleasure, jobs, opportunity and inspiration to other creative people. My needs are components for other creative people to use. And so it is very exciting working with fashion designers, jewelry designers, architects, mosaicist and who ever comes my way, I welcome into the folds and I say, “Are these beads not very exciting?” For they are, they have been created by somebody who is over qualified for bead making.

I invent the most complicated beads that can be invented. I like with my porcelain bowls hope to baffle and cajole the senses to confuse, to bombast and to reducible common sense in favor of a complex tiny object, which cries to one, “Who on on earth puts that much effect into something not much bigger than a corn corneal. This is outrages. In this busy age where everyone has somewhere they are rushing to. How the hell can this guy be sitting, putting little triangular sections into beads, how can he be creating these tiny ostrich shell like fragments, how can he be working with such admonition, forgetting time and therefor making his passage safe into timelessness”. For in thousand of years time people will scratch upon their heads and say, “By golly golly….this is unusual”.

By Golly Plates!

Plates, plates, plates, oh how they make you weep. They crack in the making process, they crack in the firing process, they crack when you turn your back and you are not sure exactly when the crack creep in, but there it is.

Porcelain is not suited to plate making. Porcelain is piroplastic at its highest temperature and therefore the plate will change shape in the kiln, it will relax. So you will have to anticipate for this, and make the plate far deeper than you are wanting it to be at the end. This is porcelain memory, it remembers its original state and at high temperatures it tries to move back into a previous shape that it once was. This is very complected for me as a designer. I do not like it, I do not like it at all.

Thus, what I like to do is not make plates. The trouble with not making plates, is the fact that plates are rather popular, far more popular than I would like. I have made over twelve and a half thousand bowls. I absolutely love making bowls, porcelain wants to be a bowl. It looks at me and it screams “make me into a bowl”, it begs and says, “no not a plate” and normally it gets its way and I make a bowl, and I am very happy with my bowl. But some days there is the challenge and you look at it and say, “No not today, today you will not be a bowl, you will be a plate.” Those days are the days that I grow creativity. I can experiment with surface and design in ways I can not on a bowl.

I use to charge far less for a plate than I did for a bowl. The reason for this is because, I believed the plates were crap. However when I look back at photographs of these plates I think, no, I was delusional, these plates are flipping marvelous. And so, often it is, as change, causes the mind to rebel, so to, looking at a new work out of the kiln, freshly changed from how you made it you despair and say to yourself, “this is no good”. It is only the managing your expectations as a designer that you can tap in to what is really happening. The fruit of hard work is a necessary, forcing the medium to do exactly what you want. It is the tango between the medium and you. Sometimes it takes a step, sometimes you take a step. But greatness is achieved when the medium take a step, and when that step is a nodal step, a marvelous step a step to be celebrated.

And thus, I came to the conclusion that these plates, although in my first estimation were absolutely no good. By having had the time to forget my expectation on how they should look. As time washes away everything eventually. Looking at them objectively, I think to myself, “By golly, these are masterpieces”, although I don’t make many and I struggle with them, these are masterpieces. And thus I have decided, that these should not be discounted comparatively to my bowls. They should just stand next to the bowl as equal.

The secret gelatin

My Grandmother was the daughter of a very gifted chemist.

He had worked out a way of super refining gelatin. His company and a French company, had the global monopoly of photographic gelatin. Kodak was there main client. I must still have a photo of the factory somewhere…I must look for it.

The Nazis kidnapped my Great Grandfather, and beat him for his super refining gelatin secret recipe. They bet him continuously in circular rooms made of concrete beams planted upright in the earth. You could not escape from your tormentor. As you fell against one side you were beaten until you fell against the other side. He died with his secret.

His son continued the factory, but without the recipe, they made gummy bears. Their prosperity was nothing of what it had been formally.

This family story has been given me, from a very young age, a belief in research, research, research, research and more research.

Wade with me through the Yolk of Life

Sometimes you only know what you’re doing when you look back and see what it is you have done, always making small changes desperate see that I had some kind of effect upon things. So becoming an artist now with hindsight is a natural path. You can identify the effect you have had both on a daily basis, by counting the number of bowls completed but also the secondary wave of stories that come back to me as the maker. How my commentary challenged others to move forward with their love. How the beauty of found objects is rediscovered the world cracked open like a fresh egg.

Wade with me through the yolk of life.

Colliding with Cern

With thanks to the surrealist artist and video extraordinaire, Peter Van Straten. Sometimes it takes a surrealist to distill what is real and worth mentioning.

Wish me luck!