The big pot project, 2015
Terracotta Crank (clay)
and participants.

Residency at Bonington Gallery, Nottingham
as part of Returns exhibition. 

The material pushes back

The material pushes back – it is a haptic process, not a passive recipient of the maker’s will.  

There is an exchange, an interchange; I push and a mark appears. 

If I push harder the material cracks, pulls apart. It re-forms in a different way. There is a response to my touch and I respond in return as the material mutates. 

There are limits to what can be done – there is an optimal wetness or firmness for these particular movements and this specific consistency lends itself to my responding in this way – rolling out coils for example – but I can only add so many layers before I need to let the half-built vessel settle, consolidate, wait for the wetness to seep out, for the clay particles to amalgamate into solidity, to acquire the strength to hold the weight burden of new material.  

If I push on regardless, the walls will slump and sag, the upright pot will slacken, opening out into a bowl and maybe beyond that into collapse and failure. It is a patient process and cannot be hurried.