Connecting & Belonging
Sculpture project 2020
It has been my great privilege and joy this year to immerse in the process of dreaming in, designing and creating a series of four ceramic 'Beings, Devas, Entities', for Jeremy and Zarine of Hill Cottage Retreat Centre, Knighton, Wales.
Covid19 and the Creative Process
'Fleeting brilliance had just recieved her first firing, when Covid19 steered the country into a state of lockdown.
My husband and I became unable to see clients or teach classes. Fortunately I work from a studio in my garden, so I could continue my creative practice, once the initial sense of reeling and adaptation had settled. We had been poised to put our house on the market, but suddenly that was off the menu, with planting seeds and readying the veggie patch the new priority, along with fielding shopping for and shielding my elderly parents (who live adjacent to us).
Lockdown enabled me to give every task a much deeper-than-usual attention, free from much of the usual distractions of external commitments. A profound sense of stillness, as traffic noises and human activity diminished, fell upon the land; while simultaneously the spring activity of nesting birds, beautiful flowers and new growth continued. Our house is in quite a wild location, by the sea, at the mouth of a river estuary near Machynlleth in Wales. Not the busiest of places out of holiday season, but even here we felt everything slowing down and the wild edges creeping in.
Finishing and Installing
A generous friend agreed to fire the sculptures for me in his tall kiln, so I ventured out several times on the empty roads to drive over and leave things to be fired while collecting bisque fired pieces to bring home for finishing.
I chose to finish the Beings mainly with coloured oxides (manganese and iron). This helps to bring out the patterning, giving depth to the forms and clarity to the outlines of creatures.
By the time the first three sculptures were completely ready, lockdown restrictions had eased, so that I was able to take them over to install in their true home at Hill Cottage. It was a very joful day, presenting the work to Jeremy and Zarine and the spirits of the land there!
The Fourth Being: 'Flow'
Continuing the format of a hollow vessel, with carved out patterning to allow in light and air, this Being is designed more specifically to interact with water.
Destined to reside in the waters of the natural swimming pond, she channels rain water via tube-like Arum Lily forms at her back. Hopefully when installed she will also receive water into her bowl via a pump, as part of the renewal process in the pond.
Currently she is waiting to dry out before her first firing.
The waters of Life continue to flow, into new patterns, directions and reflections.
Zarine beautifully expresses her hope, along with Jeremy and myself, "that these 'Beings, Devas, Entities' will inspire reflection and joy. Their identity is as fluid as the elements and our intention is that the positive, loving energy imbued within them, along with the nurturing place that is Hill Cottage, will be supportive of any who wish to share the symbolic company of each 'Being'."
Anne Thomas, July 2020