"Faded words, decaying surfaces, peeling wallpaper, and flaking paint - history is richly documented all around us, often in the most overlooked of places"
My love of ageing surfaces often lands me quizzical looks when I'm caught taking snaps of rusty metal, flaking paint and other crumbling derelict stuff! Images of urban deterioration, weathered and worn surfaces, the collections at the British Museum and the V&A, as well as Cities such as Paris and Barcelona particularly inspire me.
My work encompasses my interests in nostalgia and the power of time. The effect time has on our surroundings and surfaces, as well as the change and progression caused by its passage is particularly intriguing. It creates beauty in the old and abandoned, and locks history into our surroundings.
This idea of history being ‘locked’ in our surroundings is unmistakable in old houses, where layer upon layer of wallpaper, plaster and paint is often found; the present generation literally papering over the past. Peeling back those layers reveals this history, uncovering secrets and memories from those that lived there before, much like an archaeological discovery. These concepts prompted me to begin researching my own ancestry and family tree.
The idea of archaeology became another key interest of mine, and this quote by Julian Thomas (Professor of Archaeology) who ironically was born in my home town of Epsom, Surrey is particularly inspiring:
‘[Archaeology] evokes notions of the repressed, the lost and the forgotten, and the drama of discovery which are often spatialised in terms of the relationship between depth and surface.’
The ceramic pieces I make draw inspiration from these notions of ancestry and generations. My collection ‘Uncovering my Roots’ is based upon three generations and individuals from my family: Thomas born in 1881, Charles born in 1844, and Mary born in 1810. My aim was to create a ‘family’ of objects, each one representing one of these eras, and collectively documenting the passage of time. When stood in sequence, the deteriorated surface of each piece peels to reveal the surface from the generation before.
These three pieces in particular celebrate British history and my heritage. They induce memories and a sense of nostalgia. They are reminiscent of archaeological relics, using historical British wallpapers, and forms to reveal the past and expose history. Each piece is unique evoking an emotional response from those who encounter them.