Clay: It’s the Good Stuff

potter-marksMake your mark: Clare comes to regular sessions at the studio & is now practicing her throwing. Recently we chatted a bit about sustainability and the responsibilities we have as makers. It’s a tough one. There’s been a lot of talk about plastic recently & there’s always talk about stuff and wether we really need it – particularly on the run up to Christmas. People have formed clay for 20,000 years & a lot of what we know about our past can be learnt through these artefacts. We’re moulded & capacious, it’s moulded & giving: perhaps that’s why so many people connect with it. It records stories: cultural, social, material, social, economic etc… I know I’d rather have something that tells a story, any story. I think making and buying things that asks something of you is affirming. Producing also involves risk. Learning to let go is important. I know I’d rather have opportunities to fail & reflect on my life. There’s plenty of opportunity for that in ceramics. It’s my best friend.

Also… we’ve needed to start using stamps for ages. I’d intended to do this when I first started Sunken Studio but forgot! They’re now more important than ever. There’s a lot of work going through the kiln & these will help optimise loads.

It’s not just a shelf

On the 4th August 2017 I was listening to the Last Word on BBC Radio 4. I heard a recording of Mark Wilkinson talking about furniture. He said “I want furniture that is affirmative not demanding. I don’t want to be nagged by my environment. I want to be comforted. I want it to speak to me of myself”. His candour resonated. Materials and the things we choose to live with are important and you should enjoy the things you choose to share your space and time with.

Here’s a piece of my furniture, and the things on it, that make me very happy. It’s 606 Universal Shelving designed by Dieter Rams and now manufactured and sold by Vitsoe. I spent last year saving for it & when I left my job I nearly changed my mind but… “sod it, bendy, precarious, Billy has to go!”. It’s the last sizeable, totally indulgent treat, I bought.

There have been some massive lows in the past 15 months but, although there have been some truly shitty bits, on the whole the changes have been for the best and I’m happier for it. I guess I’m mentioning this now as it’s important not to be nagged by anything… including furniture. It’s not just a bookshelf…