We have known Eddie for quite a while now and waited patiently for his unique ceramics. The wait is over soon, mid September will see the first batch of work.
The inspiration for my work originally came on a chance visit to the stretch of Beach at Seaham, on the North East coast known as 'The Blast'. A beach that had long connections to an industrial past, and formerly contaminated with all that industry, particularly mining, leaves behind. My work celebrates the natural regeneration that, left to it's devices, the forces of nature can bring; items long discarded and bereft of their usefulness, beaten, battered and worn now re – presented with barnacled encrustations and only a hint of their previous life. I use simple devices such as 'angle iron' - to convey man's interventions. All of my work is completely ceramic, there are no actual metals attached.
More recently my work has become informed by itself; I no longer need to revisit that original site for inspiration. It has become a natural progression. Today I see references of nature's constant interaction with what man has left behind all along the North East Coast. At Sandsend, just north of Whitby there are rows of groynes, now unconnected and standing quite upright, like steles or solitary sculptures that punctuate the shore. I never want to interpret what I see literally, I see no point. I rather want to convey the sense, or experience of what I see.
"It's noisy, intense and very exciting, a force cajoled rather than controlled, and never tamed."
I have been making ceramics for nearly all my working life, perfecting technique and accumulating a repertoire of responses that I can call upon as the need arises. My approach is largely empirical, a required attitude if one is to garner gainful results when responding to the unexpected consequences thrown up when working with such base elements as earth and fire.
I work with a large brick built kiln, constructed by myself over twenty-five years ago. It stands some seven feet tall and six feet wide and is powered by two oil burners, driven by compressed air. It's noisy, intense and very exciting, a force cajoled rather than controlled, and never tamed. The burners roar, the flames leap out of each tiny crack in the walls of the kiln, and the heat is searing.
A typical firing will last perhaps fourteen hours and achieve a temperature in excess of 1300degrees centigrade. I tend the kiln for the duration of the firing, making adjustments to the burn rate and controlling the internal atmosphere. At critical temperatures it is important to have a good command of the atmosphere inside of the kiln.
Copper red glazes, which have become my passion, require working within a narrow set of technical parameters if they are to be successful. They rely on a reduction atmosphere where the fire is partially starved of oxygen and the only recourse is for the flame to seek out what oxygen it might find from the elements in the ceramics materials themselves. Consequently, a copper glaze which will take on a green colour in a fully oxidised firing, will if successfully controlled, become a beautiful and highly prized shade of red in a reduction firing.
On a successful piece the story of the firing will be evident on the surface of the glaze, with perhaps 'bleached' white areas showing where the flame has impinged and licked the very colour completely from the pot.