I find it so heartening that potent ideas can emerge from our lowest points.
I was at a very low ebb in my time working in further education, and it was during the lunch breaks in the staffroom, when I became distracted from my self pitying boredom, and I noticed – and was amused by - the variety of methods people used to peel their oranges. I started collecting the debris, people saved their peel for me, I developed quite a collection. Peel became my new tool or medium.
Investigations & Studies
Studies of ageing fruit in watercolour helped the focus on peel. I was particularly fascinated by the black spores which formed over time.
Inspired by an exhibition of Picasso (his work being inspired by Matisse), led to a series of acrylic paintings and an exhibition ‘Journey with Orange I’ in Archie Brown’s Café in Truro in 2009.
Having removed (in one peeling), and devoured the fruit of its juicy contents, I explored returning the remaining peel to its fine, original, near-spherical form drawing the edges of the peel together with stitch. This created a ‘secure’, empty container with a intricate history, and suggested to me some new possibilities in ceramic… It also suggested links with some works of Barbara Hepworth and Naum Gabo.
Drying and flattening pieces of peel, and utilizing an old trouser press, I found potential for stitching these leathery
pieces of flat peel.
... and now,
In my studio I am currently working on small porcelain sculptures. The overall theme is Nourishment (in its broadest sense). Citrus peel has been used as the mould for each sculptural piece. I have chosen grapefruit for this process (I have grown to love its sweet/sour taste - and it produces a slightly bigger result). Each sculpture is individual, either formed from its own individual peel, or from dried and re-used peel (a process which produces a slightly different peel shape each time it is re-used).
Each porcelain piece is now extracted from its peel mould, and bisque fired. It is then transparent-glazed to prepare for the final,
cooler firing with gold lustre.
Whilst I have completed a number of sculptures displayed on black wooden plinths, I am experimenting with various other presentation possibilities, with plinths of different materials.
I have installation plans.
These small pieces are ultimately planned as maquettes for scaled up sculptures (by eye and/or digitally) for outdoor and site-specific display,