CC: Well, it is the Fred Astaire of ceramics. It's really incredible actually to see this object in front of me. I know of his work. It's been taught in college and I haven't read a lot about him, only in the fact that he's great. Everyone seems to talk about him like that. But in seeing it formally it's just incredibly sophisticated. I quite like the way he talks about not liking the material too much, using it because it was a means to the end. I find that interesting when makers talk about material as a way at play, as a material which is there to make what they want to make, not just because of the love of material. It can be a bit yawnful sometimes when people talk about the love of the material all the time, when in fact it's there to make a beautiful object as well, like this. It's incredible simplicity of form, and that weight, it's kind of one, two, three and then the mark ... this mark as well.
MP: You can pick it up if you want.
CC: I was afraid that that weight would just fall off. [video clip starts] Oh it's just incredible, it's incredible. I never thought it would be as beautiful as that. You get that sense of presence of it as well, the way it holds a space where it can exist quietly. Looking at it through photographs you get the feeling that it's a big piece of work because it seems to demand a lot of space, and the kind of formal compositions of the line and the incised line, it's quite serious. It has a lot of weight and seriousness. But it has a lovely stillness, [it's] really quite beautiful. [video clip ends]
The surface here, as well, is that egg shell, that almost skin-like quality. And the complexities of the layers seems very simplified when you first view it, but then it starts to reveal these f layers of the way it's been thrown, the thrown line, which is more evident on the inside; I've got a lot more of that, that inside line which is recorded, but also left with the glaze to enhance it. But then it's lost on the exterior, which is a really nice combination or reflection of the inside and the outside. And that volume as well, that dark space just seems to kind of echo, [there's] something very haunting about that interior against that really white, pure outside.
It [has] really interesting figurative qualities as well, [the] body you talk about in terms of a vessel having the belly and the neck, and [you] use those terms to talk about vessels. But also it [has] bodily references. It's almost the crease in the skin of this translucency of pale, delicate skin, like that there. You get various layers happening. There's a painting by Piero della Francesco of the Baptism of Christ in the National Gallery , and he's the body, his skin is almost porcelain-like, you can almost see what's happening beneath the paint. And there's that similarity here that he's still seeing something beneath the glaze, the clay body, but also the way he's worked that surface.
Yes, [it's] quite extraordinary. And also that, that view. This view here, getting very different arrangements. You get this really, really delicate line where the mark has been made. I don't know whether it's been hit or carefully drawn, but you also get a very delicate line that leads from that crease into the body there, whether it was just a suggestion of where the hand has just tailed off very slightly and a mark is still left. Yes, [it's] wonderful.
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