Judith DaviesImage Gallery

Contact Details

Studio: 10 Claremont Place, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, England, NE8 1TL. View in Google Maps
Telephone: +44 (0)1914773459
Email:
Availability: Must phone first. Directions: Taking the A65 north from Ingleton, turn off at the second right turn, signed Far Westhouse and Thornton-in-Lonsdale. Take the next left, up a narrow lane. Westhouse Farm is a few hundred yards up the lane.
Last Updated: 2014-03-17

Artist Statement

Artist Statement

I trained as a painter originally, then as an illustrator, only discovering clay through evening classes years later. I returned to education and studied at Goldsmiths’. I was fortunate in receiving excellent teaching, which not only taught me technical skills but encouraged me to consider what I wanted to express through the medium of clay. I found a connection to materials and an immersion in the process of making, an organic sense of the clay and myself working together to grow creatively. Slowly coiling my work became a sort of ritual, a rhythm, through which I regained a sense of myself, something I had lost through my first, naïve experience of education where I, like malleable clay, had been squeeze and moulded out of shape, into a form I barely recognised.

Since Goldsmiths’ I have continued to make work, now from my calm, rural studio on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. The work is concerned primarily with two things, with the connection of the vessel to the body and with the journey of the firing and the transformative effect of what takes place inside the kiln. My work is slowly coiled from porcelain, I push at the parameter, of what I can do with this material, thinning and stretching as I coil. I want the ethereal quality, the polished plaster surface that only porcelain gives, difficult and demanding as it is. I make forms that are curved, that swell and stretch and have subtle undulations and turns, reflecting the landscape of the body.

For the last few years there have been two rather separate strands to what I make; figurative torsos and heads that are closed, sculptural forms and more abstracted vessel forms, with openings. I am currently working towards bringing these together to form a new body of work. This connection to the body, especially the female torso is powerful for me. It encompasses both the ancient and archaic and the contemporary neurotic obsession with the physical, also the contemporary notion of the body as a fragile and fragmented thing. We raise the image of the female torso to iconic, and then reduce it to object, for sale. We both venerate, as symbol of nature, of life-giver, and abuse and mutilate through acts of femicide and domestic violence. My work reflects this complexity-using porcelain gives a certain coolness, an ethereal quality that suggests the icon or Cycladic marble figures. The fragmentary form suggests disconnection, the openings, womb-like interiority.

I fire my work in a saggar with additions of oxides, salt and copper. This fumes the work, marrying together the form and the surface to create an effect that gives an atmosphere, almost a history to the ceramic piece. At the risk of pretentiousness, I would say that the firing replicates a journey, in parallel to life’s journey in which experience marks the body. The surface appears layered, like a drawing, with fumed colour and markings. When I burnish the work prior to the firing I do it when the slip layer is slightly wet, producing a rippled effect, I also scratch into the surface, and sometimes abrade back after the firing. My surfaces are not ‘perfect’, I am not interested in perfection.

I also make smaller pieces that are pinched and coiled, burnished and fired in a similar way. These are mainly vessel and bowl forms, with undulating rims.

Current Work

Current Work

Hand-built vessel forms and sculptural ceramics. Coiled from porcelain, saggar fired.

Judith's work is available from, Bluecoats Display Centre, Liverpool and Hart Gallery, Islington, London.

Technical Information

Technical Information

Laser gas kiln [propane] Saggar, made of fire bricks with added seaweed, salt and mainly copper carbonate. Fired to 1150c.

History

History

Born in 1955.

Studied painting and illustration at Manchester Polytechnic, B.A. Illustration in 1978. Worked as a freelance illustrator, then as a mural painter and specialist in trompe l’oeil paint effects. Began working with clay after visiting Mexico and seeing Pre-Columbian ceramics. Studied at Goldsmiths’, Postgraduate in Ceramics [distinction] 1992.

Moved to the North of England and set up a workshop in a converted farm building. Experimented with saggar firing and began to work with porcelain, firing to higher temperatures in order to obtain paler, more luminous colours.

Teaches both ceramics and drawing and is available for lectures, demonstrations and workshops.

Exhibitions and Awards

Exhibitions and Awards

Solo Exhibitions:

2009
Hart Gallery, Vessels, London
2008
Craft and Design Centre Ceramic Showcase, Leeds City Art Gallery
2007
Hart Gallery, Vessels, London

Group Exhibitions:

2008
‘Salt box Gallery, Helmsley, North Yorkshire
Ceramic Art London’, Royal College of Art
2007
Catmose Gallery, Vase Showcase, Oakham
Lund Gallery, Easingwold

2006
London Art Fair, represented by the Hart Gallery
‘Go Figure’ Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool
Hart Gallery Nottingham
Bircham Gallery, Holt Norfolk
Gallery 23, Lancaster

2005
Gallery 23, Lancaster
Alpha House Gallery, Sherborne Dorset
Hart Gallery, Islington

2004
Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool
Spiral Gallery, Settle, North Yorkshire
Ornskoldsvik Gallery, Sweden

2003
Spiral Gallery, Settle, North Yorkshire
Biscuit Factory, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Park St Gallery, Ashborne
Montpellier Gallery, Stratford on Avon

2000
Laburnum Ceramics, Penrith

1999
Peter Scott Gallery, Lancaster University
Brewery Art Centre, Kendal
Bluecoat Display Centre, Liverpool
Peter Scott Gallery, Lancaster

1996
Northern Potters, Mercer Gallery, Harrogate

1994
Young Designers, Business Design Centre, London
‘Bows Arts’, Concourse Gallery, Barbican, London

Awards:

Fletcher Challenge Award, New Zealand



 

Work Styles

Work Styles

Porcelain
Handbuilt
Burnished
Sculptural
Kitchen & Tableware
Saggar
Gas