When lockdown started, I was caught short: an order of clay waiting for me in Yorkshire, daily emails cancelling events and exhibitions, more time on my hands than I’ve had for years and limited materials to fill those hours. Kurinuki, or “carving out”, is a Japanese hand building technique, where you begin with a block of clay and carve out the centre. Once the interior is hollowed, you are able to score, carve, tear and cut away at the exterior. The clay itself dictates its form as much as the creator. This technique, in so many ways opposite to the work I produce in “normal times”, gave me a chance to connect with the material, slow down and just focus on creating with out inhibitions or pre-conceived designs.
Living in Carlisle, meant no lack of green space available for daily walks but the fells, and coast felt impossibly distant and unobtainable. I used extra time to focus on the garden, to coax as much greenery as I could from the slowly warming earth to counteract the factories, chimneys and red Victorian brick of Denton Holme.
The Kurinuki pots were finished with a wash of black iron oxide and a green glaze the impossibly bright colour of new spring leaves. Its jagged, rough textured walls are reminisent of the crags, deserted rock strewn pathways and river tumbled rocks littering our coast. This little pot, small enough to be cradled in the palm of my hand, carried in my pocket, became a talisman and reminder of all that waited to be rediscovered.
This too shall pass.