When I went on holiday to Greece I decided to take some clay with me to experiment using the traditional bread oven as a method of firing the clay. First I dried the clay so that it was lighter to carry and I could then add water on arrival to use it.
I'd been doing some research around the ancient goddess figures such as the Venus of Willendorf and the Venus of Holhe Fels and thinking about how our ideals of beauty have changed such that pregnancy, which would have been seen as a miracle historically, has become something to be hidden away, how we don't honour the gift of life and how 'fat' is seen as one of the worst things someone could be in our culture.
Nestled in the mountains with only a short walk to the sea, I am inspired by the land, the abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables and the idea of Mother Nature, her generosity and open-ness. It was in reflecting on these ideas that brought me to creating my first, small, Mama Gaia Vessel, a rotund, fully breasted sculpture to honour the land and the earth.
Sadly the weather took a turn for the worst and my vessel took longer to dry so it was only the night before we were due to leave that I could try and fire my work. I duly placed it in the old bread oven, gradually adding wood and moving it closer to the ceramic. At night I added more wood and left it to the hands of the goddess. Unfortunately I needed to keep the fire going longer as, whilst it was fired, it was still quite soft so I had to re-fire when I got home again.
This figure has inspired me to make bigger, larger figures for the summer exhibition - V.O.L.T. in June 2018.