Decision Time: First Stone Pot and Research

Do I change direction completely because a book I wanted was out of stock and I took a photo of a wall?   My MA was the chance to develop figurative work. Adrain Arleo hand-built the portrait of the Roman God Janus in the above image. I’ve been waiting for a book to arrive in which Adrian describes her method of constructing hollow built figures using coiling and slab techniques. In the meantime, to practice coiling technique I’ve built this, based on the photo of the wall near Lake Windermere.

No plan for it.  I just let it grow organically. Originally it was to stand on one flat’stone’, but as it grew the possibilities for display grew.  Dave suggested I did something with the original base to make the object totally multi-directional.  I tried a couple of things, but they didn’t work. I kept seeing it with a mouth and large lips!  Ended with the quadrafoil arrangement, and a small mouth. Dave doesn’t like it, but I was rather pleased to find a microscopic group of cells with the same mouth:


What do I do?  I’ve wanted to develop my figurative work for a decade.  Now Wendy and Dave think I should develop this new direction.  Alumnus, Mike agrees with them.

Found three ceramicists working with similar motifs.  I discovered  Martin Pearce, who is a British ceramicist:

And Dave showed me Ukrainian artist, Yuriy Musatov, who is inspired by clouds:

And Judit Varga, an American ceramicist. She has a varied practice, of which Pods are just a part:

Michael Brennand-Wood wouldn’t think twice.  There are 3 people working with the concave/convex motif, and hundreds working with the figure. He always looks for the path that offers most opportunity for development.

Researching this post, I found that Yuriy Musatov’s latest work includes the figure:

I’m not sure it really works for me, although I love the surface treatment. It’s something I have been considering for a couple of days.

The God Janus stands immobile at the doorway of transition,  has one face looking back, reflecting on past experience and one face looking forwards, considering new opportunities.  A pretty good metaphor for how I feel.

Oh – found another artist. Harumi Nakashima, Professor of Ceramics in arts and crafts program at Aichi University, Japan:

Just found another sculptor, Tessa Eastman, who has a series of clouds with mesh.  She says , ‘Voluminous clouds are juxtaposed with mesh structures revealing internal space. This internal/external relationship presents the void as a life force.’ She is inspired by the microscopic world:

And Peter Randall Page had made a series from Rosso Luano Marble – Shapes in Clouds, and Fructus :

I think Gurli is from Denmark.  I also think these are mostly vessel forms.  She had a diverse practice, including tableware.

Gurli Elbaekgaard

Pamela Sunday says of her sculpture:

 For years I’ve taken microscopic forms as inspiration. Each sculpture is then hand-built, starting from the basis of a simple sphere and then morphing into models that resemble magnified particles or clusters of cells. I start by sketching, then trying out the idea in clay, attaching and refining components. Once dry, the piece is bisque-fired and glazed. I’m captivated with glaze chemistry and make most of my own right here in my studio.


Barbara Frey is and American ceramicist famous for her teapots, but she also makes sculptural forms. She is Professor of Art at Texas A&M University-Commerce where she teaches all levels of ceramics. She makes relatively small scale works in porcelain:



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