IMG_1082Before writing this blog, I came from my studio and noticed some broken pieces of industrial rubber sitting by the curb. Hardened from weathering and worn by vehicles driving over them, the crackled black surface retained a striking yellow streak. To most, their presence would go unnoticed, but to me, as a ceramic artist, they possessed a visual potential that I instinctively knew could lead to a new series of works.

IMG_7265It may seem obvious to say that observation is an invaluable part of an artist’s practice, but for me, it’s a research method and form of image collection that I have developed over the years – from drawing and painting in sketchbooks and making cardboard maquettes to forming slabs in clay. Observation has become as integral to my process as making and firing, and without the ability to observe and record my surroundings I think my work would be very different.

I like the notion that from a small mark on a wall, a spray-painted number on a paving slab, a rusted sheet of corrugated metal or broken piece of rubber, it is possible to see beyond ideas of unsightly detritus and reinterpret those markings or objects through the creative process.

IMG_7781I’ve been working with clay for the past 20 years. For me, clay is a material that’s always challenging, yet ideal for creating the forms I wish to make. It can be unpredictable, and hard work, but ultimately rewarding and gives me scope to define my interest in the relationship between industry and nature. Working with clay also means working with a specific series of tools: a kiln, cutting and rolling equipment, slips, oxides and glazes are all vital to the physical process of ceramics, but something that’s invaluable to me and an integral part of my own creative process, is the ability to observe the world around me and to translate these observations into clay.

Rebecca Appleby, September 2016RA_ceramic

Rebecca Appleby | Urban Palimpsest  is on show at New Craftsman from 10 September to 8 October alongside Matthew Lanyon | In The Tracks of the Yellow Dog, with sculpture by Breon O’Casey and ceramics by Matthew Chambers.

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