Take a lump of clay, roll it into long, thin sausages which you then coil, et voila! A pot. It's just like painting, really; you take a bunch of oils, a few brushes and a sheet of canvas and hey presto! Right?
We can show you the materials, process and techniques employed by (Eliza Jayne and Ian Harris, both very similar in fact; but an explanation for why they produce such different work is far more elusive. Art is a manifestation of imagination which is unique to the individual; there is something fascinating about witnessing the transition of ideas to object – try our Masterclass series on Sculpture for a deeper analysis – because the making of art is the only time artists are intrinsically involved with their creations. Once completed, the work is no longer of the creator but exists as a separate entity. This is not to imply the works somehow obtain a life of their own but that the dynamic, living connection which exists between maker and work-inprogress is no longer present.
As it happens, there is a strong connection with our pair of potters. When Eliza found herself questioning what she really wanted to do to earn a crust, it was pottery that kept recurring on her wish list – but she wasn't sure why... Pottery had never featured heavily in her school art work but, nevertheless, she turned to her former art teacher, Ian, for advice. The rest is history. In just a few short years they are now contemporaries and Ian is justly proud of his former pupil – with good reason: Eliza was one of only six chosen to represent The Prince's Foundation at the Ideal Home Exhibition in March this year, her first commercial exhibition and a great stepping stone to wider recognition.
To use that old saw, Ian's vases are inspired by nature; in his case, quite literally. A critical point of inspiration occurred when, digging an old, cracked gourd from his pocket, he was struck by how beautiful, adaptable and practical the form was. The curved base, with its sharp, serrated edges, inspired the creation of a range of uniquely curving bowls. Ian says "It's a bit like a jazz musician taking a basic theme and extemporising around it."
The pupil becomes the teacher. Eliza has been fortunate to have struck a deal with her almer mater, Purbeck School, where she has use of the facilities in return for tutorial. There's a good likelihood we'll be interviewing one or three of her students not too far down the track – if the Purbeck Art Weeks' Young Artists are anything to go by, it's almost certain.
(Reproduced with kind permission from Purbeck! magazine, Summer 2012 issue)