A space made with words
The lettering on this tall bowl is set so that it maps the physical contours of the bowl for the eye to understand, with colours that reflect what’s happening in the text, and with the lettering responding to the curve of the vessel and the physical implications of the text. The lettering is applied with a brush, and then fired into the body of the clay, in this case without a covering clear glaze, to allow the earthy texture of the unglazed clay to surface.
This articulation of form allows a tactile apprehension of the pot’s dimensions, its enclosing of space, expressing the individuality of each vessel I throw on the wheel. The sense of a space made with words is then extended by the setting of the words to reveal their meaning.
Here the text is from a poem by Valentine Ackland called Hope of Poetry, where she presents her belief in the future and her faith in poetry as a physical thing, vulnerable like a tender little green plant, but strong and unquenchable like a flame. I’ve set the text around the earthspace of the clay vessel, mapping the contour with concentric rings of colour that reflect the text, and using these bands of coloured text to make the bowl appear almost see-through, to draw the eye inward. And I’ve used the parallels and tensions in the text to mirror the outer and inner surfaces of the vessel, to allow the viewer to apprehend the relationship between without and within, and between text and form, and to see through to the core of bright fire at the heart of both.
(This text is taken from a gallery talk given on 19th May 2008 at the Southbank Centre.)
Signed one-off. 19cm high x 19cm at rim.
To buy or enquire about any work, please leave me a note in the comments box below or click on contact details.
All photos copyright Liz Mathews.
Permission is needed for any use of these images.