I attempt to capture the spirit of my favourite animals - the horse and working dogs. My own dogs have often been the subjects for many of my sculptures.
I have studied the anatomy of my favoured animals and use this knowledge in order to give them structure; layering muscles over bone and concentrating how the muscles work with each other; the contraction and stretch it would take to produce a certain movement. The glaze then becomes the skin.
The cold penguin; the round rabbit cleaning itself; the newly-born lamb, its legs straining with its first attempts to stand, amongst others, have grabbed my attention and overwhelmed me with their characters.
I sculpt an original model in clay, which may take up to three months to complete. From this, a multiple piece plaster mould is taken. Each piece is then slip-cast from the mould using a liquid clay. The piece is then hand finished and signed.
Next, the piece is dried and biscuit fired. The eyes are painted using an underglaze, then the entire piece is glazed using a recipe originally formulated by my father. This is dried again and the glaze removed where black areas are required.
The ceramic sculptures are then fired again to an optimum temperature, removed from the kiln and placed in a pit where they are immersed in sawdust. The difference in the shrinking of the ceramic and the glaze as they both cool creates the distinctive crazing of the glaze, which characterises the "raku" process. The sawdust prevents the ceramic from cooling too fast. After a few hours, the work is removed from the sawdust and washed.