Institution: University of Wolverhampton
Course: MA – Art and Design (Ceramics)
Title: Figures I & II
Inspiration: Plank figurine
My primary research began with Dr Sofaer’s introductory talk in Birmingham, where a sherd of burnished pottery with incised concentric circles and other marks struck me as being incredibly feminine. Subsequently I was able to handle Bronze Age pottery, tools and weapons at Ludlow Museum and Rowley’s House Museum in Shrewsbury, and pottery at Blythe House, the British Museum store. I viewed Bronze Age artefacts in the collections at the British Museum, the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff, and The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.
The artefact which had greatest impact on me is in the British Museum. I have long been fascinated by the Cycladic figurines, but it was on a visit to the museum after a handling session at their store in Blythe House that I came across a single terracotta “plank- shaped” figure described as an “idol”, from ancient Cyprus. I discovered other examples in The Ashmolean museum. These were to inspire a new direction in my work. The simplicity of form with the merest hint of gender, and the use of incised marks (akin to those on pottery vessels, tools and weapons) to denote facial features and clothing in particular, were powerful devices that seemed to cross the boundaries of time. I assume that these marks were made with found objects (sticks, stones & flints perhaps) or crafted tools, and I have done likewise, using my own contemporary found objects.