Creativity: an exploration through the Bronze Age and contemporary responses to the Bronze Age

Ann Kelcey (Ceramicist)

My paper is an account of my creative journey in response to the CinBA project – a journey that began before my engagement with the project, which has continued beyond the ‘Live’ project, and which promises to continue to drive & underpin my practice as a ceramicist. This journey is both metaphorical and actual, providing new opportunities for primary research through direct engagement with archaeology, and travel to inspirational locations. It has led to engagement with an important initiative with our local museum service, and to an exciting opportunity to exhibit internationally in a setting with pre-historic links.

I will discuss ways in which the CinBA project has been the catalyst for a major change in artistic direction, with a new, clear focus for my work and for its context. I will make links between elements of Bronze Age mark-making and my own instinctive responses to lines and shapes observed in both natural and man-made environments, with evidence which pre-dated CinBA. I will refer to my use of ‘found’ objects to make marks in clay, and will describe the impact I have experienced from discovering, unearthing and handling sherds of pots made and decorated by another potter in Szazhalombatta thousands of years ago.

Since engaging with the CinBA project I have discovered and evolved a different ‘language’ with which to express my creativity, enabling my work to move from that of the vessel form towards more figurative and sculptural expressions, containing a significant element of narrative. As a consequence I have also discovered a different context for my work, with a focus on working within heritage settings and producing site-sensitive work. I will illustrate this through anecdote and through images from my sketch books/reflective journals and photographic records, all of which have been essential and invaluable to the ultimate outcome.