Making work is a slow process, for the touchstones, Davies uses just her fingers to pinch out two forms from porcelain that are then joined together. The intimacy of the hand’s touching is very pertinent here, Davies believes that touch is fundamental to the way we connect to the world and experience. As a maker she consciously ensures that her processes privilege this sense, feeling that touch connects her to intuitive response.
My eye and hand are always drawn to edges and curves and small particularities of detail; work is tactile and sensuous.
When at the right stage of dryness Davies uses a small silver spoon to impart texture to the work, rubbing repeatedly backwards and forwards, this effect is unique to Davies’ work and the result of experimentation. This polishing is continued as the work dries and the ridges and markings are then formed, each particular to the shape of each individual piece, as the markings follow the contours. After firing artists’ pigments are rubbed into the work by hand, layering in colour. This first layer is washed back and then repeated in order that the pigment penetrates the still absorbent porcelain.
Davies likens this process to fresco painting, where pigment is absorbed into plaster. She then sands the surface to reveal the ridges and textures.
The wall pieces are formed using a range of processes: the round series are formed from fat flattened coils, beaten into a plaster mould then built up with additional coils. The joins give texture and ridges through the work, which is also rough-burnished using the same technique described in the making of touchstones. The square or rectangular series are slab built, again textured in the same manner.
All pieces work best in series, whether arranged along a mantle, or table, or wall hung. The touchstones are coloured in shades of natural pigments, rich ochres and earth tones, moss greens, dark graphite greys, indigo tints and softer, paler greys. The wall pieces are predominantly in shades of blue, reflecting the colours of the sea, from dark, inky indigo to pale cerulean. They recall pools of rippling water running over rippled sand.
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© Images Judith Davies