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Jan Lewis-Eccleston

I have been making hand-built ceramic sculpture for many years, exploiting the unique qualities and clarity of texture of porcelain paper clay to create  individual pieces, the inspiration for which comes from myths, literature, observed natural phenomena, and from the character of the clay itself (as well as from my sometimes strange imagination ...)
Fish remain a constant source of inspiration. They belong, literally, to another world and were present long before we came along to upset the balance. We are still discovering new ones, while at the same time destroying the most well-known. For me they have become a symbol of man's blind greed and uncaring arrogance towards species other than himself.
Early pieces were variously decorated with oxides, underglaze colours, glaze, and occasionally acrylics, depending on the demands of the subject, but my current sculptures  concentrate on graphic aspects of the pieces. I have been using a mixture of copper & manganese oxides applied to textured and drawn areas to create a metallic graphite quality, producing a largely monochromatic palette, and what could be described as three-dimensional drawings.

My most recent work has developed these graphic qualities: I have been exploring the use of sgraffito through a slip made from black clay applied to a white body: inspired by finds of fossilized fish in ancient rocks, the images I am currently producing are aiming to convey the timeless, other-world quality of these species that we all take for granted and assume are there to be exploited.

Puffin Ark was made following a conversation I had at South Stack on Anglesey with a fellow member of the RSPB as we watched the puffins and guillemots building their nests: apparently puffins only come into land to breed in spring, and spend the rest of the year in the middle of the Atlantic. It occurred to me that they could probably do with an ark, hence the making of this piece.
 
It is hand-built using Valentine's Ashraf Hanna white earthstone clay, with porcelain puffins & sail, and decorated with oxides and underglaze colours. It stands 45cm tall.

 
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"So long, and thanks for all the fish"

After very many years of craft&design we've decided that we'd like to retire and so in 7 days we will close the craft&design website, including craft&design Online and the craft&design Selected Makers and Craft and Design Month websites. We've had a brilliant 35 years and would like to thank all our readers, advertisers, writers, contributors and website visitors for their support throughout that time. Our very best wishes to you all for the future - Angie and Paul.