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Patricia Shone

My work is informed by the powerful landscape around me on the Isle of Skye. It has developed in response to a feeling of connection with the passage across the land of its past inhabitants. I make mostly functional forms, boxes, bowls, jars, rather direct representation of the landscape, because they are innately human constructs suggesting containment. 
The surfaces of the land erode by forces of climate and human intervention, but the substance remains constant and immutable. We scratch the land by our presence here and traces of the past are drawn all over the landscape, remaining in their ruined form, as shadow monuments to the communities who worked the land.
I use techniques in my clay work to reflect these processes. The pieces are made by throwing, texturing and altering or by beating, stretching and carving. Colours are achieved using slips, oxides and glazes but most of all by the firing process.
Wood firing gives the work a physical connection to where it is made. The ash from the combustion of the locally grown timber fuses with the surfaces of the pots. I use a variety of clay bodies, and include found stone and vegetation within the clay for texture, each piece is a one off, although usually made in groups.
Raku is a low temperature earthenware technique involving a very rapid glaze firing cycle. The pre-fired pots are placed into and removed from a hot kiln, between 850°C and 1000°C. After removal from the kiln the hot pots can be reduced (or carbonised) by immersing in sawdust, peat, leaves or anything combustable within an enclosed chamber. This leads to an incomplete combustion which draws chemically combined oxygen from the pots to give them their unique range of colouring.
The weather can play a large part in the progress of the firing and the subsequent smoking. It is a fast and immediate technique which contrasts nicely with the slower and more measured process of making the pots.
I hope that the natural forms, colours and textures of the work will encourage the viewer to feel and engage with a landscape beyond our daily experience. I feel that as the world advances technically the surfaces we contact become increasingly synthetic and machine finished; what  challenges the modern human being is the reality of nature - wild, unkempt, dirty, unpackaged visceral experience.
craft&design Selected Gold Award Winner 2012
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