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Materials:Stoneware; China clay and Devon ball clay
Method: Hand built; modelled and carved
Care: Dust lightly
The stoneware vessels in this series are hand built and carved by esteemed ceramicist Paul Philp in his home studio in Bath, UK. The time-consuming process of building each piece by hand gives Philp control over the material to create the dramatic forms of the vessels. The sharp, precise edges and unique shape demonstrate the artist’s distinct practice and masterly hand. Philp’s emphasis on material and form in this remarkable and graphic series reveals his influence from Modernism and Art Deco architectural design styles.
The distinctive tactile textures of the vessels result from repeated high temperature-firings. The initial handbuilt form of the vessels are bisque fired. Two to three layers of white slip, liquid China and Devon ball clay, are then applied and fired on several firings at around 1000°C. The final firing is completed at whiteheat (1260°C). The intriguing shape of the natural coloured-tone vessels are highlighted by darker areas formed by a mixture of cobalt and iron.
The rough cracked surface, colour palette and size of this series of stoneware vases embody a monumental and antiquarian quality conveying Philp’s interest in ancient culture, oriental art, geology and the natural world. These large vessels are some of Philp’s last works in this scale.
About the Artist
Paul has been working with clay for over forty years and over that time has experimented with a variety of materials and techniques, some of which have never been tried before. This has resulted in equal measures of delight and frustration as some attempts work and others fail. It’s not an easy task especially as each of his pieces face, what he calls an “unknown future”, as various “breakdowns” (unpredictable cracks and fissures) occur as they are fired multiple times in the kiln. However, this is all part of Paul Philp’s unique creative process. It’s very important to him that each of his pieces develop into something that have their own individual character and identity. He wants them to have a life beyond him and soon after he starts to create them, they should continue on a journey of their own. We are attracted to this idea and hope that as owners and inheritors of his pieces that they will continue their journey in our own homes and beyond.