H. 25 x w. 20 x d. 10 cm
About Imogen TaylorNoble
"Drawing with clay, painting with fire."
"My work is process led and based in material practice. I am interested in the extremes of the materials I work with: clay and fire. I aim for the essential qualities of plastic clay and extreme heat of the kiln to remain visible in the finished piece. I use atmospheric firings with organic materials to provide surface narrative."
"Nature and ecology have remained underlying themes for my work and inform my interest in using place specific materials. I use foraged clays both as a decorative slip and an addition to the clay body and wood ash from the kiln firings as a glaze ingredient. Being connected to the materials at this level allows me to get to know them and to notice and work with their particular qualities."
"In an attempt to reduce the carbon footprint of the objects I make, and after many years firing pieces in a gas kiln, I have made the decision to stop using fossil fuels in my practice. My work is now fired in a wood fired Train Kiln which I have built in a Sweet Chestnut coppice in Kent."
"This body of fired work reflects the influence that this new approach to firing has had on my creative process.
The collection of wild clay paintings, using wild clays in their raw state on waste wood, has come from my interest in zero carbon ceramics and is a new direction in my ceramics practice."
"I trained in Ceramics at Camberwell School of Art in the late 1980’s since when I have continued my interest in experimental ceramics and live flame firings."
"I am a selected maker of The Crafts Council of Great Britain, and a selected maker of Make Southwest in Devon. I have shown at select galleries and shows such as Galerie Besson, The Mall Galleries, and Oxford Ceramics Fair. Alongside my making practice I teach ceramics in a studio setting on the edge of Dartmoor in Devon, and I have also taught in diverse places such as The City Lit in London, Holloway Women’s Prison, and residential care homes for the elderly."
When did you first experience working with clay?
I: I encountered pottery from an early age as my mother worked in archaeology. Around the house there were sand trays of Roman and early Saxon pots in states of being reassembled, each piece with a tiny classification mark in fine black ink.
At 18 years old I finally got my hands on clay in a meaningful way by attending adult education classes, where eventually I built a portfolio with which to apply to Camberwell School of Art to study ceramics.
What inspires you?
The process of working with clay and kiln firings in their most basic state is what continues to motivate me. The ‘clayness’ of clay and the live flame of the kiln. The physics of what these 2 fundamental elements of our planet do when they are brought together under the right conditions.
These conditions are forever changing of course, so each piece and each firing is it’s own experiment, and no two pieces can ever be alike. I call myself an experimental ceramicist, as I am driven by the process of exploration and enquiry rather than the need to make a specific item or product. I build my own kilns, and I gather my own clays and I use what I have around me in pragmatic ways. If I am living near the sea, I may use seaweed and seashells to fire my pots. Now I live in Clay country I am exploring the materials around me here.
What's been the biggest challenge within your work?
I: The biggest challenge in my work has been the transition I have made away from using fossil fuels to fire my kilns, and to create a sustainable alternative by way of building a wood fired kiln, situated in a sweet chestnut coppice. This got me thinking about how to further reduce the carbon footprint of my ceramics practice and has led to new works, some of which are unfired, and where I invite the audience to share the carbon cost of firing with me by taking away a growing tree as an accompaniment to their fired ceramic piece. Examples of these are on my website. The sapling trees are grown (by me) from acorns and chestnuts gathered from the same coppice.
Can you tell us more about your work in the Winter Show?
I: The pieces in the Winter Show are from this body of new works, fired earlier this year in the recently completed wood kiln.
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