First thoughts on porcelain
Porcelain Series 01
I had been investigating materials to create more sculptural versions of photographs to parallel the two dimensional work on panels for sometime. What I essentially wanted to do was create a fossilized version of a photograph, to view a photograph not just as an image but as an artefact of a moment – a phossil. After all how will generations many years from now, view a format already lost in their past?
I came across porcelain, a beautiful material hewn directly from the earth and decided to experiment with it as a support for painting. The process is long involving preparing flat plates which are left to dry. They are then fired at approximately 900ºc. This first firing is often referred to as ‘biscuit firing’. I then paint directly onto the ‘biscuit’ porcelain using a concoction of oxide powder (often iron oxide), porcelain powder, a binder and water, once the painting is done, I fire it a second time at approximately 1280ºc. All water content is gone, it can be fired no more. What is fascinating about the process is how heat reduces the porcelain plate by up to 20% towards its core during the two firings, altering both its form and my painting. Chance, as with a lot of my work, is an invaluable contribution.
Not a photographic development process nurtured in the dark onto paper but an interpetation process aided by memory and fixed in ‘terra firma’ forever by fire.
CB 2014 – re-edited 2018