1989 was the first year of “The Inax International Design Prize”, an opportunity created by Inax Corporation. The aim of the project was ostensibly a learning, cultural exchange of ideas and sensibilities centred around working in ceramics.
Whilst in Japan I created numerous pieces exploring and demonstrating my particular technique of drawing and painting with slips on plaster moulds and casting with semi-porcelain to make tiles, panels and mosaics. These works led to Inax manufacturing a collection of tiles informed by what I designed and made.
I absorbed the “feeling” of Japan – its sense of order and ritual, attention to detail and ceremony, and the strange conflict between calm tradition and frenetic modernity. Such things have had a subtle and lasting influence on my work ever since. Collections of objects and images have informed my metaphors and visual language, not just by their identity but by placement and arrangement in a spatial area on a 2D surface. My life-long preoccupations with visual narrative, division of space, compartmentalisation, creating order by the quiet juxtaposition of elements within a composition, playing with pattern, restrained colour, line and visual satisfaction, were all compounded and encouraged through my time in Japan rather than instigated by it. The cultural absorption may not be blaringly obvious. Like wabi-sabi it is difficult to define and is rooted in feelings and intuition and is modest whilst powerful.
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