Allison Neal recently retired as Course Leader for the BA(Hons) Fine Art course at the Hereford College of Arts. She has been obsessed for some time by the possibilities of the narrative in visual imagery and is finally coming the end of an extended period of research for a PhD by practice where she has been exploring the place of the narrative in 21st century visual arts practice.
Kate Dawson writes:
"I have been working with clay for 11 years, full time professionally for 9. To begin with I was interested only in form and revelled in the sensuality of the clay. With my engagement with raku I began to work with colour, albeit with a limited palette. The fascination was in the unexpected and made the joy of achieving the desired effect even more satisfying.
The forms are inspired by the natural world and evolve in the making. Seeds and pods, funghi and shells, nature’s shapes, figure in my mind but I am not literal in translation. Everything is hand built, I like the slow pace of it and the way sometimes the clay leads the way. Also it means no two pieces can be the same, so I cannot be habitual or confined. There must be continual development.
I have recently felt that I want to engage more with texture and form without the distraction of colour, engaging with the qualities in different clays, looking to find a synergy between the clay and the form. I am also investigating different techniques of construction.
This present body of work is the beginning of that exploration and the relinquishing of applied colour in favour of the natural colours of clay. I am looking for calm, for the quiet voice of the clay. I enjoy that direct relationship.
Working with clay is all about personal process, but I do enjoy the responses of others, because their observations often give the work another life which I could not have envisaged. "