Monthly Archives: May 2017

John D Petty – Mud and Spit

By richardhatfield |

Five Drawings of Holderness Churches

That these small Holderness villages should have churches of such antiquity has long fascinated me. It is a solid reflection of the prosperity of the area when farming the land was everything. Nineteenth century census records show that in some villages more than half of the male population aged twenty and over were employed as agricultural labourers. My own great grandmother was a domestic servant at a South Holderness farm.

In speaking of sacred places in general, a friend who was closely involved in the development of the drawings said “The reason I love them is the emotional intensity and meaning that people invest in these spaces. It’s to do with mortality and the realisation of what matters to humanity…death, birth, praying for the healing or protection of loved ones, what I think of as the mud and spit of life. Personal stories are engrained in the stones, land, architecture of such spaces, they are dense with them and I feel a very strong connection to that because it’s meaningful stuff.”

These drawings are an attempt to symbolise some of those stories that are held within the stones, the bricks and the cobbles of these buildings. The drawing process involves repeatedly making and disrupting the drawing; the drawing is done with graphite and the disruption is done with gesso and by scouring and scratching the surface with sharp tools. In places new paper is sometimes collaged on; this may be to repair an area where I wish to start again or it may serve no purpose other than to develop the textural qualities of the drawing.

As the work progressed I came to see the contrast between the more carefully rendered elements and the loose and random textures of other areas as an oblique reference to the buildings’ decay, their rebuilding and restoration, their survival over centuries of change and struggle, the mud and spit, indeed, of daily life.

The obscured and hidden layers of the drawings reflect the layers of history and the stories that the buildings have seen. It is right that some of the drawing is obscured and lost as are the lives and stories of the people that once invested so much in these places.

James and Tilla Waters

By richardhatfield |

James and Tilla met each other during their apprenticeships to the potter Rupert Spira in Shropshire in  the late nineties. In 2002 they set up their workshop in Carmarthenshire where they live with their three daughters.

They both have degrees in Painting (James from The Slade and Tilla from Bath) and value that background for the greater understanding of form, colour and materials it has given them in making pots.

They believe passionately in the importance of functionality; simply being hand-made is not enough but when an object is well made and a joy to use it can become a cherished possession and make an enriching contribution to daily life.

Their working roles are many and complex but in summary, James makes and Tilla designs.

They won the Wesley-Barrell Craft Awards (Vessels for Interiors) in 2011 and The Homes and Gardens Design Awards (Ceramics and Glass) in 2013.

 

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