Clare Conrad British, b. 1948

‘I have loved St. Ives ever since my first sight of it from the train as I approached around Carbis Bay – alone, aged 18. I remember it so well – a brilliant, sunny day – the island spread out with sea all around it, like a 3D map, breath-taking: the colours and light have been a major influence on my work. As I walked around the streets, cosy and picturesque, but with an underlying, dramatic sense of history and past hardships, my love of the visual effects of weathering and chiaroscuro was born and has stayed with me.

 

‘My work is an exploration of colour and texture inspired, mainly, by the effects of light and ageing on architecture, artefacts and landscape. My technique of layering vitreous slip onto wheel-thrown vessels, vases and bowls provides a rugged texture, which contrasts with the satin-matt glaze inside. The pots are fired to stoneware temperature in an electric kiln, which gives me total control over the subtlety of the finished colours.

 

‘My approach is to combine artistic expression with traditional craft skills and an innovative decorating technique. Form and contrast were my initial concerns, with particular interest in the contradiction of fragile, yet protective, strength, for example that of shells and ancient helmets, together with aesthetic obsessions of chiaroscuro and visual drama. Travel in southern France and Italy, with the region's light, sun-baked colours, sense of mellow antiquity and faded splendour was the catalyst for experiments with colour and texture.'