A former ceramicist who has turned his hand with remarkable skill to bronze works. We loved his style and jumped at the chance to be the first to exhibit Jack's latest body of works, vessels that have deep roots in his ceramics past and cast in bronze by the wonderful McKinney Foundry.
Jack 1992 – 1993 studied ceramics at undergraduate level from 1992 – ’93, followed by fine art sculpture at Norwich School of Art until 1996. After which he was employed as a lecturer and technical support across a range of art disciplines and through a range of colleges within the UK and US. He has been working with McKinney Foundry and within his own studio since 2014.
Makers have a privileged relationship with their material, they are handed an insight into its nature and learn the process of transforming it into something magical.
The reference for all Jack's work is a sense of place, the rhythms, patterns and textures found where the sea meets the land, its a place where he feels, thinks and finds inspiration.
Having always lived close to the east coast of the UK, Jack feels a connection, a constant draw to remain close.
Creating a new work feels like he is trying to give life to a stone, distilling the silent presences of a natural object or a place that has taken effect upon him. He looks to strike a balance between an object that has been made by hand and one that has occurred naturally.
Making for Jack is just a different way of thinking and of expressing thoughts and ideas, it precedes meaning and the fear of a creative paralysis. Jack makes things to enjoy and spend time with and to contemplate their origin and admire their beauty.
Jack’s current work is a single series, with each piece acting as an evolution of the previous and in turn becoming a catalyst and influence for future work. Every work remains unique and is carefully inscribed with a number, signature.
He utilises his ceramics background in creating the original vessel in clay, using the conventional methods and techniques associated with shaping it, throwing, slab building, slip casting, coiling, extruding, forming, etc. He then uses a combination of conventional and unconventional mould making methods, digital scanning, 3d printing, various pattern making methods and many other hand forming techniques. The resulting interim patterns generally work as formal armatures and are made from a range of different materials, wax, thin plastic, paper, mesh and fabric, anything that will burn away during a kiln firing. Jack is able to physically alter and manipulate the patterns at this stage and then apply a surface of texture, which is generally made from different forms of wax. He creates these surfaces by manipulating the different properties of wax, by melting, freezing, blasting, crushing, cracking, modelling, spraying, etc. These wax encased patterns are made with the knowledge that further work is going to be undertaken when the works are transformed into bronze, so at this stage they don’t fully resemble the final outcome.After the patterns are cast into bronze the work begins a new material process, cutting and grinding away elements of the cast bronze, revealing the cast object. The next stage is to shape and define form, grinding back the surface to achieve the right balance of texture and eventually establishing the right finish.It is an involved process that begins with a simple outline work or idea, which evolves and changes as it is shaped by the many different transformations the work passes through, taking advantage of the many happy accidents that can and do occurring during what is an organic and instinctual making process.
Jack tells us a little about his work and inspiration:
“I look to the natural world for inspiration, like a small sculpted piece of driftwood that has been polished by the grinding motion of the sea and bleached of colour by exposure to the salt and the sun. I look to the patterns and rhythms in nature, seed pods, shells, bones, trees, ferns and the formations within the strata of the earth.I have been privileged to have had the opportunity to gather an insight into the nature of the materials I use and over many years I have learnt the process of transforming them. I manipulate and transform clay, bronze, wax, steel, limestone, sand and plastic with methods that parallel those in nature, turning earth into vitreous stone, pouring molten metal, grinding, polishing, sand blasting, heating, freezing, forming, cracking, oxidising, growing.
I strive to create objects, that if they were pulled from the ground, they would look like they may belong to another time or place. Objects that may have an obvious function and others that remain ambiguous, but always imbued with an essence of something. I want each and every object I make to reflect a balance between being naturally formed and an object that has been formed by hand or by machine. I ultimately make objects to enjoy and to spend time with and I ask others to contemplate their origin and admire their beauty.”