Paula Downing | '...maintaining the essence of the Cornish landscape.'
'My childhood dream………… to be a potter with an open workshop on a quay or harbourside'
'I first experienced the feel of clay at Junior School, aged eight, but there was no kiln and so my dried pinched ashtray had to be painted with powder paints and then varnished! Quite disgusting, but I was so proud of it and of course, I had been bitten by the bug.
However, Ceramics was not an option for me until I went to college. Having studied drawing, painting and Art History as well as all the other subjects through school, I first opted to follow that path at College. Kenneth Drake was my Ceramics Tutor who persuaded the powers that be, to let me follow a combined Fine Art and Ceramics course. I shall be eternally grateful to him as it helped steer the way I work.
My career has been in teaching Fine Art and Ceramics, although I have always managed to pursue my own work.
The year 2000 we moved to Cornwall in order to devote more time to ceramics.
We lived on the edge of the moor between St.Ives and Zennor and this land/seascape, coastline profiles, ancient heritage, and mining history have been a never-ending source of inspiration for my work.'
|Paula Downing | "A Little Bit Of Loose In The Stope"|
|Paula Downing | Small Vessel|
'My ideas begin with the physical exploration and observation of the land/sea, moorland and all that it has to offer. The work evolves from the drawings, paintings, photographs made on-site. Back in the Studio, the collected information is put away and I work intuitively from what remains in my memory. I never copy what I have drawn and I never draw what I am about to make.
Every piece is hand built and the forms mainly sculptural. Each is unique, although they are part of a series as I follow a thread of an idea.
I work with many different clays, mainly heavily grogged and textured. I then complete the pieces by layering oxides and slips onto the surface.'
'Over the years I have experimented with the various hand building techniques, challenging size, serious angles, balance, points of contact, surface texture.
Just recently, I have been interested in combining very different types of clay in the same piece giving a variety of colour and texture.
Many of the pieces, because they have connections to rocks and mining are named using mining terms and vocabulary which was used to map underground features.
|Paula Downing | Open Bowl Form|
The work moves on
'This landscape is powerful and moody, hopefully, my work is a direct, honest and respectful response to the world that remains unchanged by modern humankind.
Now I think it could be time to choose from the forms I have enjoyed making and explore a more simple approach whilst maintaining the essence of the Cornish landscape.' Paula Downing 2018