What are you calling this series of new ceramics?
The Index Vase, is called thus because of the presence of the artistic index in each of them and which I explain below.
What is the inspiration for your most recent collection featured at MADE?
Each vase consists of panels in which there is the impression of a plant or plants. The impression leaves not just the impregnated oxide pigment but also the impression of the structure of the plant itself – it’s stalks, leaves, veining and flowers. I haven’t seen this process done anywhere else in its totality. As I have been undertaking my Ceramics degree at Cardiff School of Art and Design, I have realised that what obsesses me is memory in artefacts. The index in art is a real physical link between the made object and something else. It is present very much in casts and imprints of objects where a trace is left behind – a memory. For this reason I am also obsessed by the fossil record in rocks.
When and how did you realise that working with ceramics was something you wanted to do as a career?
Since school, I have always had an affinity with clay – it’s malleability and the permanence of the vitrification process has always beguiled me. The fact that pieces of pottery and clay sculpture thousands of years old still exist is testament to its ability to preserve the memory of those who made them millennia later.
Can you describe the process?
The plant is treated and impregnated with pure oxides – cobalt, manganese, copper or iron – each giving different colours. The plant is then stamped into the damp clay of the vase still on its block form as this is the only way to get the necessary resistance and for the plant to be able to overshoot the edges which gives the indented profile of the skeleton so important to the finished look and feel of the vase. After the vase is fired for the first time, the impression is carefully painted with wax which then resists the clear glaze. This creates a contrast between the matte plant impression and the glossy body of the vase when it has completed the second stoneware temperature firing.
What are your ambitions for this year ?
I am returning to CSAD to finish my degree which I put on hold during the pandemic. I’ll be concentrating on my sculptural works while there but I’ll still be producing my vases but in more limited numbers because of time constraints. Each one takes about a day to make and that’s not including the time in the kiln nor the plant processing time.
Meet our maker of the month, Guy Tucker, and his latest range of work 'The Index Vase' currently available through MADE.