Sunday, 12 June 2011

Between Melting and Freezing

Between melting and freezing
The soul's sap quivers.
These lines are from Little Gidding, the fourth 'quartet' of the T.S. Eliot's epic poem, 'Four Quartets.'
The vase pictured above is the last pot I made for the exhibition, 'This Twittering World: contemporary painters celebrate T.S. Eliot's 'Four Quartets.' The landscape is The Glyme Valley, where I grew up. At New Year 2010/11 it was under a deep layer of snow which had just started to thaw, very slowly over the frozen ground. As the warmer air met the icey ground a dense layer of fog formed which gave the entire place a blue cast. It had a ghostly quality, silent and still intensely cold.
I'm delighted that this pot has so many distinct viewing positions and I'm particularly pleased with the colour. Took three firings to get it the way I wanted it - oh and 20 year's experience!
This is what I wrote about it for the exhibition notes:
As 2010 breathed its last and 2011 began, I took, my mother home to Wootton, the village where I grew up and where she still lives. The house was still buried deep in the snow that had fallen two weeks earlier but the weather had changed. The temperature was well above freezing and the snow began quickly to soften. The earth beneath had frozen so deep, however that the thaw was painfully slow. For four days, the still, silent battle raged between the frozen ground, refusing to let go of the snow, and the warmer air circulating above. It produced a dense fog, which, clung to the white ground, such that everything was in half tones of blue and appeared to melt into everything else.

Wootton is in the Glyme Valley, tree lined with willows and prone to mists and fog all year round. ‘Between Melting and Freezing,’ is both a recent memory and a much older one, connected to childhood and sledging down that hill. It is also a memory of my father teaching me how to paint snow.