‘Earthen’ is our collaborative project with Daisy Cooper. ‘Earthen’ is a deeper searching for a richer connection to the landscape. This project has followed Daisy from the Bog of Balloch where she returned to her childhood home to dig a very specific and particularly special clay.
Full of minerals, rich earthy colour and beautiful tactile surface, 'Earthen' is made from clay dug at the Bog of Balloch; a stunning area surrounded by a breathtaking landscape. Daisy has always searched for a connection to the land through her ceramics, however with these pieces she wanted to take that search right to the landscape by digging her own clay. A laborious few weeks followed as she carried her clay from the Bog and travelled with it back to her London studio.
Once the clay had been processed and separated from any waste material Daisy set about working with her find. Often clay dug directly from the land can be difficult to work with, potters tend to use it in the slips rather than making up the body of the piece. Daisy showed us how soft, smooth and pliable this particular material was after processing, it was so good it could of been used to thrown forms on the wheel.
All of Daisy's work is hand-built, this method of making allows her to sculpt the clay so it has an impression of her touch left within every mark. Much the same as the impressions left on the land through weathering, there is a rawness to her ceramics that make them feel very real and alive. Hand-building also allows for an extremely intuitive way of creating, as opposed to the rhythm of throwing on the wheel building the work is a slower but almost more expressive approach.
Daisy wanted 'Earthen' to not only to reflect the land but rather to represent it, almost as a sculpted piece of pure earth. This meant that there was only one way to keep the whole process as natural as possible, smoke firing. During the dig Daisy managed to forage brash and foliage from the Bog of Balloch, this was then used to smoke fire the work. A holistic experience that felt rather primitive, the basic concept and equipment used for the firing was a constant reminder of the natural pathway that 'Earthen' had already formed. Don't get us wrong, we love seeing a tightly packed kiln but there was something special about the simplicity of this method.
'Earthen' is a testament to a journey and an idea. Much of the world that we interact with these days is so far removed from the natural world, not these pieces though, they encapsulate nature and even ignite a relationship for us between mankind and the land. We love that this project transcends time, it could of been made yesterday or just as easily thousands of years ago. Daisy has captured a place so strongly through her ambition and grit, we hope 'Earthen' lives on for many years to come. Although it was always the intention to let these pieces find there way back into the earth one day, as if they have never left...