We are delighted to feature Gary Wood this month. He has exhibited in the Gallery for many years and as part of the sculpture Trail
As a ceramics student in the eighties, Gary Wood was fascinated by a statement from “The Unknown Craftsman” by Soetsu Yanagi :
“When you are doing your work, you and your work are two different things, but when you become the work and do the work, true work becomes possible”.
“I spent months, years, throwing boards of pots, hundreds of them, whilst yearning to achieve this condition of becoming, and became frustrated.
We cannot become ego-less in order to make good work. If we did truly achieve a state of selflessness, we would be somewhere else doing something else with our lives, like Mother Teresa. However, I do agree with Grayson Perry when he says "A potter's most important tool is the hammer".
These days a certain proportion of Gary’s work is thrown on the wheel, but the act of throwing itself he finds the least enjoyable activity, like rolling slabs. When he begins to go to work on the slab is best. He loves turning a thrown pot, at which point he can really begin to see the piece come to life. Turning, texturing, painting and glazing he really enjoys.
When he makes wall pieces, the surface texture is built-up on slabs of clay before a thick application of glaze is painted on in layers, sometimes requiring several firings. The result is a densely painted and richly textured panel, which may evoke something of the original inspiration, but will often become something much more abstracted and unique. His pots are made with the same painterly approach as the wall panels; surface marks and motifs referencing architectural sources, ocean and landscape.
Born in Bradford, Gary trained at the Cumbria College of Art and Design. He set up a studio in Carlisle between 1986 and 1992. He worked for a time as a production thrower which he has no ambition to repeat! In 1994, he set up his studio and home in Bath along with Carole Waller where he has been ever since. He was elected Fellow of the Craft Potters Association in 1990.