Reality & Imagination
Milton Head Pottery, Geoparks and the Guzzledown Connection
My mother, Jenny, was a sun worshipper. She was born in Lyme Regis and although she went to London to find work, she came back with my father to the South West and Brixham to open Milton Head Pottery 1950-59 and to find what he called the 'peace and serenity of this little town.' This, he said, was essential for him to later become a success as a creative writer.
They raised a family in Higher Brixham which was formerly known as Cowtown and we lived more precisely in Guzzledown. The names were lost for a long time but were revived towards the end of the 20th century, remembering an ancient demarcation between the fishing and farming settlements
In the summers before I started school, my mother and I walked my sisters to their school tucked behind a high Devon mud and hazel bank. We then walked on together to the beach. On either side are the fields with their hedges and corridors, rustling with the traffic of wildlife, all adorned with a spotty campion canopy. Behind our chosen spot, the pastures top the cliffs, a crown encircling us as the afternoon sunrays blink on the incoming tide as we leave to collect my sisters.
The terracotta clay in the pottery, the ochre sails of old fishing smacks, cerulean sky and Prussian sea, the obvious territory of the coastal artist which I am not, I am an artist of symbols and allegory. I illustrate the scared and profane, deconstructing and reconstructing the relationship between my family's art and the cultural influences on adolescence into a new context in art and text.
'Pot Family Tree', in the current Artizan Gallery Summer Open Exhibition is symbolic. It comes from 'Family Tree', a series of allegorical paintings and drawings that reference my family tree through the symbolic places and objects we love and loved. Within each object and place is the personification of love, conflict and loss.
Subliminally in my work, including 'Pot Family Tree', there runs a seam of earthiness, a well of blue water, a smudged landscape backdrop where a family can survive, Icarus can fall or an alien can land in a geopark coastal village amongst the particles from the bronze age fragments found in Brixham Cavern, mingling in the dust from Milton Head Pottery.