Smoke fired clay bellies.
It was not just the gentle contours of pebbles that reminded me of the curves of bodies, the lovely shapes formed when bodies touch and accommodate each other but also the way they felt, tracing the shapes with my fingers. There was some comfort in the feel of them, reminding me of human touch. I began to think about the connection between shapes, leading me to play with groups of stones, looking for a relationship between them.
At the same time, I began looking the silent communication of body language such as the shape of my husband and son's bellies as they stood close to one another.
Sometimes you find pebbles that contain an imprint or fossil and this led me to cast belly buttons which connected with this idea and to connect the pebbles to their human metaphor. Pebbles show the history of their journey but it is one the holder can only guess at. Its experiences are like a code that has to be deciphered.
I thought of the shared experiences of my husband and son and decided to imprint their journey on to the stones. Experiences like camping in the new forest and picking blackberries near the pond. Aboriginal symbols for people and places inspired me to make my own symbols.
To create the work I coiled clay in to the shape and added the cast belly buttons, I then used strips of fabric and organic materials, such as seeds and coffee beans to create the symbols of the journeys taken before smoke firing the whole thing. Smoke firing was important because the fire leaves its own unexpected mark.
My intention was to end up with a tactile work that reminds the person touching it subconsciously of a body, the belly button was chosen because it is not always obvious what it is, it may not register consciously. I wanted the stones to look like they belonged together.