| Art in the Frame > Artists > Jan Beeny
I make one-off, slab-built ceramic pieces on a variety of scales. My pieces are based largely on animals, particularly how they move, behave and how human societies throughout tim have been compelled to bestow significance upon animals by producing images, objects, stories and mythologies. At present I'm looking specifically at secondary sources for ideas such as the stylised depiction of animals in heraldry, medieval stained glass windows and tapestries. Often people find humour in my pieces although anthropomorphic sentimentality is something I try to avoid.
All my pieces are slab-built. This method allows me to build quickly on a large, or small scale. I realised slab-building was my preferred technique quite early on in my studies, it seemed to relate closely to my drawing style. The process is quite direct: I roll out large slabs to approximately 2cm thick then impress textures randomly using a variety of objects and processes. The slabs are allowed to dry a little then I tear them, stretch and distort the surface by throwing and dragging the slab across the table, or floor - this encourages an interesting surface whilst making the slab thinner and larger. I then cut out preconceived shapes and allow them to dry to not-quite leather hard. The surface marks are intended to enhance the form and introduce new stimuli to respond to later in the making. Later the semi-dry sections are bent and folded into hollow forms - further refined and cut, areas are stretched or pushed from within the form, twisted, impressed, trimmed etc. then joined together to build the final piece.
Jan Beeny's own website.