Claylab1 is the London-based studio of potter Tanya McCallin.
I came from a profession of artifice and make believe [stage design] and although I always strove to visually tell stories simply and plainly, I longed for a more 'real' and 'solid', less ephemeral material to work with. I like the weight, the smell, the damp cold and the ancient, elemental nature of clay, and the idea that with manual dexterity and thought it can be transformed to form a myriad objects, both functional and sculptural, that can also have narrative, hold memories, be vital and alive.
I try to make objects that satisfy through touch and ideas, which express their purpose and meaning openly and easily without gimmickry or irony. There is a kind of universality in them, something essential and elemental.
I think about ceramic forms in terms of space and light, weight, scale and surface, inside and out, but also of ideas, use and value.
Architecture - archaic and modern, sculpture and painting but also landscapes, both urban and primordial have fed my visual experience and knowledge. I have observed and studied global histories of clay objects and their cultural contexts for a long time and though my influences range from Neolthic pots, through Song Dynasty Chinese to Modernist European and well as Japanese and Korean works, there is something significant in this quote that speaks of the 'life' of pots.
" ... we speak of pots as though they are animate: we call them gentle or generous or strong or vulnerable. A group of bottles becomes a family. A straggling line of jugs and cups and tumblers becomes an assorted tribe journeying somewhere. A silent line of porcelain beakers waits in a window for the light to hit their rims and for their ordinary beauty to become radiant" Gwyn Hansen Pigott
Through the use of porcelain, stoneware and earthenware clays, some highly refined others betraying their geological origins and through the processes of throwing and handbuilding, I am looking for stone like, lithic vessel forms and surfaces with haptic and aesthetic qualities that give pleasure and engage the owner.
"each piece is a silence
that is filled with the sounds of your gaze" Claudi Casanovas
Associate member Craft Potters Association