I live and work in Brighton and have an occasional home on the Norfolk coast. From these coastal bases I can observe a wide variety of birdlife and behaviour in their habitat. I also look at birds from around the world. I study them through drawing. My particular interest at this point is their expressions, the attitudes that they strike and the seemingly infinite variations between different types of birds.
I put the drawing away, model directly in clay and see what I come up with. Depicting particular species is not necessarily my aim. Some relate closely to the original birds, others are a fusion of several birds, others still move away from their source, inventing new species.
I work quickly over the main body of the bird, a kind of 3D sketch giving the impression of light bulk. I let the clay speak, the marks of the making process are left, showing the energy of modelling and this contributes to the feeling that somehow these birds could be alive and might just move.
The anatomy of the head is worked as precisely as I can but not at the expense of invention. Their facial expressions and attitudes are influenced as much by people as birds.
I finish them using slips, oxides and glazes that evoke both the soft, subtle qualities of plumage and the coastal rocks and chalk from my local landscape.’