Last week in the Evolve program for artists,  I was prompted by my mentor Amy Kennedy to write about the qualities I want my artwork to hold moving forward. I have chosen to write this up as a blog post, because I think this is a really important part of my practice that requires much consideration.

In planning the trajectory of my art, I’ve been contemplating the intrinsic qualities that I not only wish to retain, but also to further develop in my future work. I think this is about setting intentions that resonate with my core values as an artist, and ensuring that each piece I create is an authentic representation of those ideals.

Authenticity is the cornerstone. I aim for my work to be an invitation, a sensory encounter that speaks through texture and form. This is evident to me in my ‘Arcadian Apertures’ series, where the tactile nature of each piece is beckoning for interaction. With an eye toward the future, I intend to delve even deeper into the authenticity of materials and expression, ensuring each creation is as honest and raw as those in the ‘Arcadian Apertures.’ I have been reflecting on how I will do this:

Colour will continue to play a vital role. In ‘Arcadian Apertures,’ I used a palette that harmonised with the themes of nature and architecture. As I progress, I want to expand on this, using colours that not only narrate a story, but also create an emotive backdrop that complements the sculptural forms.

The integrity of ‘structure’ will remain a central tenant of my work. ‘Arcadian Apertures’ is as much about form, as it is about the space within and around the forms (the positive and negative spaces). It’s crucial that my future pieces maintain this integrity, where every aspect of the design is both intentional and integral to the whole. I thought about this a bit more and when I am speaking of the integrity of structure, I’m referring to the deliberate and thought-out construction of both positive and negative spaces.  I want the shapes and places I make to not be accidental, but created with intention, contributing to a more harmonious and balanced whole.

Untitled. Stoneware, Oxides, Coloured Slips. Anna Guthrie 2023. Photography by Tony Webdale.

Narrative depth is a quality that I’m trying to weave into my work and is hopefully a stirring or emotional aspect of the ‘Arcadian Apertures’ series. Each piece is a conversation, a story of its own. I want to push this narrative quality further, embedding deeper stories within the clay, stories that resonate with those who see and feel my work.

Sustainability has become a defining factor in how I approach my practice. Reflecting on the this latest body of work, I recognise the importance of this commitment. I want to continue sourcing materials and employing processes that reflect a respect for our environment, building on the responsible practices I’ve established thus far.

Technical evolution is essential for my growth as a ceramic artist. Arcadian Apertures, as a series is a step in this ongoing journey, and as I look ahead, I’m excited to embrace new methods that challenge and refine my craftsmanship. 

Emotional resonance is, perhaps, the ultimate quality that underpins what I want for my future artworks. I hope this latest body of work connects on an emotional level, and I will be working to ensure that future works evoke a meaningful response. Whether it’s a sense of calm, an air of contemplation, or a surge of inspiration, I want my art to move people, or to touch them in ways both profound and subtle. This is the hardest thing I am trying to accomplish.

As I reflect on these qualities and how they’ve been embodied in the ‘Arcadian Apertures’ series, I see them not as a final destination, but a guide for my artistic journey. They are the measures by which I will assess my progress and the principles that I will carry with me as I venture into the next body of work I create. I believe each new piece is an opportunity to honour these qualities and to share with the world my vision of what ceramic art can be.