Jaki Darlington 

Photograph by Alan G. Rhodes

I think of ceramics as a cross between mud pies for adults and a peculiar kind of meditation, with hands becoming muddier as the mind becomes more deeply focused. Ceramics demands that level of concentration. Clay as a material really appeals to me. I enjoy its recyclable nature:  it can be re-moulded and re-shaped until a piece develops into something pleasing, otherwise it can be thrown in the recycling bin in preparation to begin again. I don’t like to waste materials.

I am fascinated by the fact that clay can be tired, stressed, and that it has a memory. I like that idea, it reminds us that clay is organic, once lived. Ceramic forms can also have a body, a neck, a collar and shoulders and vessels often have a lip, mouth, legs and feet.  I am intrigued by the relationship that ceramic objects share with the human form and I like to explore that connection in my work. Rather than producing a realistic representation of animals, my work seeks to capture the playfulness of animals, which often results in them inheriting human quirks and mannerisms.