about alison holmans
I am inspired by nature: Earth, Fire and Water, the basic elements for the creation of ceramics.
Firstly with my Raku work in its crudest form as I actually use local clay. Cleaning out the stones and organic matter, then working it into malleable mass that forms in my hands and comes alive in fire.
Secondly with my wheel using stoneware clay as it turns and allows me to work all round the piece at once, harnessing centrifugal force to create tall and wide and practical shapes.
Thirdly the nature of clay allows me to manipulate it into recognisable forms or pleasing shapes and patterns that produce pieces that are practical, aesthetic and tactile. To glaze or not will add colour texture and contrast. Whilst I enjoy making I also know my work will go on to live another life and may even evolve again. The aesthetic is as important as its function.
I was I awakened to pottery when I first went to Palmerston North Teachers College in New Zealand. The Pottery Department was led by the renowned New Zealand potter Stan Jenkins.
Since my retirement 5 years ago, I have had the time to try out many of my stored up ideas that were put on hold for 45years!
My studio is in the back garden in The Chicken Run, where I produce an eclectic mix of both wheel-thrown and hand-built work.
The chooks take a keen interest in everything that is going on eagerly wandering into the studio and reluctantly leaving as they are shooed out. They are often subjects of my pottery.
I work predominantly with stoneware clay as it is strong and will take the heat of the oven and the extreme weather outside. I love throwing open forms such as bowls that allow me to experiment with glazes and produce beautiful results. However, quirky ideas come to me as I deviate from the norm.such as bowls with expressive lips or jugs with ‘Hand’-les or in the way I interpret animals.
But my real interest is in following my imagination with hand-built work. Garden features, including windchimes, animals balanced on stones and bird baths. I have thoroughly enjoyed exploring hand-built bowls made of coils, dots and the imprint of leaves, producing work that is functional and aesthetic. My birdbaths are made with coils that allow you to see and feel the texture. Common garden birds feature on the edge. As these take some time to produce each develops uniquely. The glass and glazes are the final touch that brings the work to life.
I also make quirky animals that often feature in my thrown and hand-built work. These come alive and pose for me as I make them, so each is unique. Hares are my favourite and I have been asked to produce a Jazz band, hiker hares with knapsacks and doctor hares with stethoscopes. Personalising pieces is part of the fun. Stoneware can take very high and very low temperatures and thus can be used both outside and in.
Animals and birds in Raku come to life because of the shear nature of the natural blackening, crackling and lustre of the glazing.
I have produced commissioned work, individualised and personalised and am open to challenges.
In 2020 I returned from a 3 month New Zealand and the Solomon islands straight into lockdown. For me this was an opportunity to work in my studio and try out some ideas I formed in my travel.
It also gave me time to create a non profit Art Window Gallery for local artists to display their work. It is purely or the artists and the village. The artists have a window on their work and receive all the outcome of sales and publicity. During this year of Covid it has been a safe way to enjoy art and discover hidden skills and talent in the local area and to promote the art through daily blogs on instagram and facebook. www.Instagram.com/eynshamartwindow www.facebook.com/Eynshamartwindow
The Eynsham Art Window will be devoted to Oxfordshire Artweeks artists during Artweeks over the Month of May.