Chris Wight’s profile on Ceramics Now Magazine – View his works
“When working with bone china for the first time I was struck by its pure whiteness, ability to take on fine detail and its astonishing translucence. This light responsive property, that enables bone china to switch between translucent and opaque states – gradually or instantaneously – as light changes around it, continues to be a major source of fascination.
Providing a subconscious inspiration for many pieces is my interest in the patterns, textures, shapes and forms found in nature – often and in particular, the ‘tiny worlds’ seen under a microscope or through a macro lens. In addition to these themes, I continue to develop a small strand of works that focus on ‘iconic’ objects from my own childhood.
Bone china has many testing characteristics for a maker – an in-flexible ‘body’ prone to crumbling when worked, an inability to be wheel-thrown and a propensity to collapse or bend when firing. Add to these a very keen ‘clay memory’, a trait that causes repaired splits and stresses to reappear again once fired and you inevitably face high loss rates in production. For this reason most ceramicists avoid using bone china. However, through time I have come to understand the nature of the clay and I now relish the constant challenges it presents. Still, a tension exists between the clay’s constraints and my intent as an artist to counter or exploit them in order to reveal its inherent beauty and demonstrate its perhaps unexpected versatility.
To capitalize on the allure of bone china I adopt ‘high-risk’ techniques – often unconventional, certainly against traditional good practice – which push the clay to its very limits. Intuition allied with experience is relied on to make a successful piece. New technologies like water-jet cutting brought together with long-established ceramic processes make possible the creation of works significantly greater in height and volume whilst crucially keeping the ceramic thin enough to retain delicacy and translucence. I routinely combine traditional and modern approaches whilst attempting to push back the boundaries and to redefine the perception of bone china as something more than simply the sole preserve of fine tableware.” Chris Wight
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