I am fascinated by the way we eat food, especially by the rituals around celebrational or indulgent treats that have developed; the way they are assembled, displayed and then eaten. I am also interested in how food tells a story of the people and place it’s in. A full stand of ice creams could suggest a hot day or treats abandoned for some mysterious reason.

The beauty of food left to melt and ooze holds a fascination for me. It is something that is usually over looked and temporary but this can be captured and frozen in time with clay and glaze.

Firstly inspired by the materials I use, I find that clay, porcelain and glaze have so many wonderful possibilities and often translate well to represent food. This is the reason why I like to work with the materials’ own properties, for example, the dry translucency of high fired porcelain suits the biscuit texture of wafers and ice cream cones, while the colourful liquidity of a silky opaque earthenware glaze is used to capture the quality of dripping ice cream. I hope to combine these techniques to create a “visual edibility” to my work; it is up to the imagination of the viewers as to how they will taste…

After an initial year of research into glaze, materials and textures, I am still constantly exploring new ways to capture the transitory nature of food. The pieces incorporate both porcelain and earthenware clay. I have always wanted to incorporate these two clays into one piece as I love the bright colours of earthenware glazes as well as the texture of the high fired vitrified porcelain. I decided to play with glaze as a “glue” to fuse the two materials together in the final firing which I was surprised to find, resulted in success.

Many different techniques are used for each piece including slip casting, press moulding, hand building and piping wet clay. I try to put clay through a similar process as possible to the real ice cream. I feel that by not overly handling the clay, it goes on to show an “honesty” within the finished object and displays what happens when wet clay is squeezed through a piping bag or scooped, stamped, rolled or pressed. Similarly, I use the glaze’s own desire to run and drip to achieve the final melting results. Ultimately the pieces are the result of a love affair with both food and clay.
Anna Barlow