My research has for many years been concerned with ceremonial objects, the spaces they occupy and other associated elements (music, ritual, contemplation). Ritual and Setting allowed me to enter a wider debate, on the perception of ceramics as an art form. My aim was to examine the emotive relationship between an object and its location; also to acknowledge my own cultural heritage and to investigate how my Far Eastern approach to ceramics might sit alongside a Western architectural tradition.
Ritual and Setting explores the reflective and sacramental notions of large-scale porcelain and their effect on celebrants and visitors. On a technical level the project advanced the development of surface treatments on large-scale ceramic forms in a manner not seen in contemporary ceramics in the setting of a sacred space. This placement of individual pieces around the Cathedral in a more speculative distribution departs from the more conventional approaches of ceramic artists such as de Staebler and Mongrain to insert single works in a site with prayerful intentions (e.g. the Altar) or to produce a whole body of furniture, or, as in the Matisse chapel at Vence, an entire decorative scheme.
Winchester, like many cathedrals, has a long tradition of exhibiting art, but has never systematically presented contemporary craft. Ritual and Setting tested new ground for the cathedral. The event led to the hosting of a touring exhibition of ceramics by Julian Stair (2013).
I intend Ritual and Setting to provide forthcoming generations with the idea that craft makers can initiate and complete exhibitions and projects outside the established arenas of galleries and shops. Traditional attitudes have hampered the opening up of ceramics as an art form. By recontextualising this work from 'historical pottery' to a public architectural setting, the project serves to re-present ceramics in a new light.