“Through her unique way of working with clay, Rachel has developed a highly personal and creative signature within her work”. David Binns
My work is about the clay; its pliable, immediate qualities. Like a photograph capturing a ‘frozen moment’ this material when fired fixes forever a gesture, an impression. All my work is hand built and solid; the marks are created by impressing found objects, their origins occasionally hinted at. I cut, squeeze, pinch and hit the clay body to achieve the desired form.
The forms allude to the built environment and to human interventions within the natural landscape but deliberately avoid explicit references. Living in the North of England, the sculptural qualities of the landscape find their way into my work. In pushing the material to its limits my wish is to explore three dimensional shapes and movement while retaining a real sense of the qualities of clay. The heavily grogged stoneware is coloured when wet using small percentages of body stains and oxide, then fired over several days in an electric kiln.
Alongside the stoneware pieces I work separately in Parian porcelain. This pure white clay is extremely receptive to the slightest indentation and pressure of the hand. I enjoy subverting its historic connotations of delicacy and fragility by working in solid forms and sometimes colouring the clay black with body stain and oxide. I often work in small series, developing ideas between pieces as in a dialogue. Mark making then connects these series; a line tracing along a trio of forms resembling the lines of a dry-stone wall cutting across the contours of a landscape.
I aim to achieve both precision and fluidity, energy and stillness in my work. How the light interacts with a piece is an important factor in their presentation. Although never having a prescribed narrative, there is a meditative quality. I value the function of contemplation my forms bring and their ability to represent the nature of silences.
“Rachel Grimshaw, whose tactile, squashed and manipulated block-like forms stood out because of her sensitive understanding of detail within a deceptively simple shape” Alex McErlain review in Ceramic Review.