I make small ceramic sculptures which combine opposites of form, texture and colour as metaphors for perfection and control versus imperfection and chaos. Through my work I explore the contemporary obsession with seeking control and perfection in all aspects of our lives. I’m interested in the tendency, prevalent on social media, of masking the chaos and messiness of real life, through the presentation of curated and carefully managed idealised identities, which generally only highlight success or positive news. My sculptures use physical metaphors to set this obsession in opposition to the chaotic and imperfect nature of daily life.

My sculptures are about the drama of contrasts; they are dynamic. Brightly coloured, flat acrylic surfaces are combined in the same object with dark, rough, messy, uncontrolled, collapsed or flowing sections, these oppositions being achieved through the careful construction and refining of some parts, and the loose, free making of others. This approach enables me to explore my themes in a performative way, through my own making processes. Sources of inspiration include the work of other makers, both historical and contemporary – especially those working with clay – and observations of the chaotic or uncontrolled at odds with the human desire for control and perfection – in nature, in the wider physical world and built environments, in my life and the lives of people around me, and in world events.

Writing and drawing are part of my practice. New ideas are explored through words and through drawing and collage, as well as in clay.

My sculptures are intended to be unsettling in their form and in their display, sometimes spilling over the plinth. Small in scale (max 30cm in any dimension), some of them seem to imply an obscure function.

Technical information

My sculptures are hand-built or thrown and altered from white earthenware clay. They are biscuit-fired to 1100 degrees in an electric kiln. Muted earthenware glazes, stained with oxides and sometimes including additions such as sand, are applied by pouring or spraying and the pieces are fired again, to 1080 degrees. The dark soft glazes are offset by vivid acrylic colours, applied at the final stage of making.

All ceramic work, text and site pages © Jane King