It’s amazing how an idea can hit you out of nowhere. When I was living in London I used to cycle to work and home again. At the end of the day it was a good time to clear my thoughts and let the dust settle. On these journeys I’d occasionally be struck by what seemed like the most blindingly obvious idea and I’d think – why hadn’t I thought of that sooner? One of the first examples of this was just as I was leaving my then workshop in Holborn, London. I was heading south on Theobalds Road at the junction with Grey’s Inn Road. It was Autumn because I remember looking down and seeing layer upon layer of leaves that had been pressed into the ground by thundering traffic. I had seen this sight a thousand times before, on various roads that I’d cycled on over the years, but it only just struck me how beautiful the leaves looked layered on top of each other. As a child I had spent many hours admiring the shapes and colours of leaves whilst out playing. I would collect my favourites, but due to the transience of nature they didn't last long, and I wished I could capture their beauty in that moment.
The different shapes, depths and colours of the leaves created beautiful patterns and textures on the ground. It suddenly hit me that this is what I should be doing with my work: pressing all these beautiful leaves into the surface of my porcelain lamps. I remember the excitement of the moment and how I started to look at leaves in a totally different way – thinking more about their sculptural quality and what kind of pattern they would make in the clay. Two of my favourite leaves are the Acer and the Gingko. I love the fan like shape of the gingko leaf and the delicate linear pattern on the leaf surface. With the Acer I love the pointy shape of the leaf, with its very delicately feathered edges. Pressing the leaves into my porcelain clay solved the problem of the impermanence of the leaves and allowed me to preserve some of the beauty of nature in my work.
My best ideas often come from the most unlikely sources, when I am least expecting them, and this one had obviously been gestating for a very long time.