Kate McKay

Ginger jar, 2021

14.5 cm
I am a ceramic artist principally concerned with making domestic ware. Success for me is seeing my pieces used and loved, to arrange flowers or sticks in, to drink coffee and tea out of, or to eat from. I take time to create an object of beauty to be used by others in their daily lives. I am drawn to the intrinsic humility of the ceramic process. I can make functional objects from the earth, with the help of water, air and fire.

I understand no two firings are identical. This was a source of frustration, but now as I mature as a ceramic artist I have allowed my work to subject itself to the infinite variables that influence the end result. Ceramics can be tedious with it trials and disasters, but when there is magic, it is completely worth it, and I am humbled by the process that produces it.

I love the solitude, space and the sounds of the natural landscape around me – this gives me equal parts of inspiration and the meditative concentration required in the process driven practice of conceiving, making and finishing my ceramic pieces.

Here, I am exploring the traditional Chinese ginger jar shape, using different clays and glazes to get different surface textures and colours. This jar has a traditional Japanese oribe glaze, which is also reminiscent of green glazes used in French provincial pottery. The piece has a rustic patina from the the way the glaze sits on this clay, and includes evidence of my finger marks where the pot was held while applying the glaze. I have made several of these jars over the last year or so; and I wanted to approach a state of freedom and abandonment with the jars, rather than feeling constrained and tight.
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