Barry Stedman's Playing Live series of ceramic vessels is based around and inspired by Modern Jazz. Most of his vessels are made by throwing on the potters wheel. He likes to work quite quickly and spontaneously, making the form, feeling the material, pushing and pulling it into something else, searching for a feeling that seems to fit and have life. This seems to him to have a direct connection to some of the modern jazz that he loves listening to and he particularly likes live playing. In this body of work, he wants to try and bring across a sense of ‘playing live’ in his work, allowing things to happen in the moment. Barry likes to build up layers of colour and texture almost like overlaid sounds and he enjoys creating contrasts with rapid fine marks and big lush brushes of colour, that may be akin to bright high key notes. He says he feels a sense of rhythm in the way an undulating rim flows round a form and the brush marks interject colour and moments of pause, speeding up and slowing down, and although what results is a static form, he hopes to express some of the sense of drama and excitement that he feels from listening to music. In the same way that abstract painting often references music, the forms and marks on his vessels have a certain musical feel. He says his work ‘feels like it has rhythm and movement, bass note colours and marks, high notes and contrasting visual sounds.
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