By Steve Woodcock
Stoneware with oxides
Original artwork: hand-built
Individually hand-built in stoneware clay and glazed with oxides that pick out its intricate details of face and form, Sprocket is one of Steve's quirky mechanical-cum-organic creatures, perched precariously on a platform out-of-scale with his huge feet and lumbering body. Is that a look of puzzlement or grim satisfaction that he has made it onto that tiny stage?
Typically, Sprocket's body is a hybrid of mechanical and fleshy parts and joints, melded together. He is both a reflection of our modern, techically-driven lives and a throwback to some fantasy world of evolving life.
We are left to judge the personality of the creature from his facial expression, stance and accoutrements.
Steve has been dreaming up and constructing these creatures - his own definition of 'metamorphosis' - for almst two decades. He has quite a following for his sculpting work and it has been shown across the Midlands and South-West, having won his first major acclaim at the International Ceramics Federation festival almost a decade ago.
ABOUT STEVE WOODCOCK
In a world of ever-more efficient mass production, hand-building and sculpting in clay flies in the face of uniformity, whether in the formation of shapes or in the firing process. It’s part of the fun, and sometimes frustration, but means that no two pieces are ever the same. Each piece is an individual, with its own distinctive character quirks and appeal.
Using stoneware clay and oxides, Steve designs fascinating creatures who are both organic and mechanical, creating unique hybrid characters, each with its own story.
Look closely and you can deduce how they move, what strange joints, limbs and parts are woven into their evolution and, sometimes, even guess at their purpose or calling. Some, you might surmise, live strange and unorthodox lives; others enjoy whatever clan and country they inhabit. Every one has a mixture of mechanical and animal eccentricity.
Less mechanical beings also come to life in clay and glaze, often comical in appearance or mood – notably birds, pigs and dogs. (His Jack Russell terrier, Bean, is his regular muse.) Their bases are made from wood off-cuts - recycled timber or from tree maintenance in the artist's garden.
Steve also throws a range of vessels: again, each one is a one-off, with intricate details of glaze or fused glass.