This Week We Invite: Jennie McCall
I work primarily in ceramics with some mixed media, taking inspiration from a deep love of the natural world and a life long interest in the symbolism of European fairy-tales, myth and all things mysterious.
Mostly I use porcelain and parian for its potential to allow me to create fine detail and for the translucency that can be achieved when the clay is fired at high temperatures. I use very little glaze but some oxides that once fired into the clay pick up the detail and allow the story to be revealed.
Describe a typical day in a couple of sentences? A typical working day begins around 9am after all the annoying but necessary admin has been taken care of & I give myself permission to take a short stroll over to the studio trying not to get too distracted by the weeds and potential mishap of treading on any unseen dog poos lurking amongst the gravel.
Five live is on the radio and I put on my favourite pinny from Priddy Essentials, make a cup of tea avoiding the biscuit tin and generally procrastinate whilst observing the birds on the feeder, put the dogs out, pull a few weeds out of the rose garden, check my instagram and post something interesting, check my FB, make another cuppa and dip in to the biscuit tin hoping for a chocolate digestive, let the dogs back in, give them a treat, turn five live off and either have silence for the remainder of the day or a listen to Leonard Cohen whose mantra of words and music never fails to shift my awareness from the mundane to the act of creeping up on my work for the day, picking up my tools and drifting to the place where the magic begins and there is no time to the ending …
In your studio – what’s the first thing you see? (be honest- I can see an empty packet of chocolate digestives!) I open the door of the studio and look right through the general carnage of stuff to the view of my lovely garden and the fields beyond.
Which artist living or dead would you like to meet and why? I would like to have met Leonard Cohen who though not an artist in the applied sense has inspired me through his words and music beyond any other and always will.
Cats or dogs? I have two naughty, adorable studio pals called Bill and Hamish who happen to be black and tan cocker spaniel brothers . I also, when the situation occurs adopt friendly spiders that happen to have chosen my studio to be a home for a while – we have an arrangement that is if we keep a respectful distance all will be well in the studio household.
Tell us a surprising thing about you? I sucked my thumb until I was 15 and discovered gin!
Name your idle pleasure? Gin!
Recommend a book? Theatre of the Imagination by Prof Clarissa Pinkola Estes
What helps you to focus? Even beyond walking and foraging in the woods and on beaches – a long deep soak in an aromatic bath with a gin and tonic and sketchbook
What would your top tip be for the year – to yourself or to others? Just be kind to yourself and to others.
What are you looking forward to in the next year Looking forward - professionally, I am working with a few artists collaboratively which is exciting and an unpredictable artistic adventure. I have to say though – I’m really looking forward to spending more time with my gorgeous toddler grandson Wolfe and the rest of my fantastic family.