58 Fore Street, Tregony, Truro Cornwall TR2 5RW. Telephone 01872 530505
David Burrows

David Burrows/Sleevenotes

David Burrows
"A lifelong devotion to aged objects began at a young age when I could be found digging on the sites of Victorian rubbish tips across the north of England. I would turn up earthenware pots, glass bottles and children’s porcelain toys. I was enthralled by the differing effects of time, temperature and the elements on the ceramics and glazes. 

I went on to study at Bradford College of Art then moved to London. After a decade in the music business, I found work as an illustrator. My continued fascination with patina and ancient things then led me into antique restoration, specialising in the carving and gilding of 18th and 19th century French mirrors and Church art, particularly statues. Now I employ those techniques in the sculpting of my own pieces."

 

David’s work is influenced by, and often references, 19th and 20th century art and design. The effect of time and nature is what interests him. Decay, the ageing of the human body, the play of mosses and lichens on stone, the peeling of paint, the weathering of dead trees, the sun’s fading of plastics, these are the textures and tones he tries to echo in his work.

A piece can take anything between a few weeks and six months to complete. After the work is sculpted it must be thoroughly dried before it is bisque-fired – heated to up to 980°c over a 15-hour period then cooled for a similar amount of time. The next step is the mixing and application of the glazes. Some pieces will have many different colours and tones applied.

He uses various glazing techniques but most of his work is glazed and fired using the raku method. This is where the sculpture is put into a collapsible gas kiln and again heated to 980°c but quickly, usually in about an hour. After some time, depending on the size and shape of the piece, the gas is cut and the kiln is immediately opened, thermally shocking the surface of the work and causing crackling effects on the glaze. The sculpture is then placed as speedily as possible into a metal box filled with combustible materials, like sawdust, newspaper and dry leaves and left for between 15 minutes and an hour. The smoke is drawn into the cracks in the shocked glaze creating a myriad of strange effects. When removed, still very hot, it is sprayed carefully with water, further changing the tones and nuances. It is then cleaned and left to cool. If the desired effect hasn't been realised, more glaze can be applied and the piece fired and smoked for a second, third or fourth time.
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