What we’re hearing right now is the sound of some of the chimes that make up this artwork. There are almost one thousand chimes made of clay and a very few made of glass.
Can you imagine the sound the whole artwork would make, moving in the wind?
Now let’s hear from artist Kate Newby.
I started making these porcelain wind chimes because I was really interested in the fact that when you fired porcelain to a high temperature, it sounded like glass.
I’m drawn to actually quite a small collection of materials, and they’re these materials that go through quite a massive transformation through heat and time and process.
So, porcelain and glass, you know, the base material is silica. They’re not that different. And so when you’re working with them, there’s this compatibility across the range of materials. And then they also go through quite a radical, huge, beautiful transformation that takes the work away from me because I’ve got nothing to do with that.
It’s not my crafting, it’s not my skill that transforms clay into something ceramic. And I love actually losing the work in the process and giving it over to what, you know, what the universe wants to do with it.
When you fire clay, it becomes a rock. You’re just reversing the geological process.
When I’m working with clay – or most materials – I’m not thinking, ‘How much can I do?’ I’m thinking, ‘How little can I do?’ So, ‘How can I have this clay respond to where I am without really crafting it?’
So what I do is I use things like gravity, and I’ve thrown massive amounts of clay – at sidewalks, at walls, off buildings – just to see what will happen. Again, through this … what I see as a collaboration with situation.
I want that to be evident somehow in the final work. I really want people to experience a work that’s been made in quite a few different locations over the course of a decade. So I think there’ll be all this residue information in the clay, and the clay again … Like giving myself over to the firing process, I also want the clay to kind of do its own thing when I throw it at the ground or when I hammer it with a stick or something.
So I’m definitely encouraging it in the world, but I’m also not trying to make it about me too much.
When I see the work, I think how it feels good to just let everything in. So it wasn’t about making aesthetic decisions, or, ‘What’s it gonna look like?’ ‘What’s it gonna mean?’ I just said, ‘What have I got? What’s in my possession?’ I’m putting it all together.
Thanks for that insight, Kate.
I'll leave you with the sound of the chimes.