Peter Hayes has always been interested in the history of ceramics – why and how ‘things’ are made of clay. This interest was extended after he spent several years travelling through Africa working with various tribes and village potters and being intrigued how, with limited technology and basic tools, they were able to get such exquisite, beautiful surfaces. He found the same inherent skills in India, Nepal Japan and New Mexico, and tried to adopt the ideas picked up from my travels in my own work. “By building up layers of textured clay combined with burnishing and polishing of surfaces, I try to achieve opposites of rough and smooth.”
Peter works on large scale ceramic forms which he places in the landscape. He says “My main aim is that the work should not compete with the landscape, but evolve within the environment. With this in mind I have introduced other minerals into the Raku ceramic surface such as iron and copper. With the elements of time and erosion, the individual piece takes on its own developing surface.”
Recently, one of these large commissions has taken Peter to India, as the client suggested he make it on site. As a result, he discovered Udaipur, in Rajasthan, where he goes for inspiration when his studio in Bath, England, gets cold in the winter months. Being in India also introduced Peter to other artists and craftsmen and women, enabling him to work with a range of different materials, such as glass, marble, stone and Damascus steel.
Despite his wide experience and expertise, he says “In practice I go by the seat of my pants. I have always worked this way, not going by any particular rules or methods. I think it’s the material that is in charge and it will only let you make what it wants. It is my job to push it to its limits and somehow an equilibrium is made between maker and material.”