Archaeologists often make educated suppositions, but suppositions none the less on the meaning of objects, foreign now to our eyes through the passage of time. Many craftspeople and artists continue to use materials and create objects in a simple way which continues the exploration of the relationship between the human and the environment through materials and tools. Strip away contemporary technology - for a potter dig clay and assess its plasticity by mixing it in the palm of your hand with spit. Mix it with water and let the grit settle to the bottom. The archaeologist experiencing these processes, fleshes out the finds, puts meat on the bones and gets into the psyche of these foreigners of time. It may even shrink time, how far we have come, but how our needs and pleasures remain constant.
For these pieces, Hand Tools, I have at the most basic level formed clay in my hands capturing the imprints of my fingers and grasp. In reference to the polished stone hand axes which are hard and unyielding, these clay pieces retain the marks of handling and hint at how our imaginations apply function onto mysterious objects. This is the basic interaction between human and material; the interface at which the tool is created.
The Hand Tools were burnished using a flint nodule and low fired. The white pieces were also polished with beeswax. The others were coloured by packing salts, copper oxide, sawdust and raffia grass around them and firing so that the salts and copper released fumes which coloured the clay. The salts are now re-emerging through the growth of salt crystals on the surface. The raffia and sawdust smouldered and left soft carbon markings in the clay. The forms can be arranged from the simple to the more worked, a comment on the increasing complexities of technology, when sometimes the most basic solution is all that is required.