carole cluer

Art, hope and self acceptance

Tag: kintsugi

Speaking Out Exhibition

I am delighted that in just a few days I am taking part in Embrace Arts exhibition at The University of Leicester’s art centre.


Although the majority of my practice involves drawing, for this exhibition I have revisited my interest with kintsugi, I have previously worked with blue and white plates for a piece called ‘unbroken’ related to my experiences of breast cancer.

This time I have chosen an assortment of plates that would represent different eras and social classes, I have included ones that would be easily recognisable, to contain something that would connect with the viewer’s own life and  emphasise how domestic violence affects all areas of society.

Plates are often chosen when first setting up home, their design reflects the type of home we hope to create, the image that we wish to present as a couple or family. They are desired, saved for, gifted. They are present in our everyday, our special occasions, our celebrations, our tragedies.

Throwing or smashing plates is often used as an image of domestic arguments. The breaking of pottery can be found in wedding and funeral rituals to symbolise something that cannot be undone. Even attempting repair is to accept imperfection.

The contrast of these plates, that were perhaps once carefully selected and are now cracked and repaired, their joints widened and under tension, seeks to highlight the sometimes stark differences between our hopes and realities.

Speaking Out Proof6.indd

I will add more photographs after the opening night, this Friday, 31st January 2014, 5pm-7.30pm

The exhibition runs until Friday 28th March 10am-6pm.

Please go along and have a look if you are able.

For more information about the exhibition and symposium this Friday

New Work – Portrait of Lydy

I just wanted to show you my first work in what hopefully will become a series. As with all my pictures I want to apologise for the quality, its really tough getting a good clear photo of a 100 x 70 cm drawing, they always come out too dark without the full contrast, but I hope you can get the idea.

If you would like to see the real thing it is being displayed at Sheffield Hallam University along with some of my other work on the second floor of Cantor Building.

It is a portrait of a wonderful woman called Lydy whose
bravery, already tested beyond the experience of most of us, has extended to allowing a stranger to draw her.

I am extremely grateful for her generosity and graciousness which I hope I have begun to capture.

I will soon begin the next drawing which Lydy sat for after seeing this portrait for the first time, hopefully using the process of drawing to get to know her better and to extend my work into other media.

Any feedback would be really useful, especially if you manage to see it for real!

Thank you

UnBroken – Contemporary Kintsugi

I have written before about my love of the Japan craft of repair called kintsugi, if anyone is interested I have a page dedicated to it here.

For me it is the perfect combination of skill and endeavour, the search for perfection and the acceptance of imperfection.

It has a beauty that is dependent on the very faults it seeks to repair, not by hiding those cracks but by celebrating them as part of the life of the bowl.

The question was how to make such an ancient craft my own.

It has been such an influence in the whole of my practice it seemed important to include it in my final exhibition, the question was how. I had been experimenting with throwing bowls that I then scarred myself but they lacked the history of a repaired object.

I wanted an object that everyone could identify with and inspired by British artist Lubaina Himid’s  use of  blue and white china I decided to use it. I am sure we have all eaten off of a blue and white plate, if not at home then at our grandparents or in a quaint tea room. They may not be to our taste but they are part of our lives so I hoped we could all identify with them. Also we all have had experience of breaking a cup or a plate and throwing it away without a second thought.

My plates are not joined perfectly, the cracks have been widened, placing them under stress before repair.

They are healed but altered.

Finally rather than gold I gilded them with graphite pencil after all it has been pencil rather than gold that has healed me.

I placed them alongside my self portrait at scar level to draw your eye along towards the book where the plates echo the round ink dots, each of which represent a broken and altered life.

The title, Unbroken, draws from the definition of maintaining spirit and resilience, of surviving, and a more playful, and grammatically incorrect!, un broken as in repaired.

“Nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect”         

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