Connecting with Ancient Magic - Exploring growth, decay and regeneration - Vase commission

We recently took part in a local exhibition in Southend (at the New City Gallery) and met an incredible range of talented artists there. 

the new city gallery exhibition

However, the two of them really stood out for me. I'm not sure what it is exactly, probably we clicked on a more personal level, or maybe it is their artistic practice and vibe that resonates with my soul more than the art pieces of others. 

One of them is Mike - an incredible local ceramist (who will be the main focus of my blog today), and another is Rowena - a talented local sculptor working with metal (we'll probably leave her story for another day).

It was a private opening evening of the mentioned exhibition. And I remember like it was today.

Everyone is chatting and sipping wine. That is where the curator of the gallery introduces me to Mike. And that is how our collaboration is born. 

He invites me to come over to his place in the next couple of weeks, where he explains his art process, shows me some of his other artworks and shares his story of becoming a ceramic artist. 

ceramics artwork

His art is simply magical. He is a true master of hand-built clay sculpture and ceramics, and he is always on the lookout for a perfect shape and curve which is fuelling his artistic practice all the time. 

Having lived in Leigh for over 40 years, he now has a studio there, where he works and creates his magnificent vases. His art is heavily inspired and influenced by the thoughts of growth, decay and regeneration. And when you look at his artwork, it radiates a real depth and even some ancient magic.

That is why I simply couldn't resist photographing it.

On a sunny afternoon I pick up the vase and arrive home. I am struggling to control the excitement that is building up inside of me and can't wait to start working. It starts from a sketch as usual. It takes me a while this time whilst I am carefully studying the peculiar shape of the vase first, trying to find that perfect angle to present it in the best possible light.

studying ceramics shapes for photography composition

And then it clicks - I have a complete vision in my mind and am ready to shoot.

photography process - sketch

Following a sketch there are hours and hours of light painting photography in near complete darkness (check out the video to see what it feels like), but it was totally worth it and I don't regret a single minute invested into the process.

light painting photography process

Mike's gorgeous vase looks like it's fuming with gentle flames, whilst a couple of soft light strokes are hugging its curves from top to bottom.

Vase photograph - commissioned photography

vase close upvase close up

When the artwork was finished, I printed the completed art piece and gifted it to the artist. This photography artwork isn't for sale and it comes in a single edition, an exclusive. He was deeply touched by this gesture and decided to hang it in his studio one day.

fine art photography print

Hope you enjoyed this story and feel free to reach out if you have any questions or would like to work on a similar commission together. And please come and tell us what your favourite bit is from the video!

If you'd like to see more of the artworks I've done in the past - feel free to visit my online store here. 

And I am currently working on a new art piece - so keep an eye on my social media and email newsletter - let's connect on Instagram (@photoportrayal_studio) or Facebook.

Until next time,


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