These figures come from a time when recipes for porcelain paste were extremely valuable closely guarded secrets, and reputations were built on the fine detail and delicacy of the porcelain . The challenge or the proof of the craftsmen’s skill and the quality of the porcelain, was to produce figures with the most daringly fragile extremities; standing on one leg or holding an arm in the air.
In less fine examples, tricks were used to give the appearance of skill. These people ended up with young girls with improbable tree stumps sprouting from their elbows and strange organic lumps rising up behind shepherds to support their flutes. I am interested in the supports we use in life, to justify ourselves or to give us courage or to enable us to enjoy ourselves. It appeals to me to be able to portray figures whose supports are so glaringly obvious. It is important to me that all
my little people are having a good time, they carry the fact that they have no choice but to display their inability to stand up unaided with good humour. I also like the fact that the figures are usually dressed in their best clothes, with all their face on – and yet when this painted on self hits the kiln it melts and slips slightly