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. Peter found the same inherent skills in India, Nepal, Japan and New Mexico. He tried to adopt the ideas picked up from his travels in his own work. By building up layers of textured clay combined with burnishing and polishing of surfaces, he tries to achieve opposites of rough and smooth.
Peter has been working on large scale ceramic forms which he has placed in the landscape. His main aim is that the work should not compete with the landscape, but evolve within the environment. With this in mind, Peter has 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 him again to India, where he discovered Udaipur in Rajasthan and which is where Peter come for inspiration, when his studio in Bath in England gets cold in the winter months. This has introduced him to other artists and craftsmen enabling him to work with a range of different materials, such as glass, marble, stone and Damascus steel.
In practice Peter goes by the seat of my pants. He has always worked this way, not going by any particular rules or methods. He finds it joyful to work with many different materials. Each has its own character, its own limits, its own tolerance – some materials fight back, some play the game. Finally, Peter thinks it’s the material that is in charge and it will only let you make what it wants. It is his job to push it to its limits and somehow an equilibrium is made between maker and material.