At school my main interests were divided between biology and art, whilst at home I had the freedom to explore the immediate countryside. From an early age my surroundings were and are still very important to me. I enjoy getting to know the environment, studying the beauty and complexity of trees and plants, and spotting the changes to the landscape around me.
This highly tuned visual awareness helped me when I left school and went on to art college, enabling me to engage with the urban environment in much the same way, using what I saw to create patterns and designs.
To a large extent I moved away from this way of working during the 25 years that I made ceramics with my wife. Function, materials and processes were the main considerations, exploring how slips and glazes reacted to the vagaries of a woodfired kiln were a constant challenge.
The change of direction that came about during my MPhil at the Royal College of Art has enabled me to bring together all those early interests together with 21st-century state of the art technologies. I can now include a narrative element into my work through ideas that are triggered by museum visits, or leading on from my other interests. Often related to the historical it is a way of bringing those stories into the present day making them relevant to the times in which we live.
The Acer Pollen Vase is the example of how our increasing knowledge of biological systems, through the use of sophisticated technology allows us to appreciate the beauty of the natural world. The piece was inspired by the form of sycamore pollen seen through an electron microscope. Through a number of iterations the vase developed from a closed sphere into an open vessel form, the abstract structure being replaced by a filigree sycamore leaf. Once the CAD drawings were finalised the data was used to create a 3D print, which was then hand finished and copper plated using a bespoke metal plating process. I then created the verdigris patination.
Michael Eden 2020