The most basic pleasure is to draw and all that you see on this site has begun as a drawing on paper. Sometimes as a very closely observed study of a nude, sometimes not much more than a few scrappy lines to give me the sweep of a beach.
I’ll redraw or trace this drawing onto a slab of clay, rolled out with a rolling pin like a piece of pastry and begin building up the image in low relief, sometimes cutting away but mostly adding clay until I have a finished sculpture in wet clay.
I make a plaster of paris mould which destroys the sculpture but leaves me with a mould I can re-work. By pressing the clay back into it by hand I get slightly imperfect impressions. The clay can distort and have slight patterns from the pressure, almost a grain which I like as a counterpoint to the detail. It also makes each one of the fifteen in the edition subtlety different.
Once fired, the ceramics become my canvas - pure white.
I paint with watercolour washes, sometimes more water than paint as the clay is incredibly porous, also acrylic and gouache over the watercolour, pencil, coloured pencil over that and occasionally some gold leaf highlights.
Sealed with shellac and a couple of coats of UV varnish so they can be touched, dusted, gently cleaned.
Each is mounted on a painted board. I attach patinated copper cleats at the corners, more decoration than necessity, echoing those ancient shards of sculpture you see in museums.
Simply framed they are a painted sculpture, a sculptured painting.
Craig Fletcher has been working as an artist in New Zealand for many decades. He began his career in England with traditional sculpture in clay and bronze and won the Royal Equestrian Society’s sculpture award. A few years on, and a few moves later, his work has developed into low relief ceramic sculptures. These are over painted with water-colour, acrylic and some gold leaf. After the Christchurch earthquakes the family scuttled off to Auckland where he has continued to take inspiration from many parts of Aotearoa's dramatic landscapes and iconic wildlife. He makes his living by exhibiting in galleries throughout the country with ceramic and bronze art, as well as producing a range of prints and jewellery. His latest venture is a series of sculptured ingots cast in 999 pure silver which will be made to order by Regal Castings LTD. These ingots are being launched at the NZ Art Show online and represent artwork that literally has some currency. Craig is a passionate advocate for supporting Kiwi Made and believes that New Zealanders are made of strong stuff. Diversity is key. He has high hopes for the future of the country in these strange times.
The JewelleryThe jewellery is really a tiny simplified version of the paintings. I love the change of scale. We, Annie and me, still press them and paint them by hand so they all vary.
More heavily sealed than the paintings with a metal alloy back to frame them and strengthen them.