A few miles from the Harlequin Gallery moored on the Thames is the sad sight of the former Mersey Ferry boat, the Royal Iris. A boat that was decommissioned in the early 1990s due to rising repair costs.
The Royal Iris that cruised the Mersey for over 40 years and on which many of the famous Merseybeat bands of the 1960s, including the Beatles, performed is in a sorry state of decay. These days it is home for pigeons and the only “terns” on its deck are the seabird variety. However, it is also less than 100 metres away from the studio of ceramicist, Jane Cairns, whose work I have been showing regularly over recent years. Jane’s work is inspired by found objects that have been altered by corrosion, neglect and time spent in the water and I suspect that the Royal Iris has been a significant inspiration in the development of the surface textures of her work since she moved to this locality.
The forms shown below, like all of Jane’s work, are fired many times until she is happy with the finished texture and colour and I think illustrate the Royal Iris connestion. Hopefully, the boat will be rescued and refurbished in the future, leaving Jane’s work as a reminder of almost thirty years of the its neglect. The three pieces illustrating this article will be available at the next Harlequin Gallery mixed exhibition that opens on Friday 27th July 2018 and continues over that weekend and is then open by appointment until late August.
Jane Cairns came to ceramics after pursuing a career in the business world and graduated with a First-Class Honours degree from the University of Westminster (Harrow) in 2011. Since then she has taken part in numerous mixed exhibitions around the UK. In 2013 she was selected for the Crafts Council Hothouse Emerging Makers Programme and also gained a research residency at the British Ceramics Biennial. Later this year her work will form part of exhibitions at the Oriel Myrddin Gallery in Wales and at the Bluecoat Display Centre in Liverpool. More details about Jane and her work can be found on her website by clicking HERE