Much of the work is inspired by nature, particularly landscape and its formation by the forces of wind and water. There are echoes of the ripples left in the sand by the retreating tide, of the growth of lichens and fungi, of the patterns in fossils, shells and seaweed. Nothing is treated literally; these are the starting points for explorations which Peter develops in his studio, sometimes over many years.
An equally powerful influence in his work has been the art of ancient Egypt, evident in many of the forms of his vessels and particularly in their glazes. The result can be a striking blend of ancient and modern, timeless objects which will resonate in a thousand years as strongly as they do now.
His is an evolutionary process, using a limited number of basic forms but working with pattern and layers of colour, pushing the glazes through different firing processes to achieve subtle variations in shading and blistering. His colour palette shifts between pale greens and soft blues, the cool, delicate shades of nature so that although some of the pieces are massive and heavy, they can appear light, even fragile.
These qualities resonate in his bronze and stone work but rely on the boldness of metal and the qualities of the natural materials.
Peter Beard’s work demonstrates conviction and power. This is the work of a mature artist, drawing on years of experience and yet it is ever innovative and inventive. The winner of many prestigious international awards, and with works collected and shown by major galleries and museums across the world, Peter Beard’s reputation as an exceptional artist is well established and his works are highly acclaimed and sought after.
Historian and Director of the Geffrye Museum London
My influences come mainly from nature and landscape – from shells, stones and plants to the bigger visual panorama.
My ceramic work usually uses techniques of layering glaze and painting patterns with wax between the layers of glaze, the wax acting as a resist for the next layer. This is a long and meticulous process which creates complex patterns and textures within the glazes which are then fired to stoneware temperatures.
Alongside my ceramic work I produce sculptural pieces in bronze and stone, the outcome of my desire to experience how one medium influences another. The qualities of metal have always interested me – in particular I am fascinated by ancient metal work from the Bronze and Iron ages.
This has been very challenging and hugely exciting for me as an artist and I continue to push the boundaries of my skills to produce timeless, beautiful objects which people will enjoy having in their homes and workplaces.
My interest in landscape, water, movement and the desire to produce a tactile and beautiful form has resulted in the series of sculpture that I now do. With simple titles, like Sail Form and Head, I leave the interpretation of the work and stories that can be read within the piece to the beholder.