Friday, 22 November 2019

Only Artists - Writer Tracy Chevalier meets ceramicist and author Edmund de Waal

I came across a fascinating conversation between the writer Tracy Chevalier and the ceramicist and author Edmund de Waal when catching up on older episodes of the BBC Radio 4 programme, Only Artists.

Tracy Chevalier has written eight novels including the international best-seller Girl with a Pearl Earring. Her latest book 'A Single Thread' is set in Winchester Cathedral. 

Edmund de Waal is a ceramicist and author. His book 'The Hare with Amber Eyes' is a family biography about the loss and survival of art objects through time. His porcelain installations often respond to history, museum collections and archives.


The conversation took place sat at the potter's wheel in Edmund de Waal's studio. As de Waal demonstrated the process of making a small cup, he spoke of the importance of touch and the connection with the material.

Chevalier agreed and the two authors discussed how, when writing they use pen and paper as opposed to using a computer because their mind is connected to the hand which is connected to the paper, and they think at the pace of writing, not typing. Chevalier also noted how she likes to be able to see the 'road maps' of edits - the bits that she has crossed out, the mistakes and edits. Although 'track changes' does a similar job, she finds these hard to follow. Both shared the importance of feeling what they are doing without overworking it; for de Waal this is in clay, for Chevalier, this is in words. 

Chevalier spoke about the importance of authenticity, and remarked that she can't write about something well unless she has done it herself.

No comments: