2020
JAN MULLEN

ARTIST STATEMENT

Over & Under the Deep & Briny Blue is a wide open and wordy theme to work to, though one that allowed me to explore extensively – this exploration, for me, is a wonderful part of this annual project. I had a year of reading classic maritime texts, of viewing undersea footage with delight, of investigating fishing in all forms, and of trying hard but failing to include my personal connections to the sea. Ultimately I responded to little of my research directly – instead I relaxed and simply went with the flow.

Drifting in the Deep & Briny Blue

Once handmade from natural materials by skilled artisans then repaired for as long as was feasible. Skills long gone, todays ghostly veils made from ‘unnatural’ materials float loose and broken, wrecked and wrecking.

Size – 50cm x 3m (wxh), Materials – rope, fabric (silk, linen, cotton), Technique – digital printing, hand stitch, knotting

Jan Mullen Ceramic plate
Drifting in the Deep & Briny Blue #1 - crystal clear
Jan Mullen Ceramic plate
Drifting in the Deep & Briny Blue #1 - crystal clear (detail)
Jan Mullen Ceramic plate
Drifting in the Deep & Briny Blue #2 - clear & blue
Jan Mullen Ceramic plate
Drifting in the Deep & Briny Blue #2 - clear & blue (detail)
Jan Mullen Ceramic plate
Drifting in the Deep & Briny Blue #3 - deep & green
Jan Mullen Ceramic plate
Drifting in the Deep & Briny Blue #3 - deep & green (detail)

The Calm & Balm of the Deep & Briny Blue – 3 SERIES

Afloat upon, immersed within, watched from close or afar – the sea mesmerises, excites and soothes. Present yourself to its expanse with anger or disappointment and be healed. Place your feet in the sand and the sea’s any-weather balm will build you anew.

Size: 24 x 24.5cm. Materials: paper, watercolour paint, frame. Technique: painting.

SERIES 1 – Phathlo blue
Jan Mullen Ceramic plate
#1 Phathlo blue
Jan Mullen Ceramic plate
#2 Phathlo blue
Jan Mullen Ceramic plate
#3 Phathlo blue
Jan Mullen Ceramic plate
#4 Phathlo blue
Jan Mullen Ceramic plate
#5 Phathlo blue
SERIES 2 – INDIGO blue
Jan Mullen Ceramic plate
#6 Indigo blue
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#7 Indigo blue
Jan Mullen Ceramic plate
#8 Indigo blue
Jan Mullen Ceramic plate
#9 Indigo blue
Jan Mullen Ceramic plate
#10 Indigo blue
SERIES 3 – Antwerp blue
Jan Mullen Ceramic plate
#11 Antwerp blue
Jan Mullen Ceramic plate
#12 Antwerp blue
Jan Mullen Ceramic plate
#13 Antwerp blue
Jan Mullen Ceramic plate
#14 Antwerp blue
Jan Mullen Ceramic plate
#15 Antwerp blue
Schools in, in the Deep & Briny Blue

Sardines are amongst the tiddlers of the ocean – ubiquitous. When massing in schools and swirling in the deep their iridescent colour gently glows.

Total size – 1m x 1.2m (wxh) variable
Materials – fabric (silk, linen, cotton), thread, buttons/beads, watercolour paint, coloured pencil. Technique – free machine stitching, painting, hand stitch.

Jan Mullen fabric fish
Schools in, in the Deep & Briny Blue
Sailing around the Deep & Briny Blue


Three Globes
The intricacies of antique etched prints of the sea, describing movement simply, hold great appeal. This language of old lines, and the patterns created by them, is one I do not yet chase to include in my art armoury instead I ‘use’ the old and authentic to show my appreciation of time and place and history.

Size: variable dimensions, approximately 19cm x 22cm (WxH). Materials: beach ball, fabric, batting, stuffing, ink, thread, plaster. Technique: sculpting the beach ball, digital printing on fabric, hand stitch.

Jan Mullen globes
#1 Southerly
Jan Mullen globes
#2 Easterly
Jan Mullen globes
#3 Northerly

Stories of the Deep & Briny Blue – 5 series

When starting my research for this year’s theme my go-to was the classic literature I have read over the years. Old words, poetry and statements, so difficult to winnow. As the year progressed I moved to the the songs of the sea and the delights of sea shanties, resting easily with the gentle words of Emily Dickensen.

SERIES 1 - TREASURE ISLAND

Three Large Plates 

Size – #1(39 x 39cm), #2 & #3 (39.5 x 39.5cm), Materials – Ceramic, paint, thread, Process – Hand crafted plates, incised, coloured. Glue and stitch for #3.

Jan Mullen Ceramic plate
#1 - The Doctor
Jan Mullen Ceramic plate
#2 - Jim Hawkins
Jan Mullen Ceramic plate
#3 - Billy Bones
SERIES 2 – BY THE SEA

A Poem by Emily Dickensen spread over six plates

Size – each plate, 26cm diameter, Materials – Clay, underglaze, glaze, Process – Hand built, underglaze writing

Jan Mullen Ceramic plate
#1 - I started early…
Jan Mullen Ceramic plate
#2 - And frigates in…
Jan Mullen Ceramic plate
#3 - But no man moved…
Jan Mullen Ceramic plate
#4 - And made as…
Jan Mullen Ceramic plate
#5 - And he, he followed…
Jan Mullen Ceramic plate
#6 - Until we met…
SERIES 3 – CALL ME ISHMAEL

Nine Small Plates /musings from Moby Dick

Size – 20cm diameter
Materials – Clay, underglaze, glaze. Process – Hand built, underglaze writing

Jan Mullen Ceramic plate
#1 - See how elastic…
Jan Mullen Ceramic plate
#2 - To produce a mighty book…
Jan Mullen Ceramic plate
#3 - Yes, as everyone knows…
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#4 - As for me…
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#5 - It is not down…
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#6 - I try all things…
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#7 - Ignorance is…
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#8 - Heaven have…
Jan Mullen Ceramic plate
#9 - It is the easiest thing…
SERIES 4 – THE OPTOMIST/THE REALIST

Five Dinner Plates

Size – 26 cm diameter, Materials – Clay, underglaze, glaze, Process – Hand built, underglaze writing

Jan Mullen Ceramic plate
#1 - The Fishermen Know by Vincent Van Gogh
Jan Mullen Ceramic plate
#2 - The Pessimist by William Arthur Ward
Jan Mullen Ceramic plate
#3 - The Heart of Man by Vincent Van Gogh
Jan Mullen Ceramic plate
#4 - To Reach a Port by Franklin D.Roosevelt
Jan Mullen Ceramic plate
#5 - The Sea, once it casts its Spell by Jacques Cousteau
SERIES 5 – PORTHOLE VIEW

Three Shallow Bowls

Size – 27cm diameter, Materials – Clay, underglaze, glaze, Process – Hand built, underglaze drawing

Jan Mullen Ceramic plate
Porthole View #1 - close
Jan Mullen Ceramic plate
Porthole View #2 - far
Jan Mullen Ceramic plate
Porthole View #3 - near
THE DECEMBER GALLERY
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