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Category Archives: Studio Pottery

Studio Production

I am a huge fan of art. I use the term carefully, acknowledging  that the characteristics of fandom are more generally associated with popular culture , music, sci-fi tv shows etc, to describe my devotion to visiting sites for art often and retaining relics of my experiences.  The walls of my teenage bedroom for example, were not covered in Duran Duran posters but postcards of art and artists.

In this dissertation research I have used photography and film to explore my attachment to certain artists through some of my collections. Initially I used  black and white images of artists in their studio primarily taken in the 1960’s, later I extended this to video footage found on you-tube.

Here I have reimagined these images and films with myself as the protagonist performing repetitions, and re-enactments.  I see these affectionate inhabitations as a way of bringing these artists closer to me. The images, objects, and drawings displayed both feed and respond to the making of these homages. Highlighting the relationship between the knowledge available in the experience of art as viewed from a considerable distance: looking at a reproduction – of an artist appearing to perform an artistic act – in the past, and the actual of making art in the present.

This research questions  pedagogical approaches to engaging with the past.  It asks what teachers are offering students and opens up the possibility of  encountering  the past, that goes beyond the surface of biographical detail, and stylistic imitation, toward a different sort of mimetic mode. The capturing of interpretive, generative and embodied experience could present a rich resource, activating acute attention in both audience and maker.

MA INVITE 2018

Please come along, last day tomorrow

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I started my MA last September and am reaching the end of my first year.
I have loved learning, reading and most of all thinking. Thinking about all manor of strange and wonderful art. Painful and uncomfortable at times like all new things, but ultimately transformative.
This was my first stab at an essay in a longish time, and I really did enjoy it.
William Kentridge is the perfect artist to start with, so happy is he to explain himself over and over both in his work and in his writing and lectures. He has that great combination of charisma and virtuosity that makes the very difficult seem very easy.
A bit of a hero now…..
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I left all my pottery stuff in Kenya. Sold my wheel, got rid of my clay, moved on.

Now every exhibition I go to seems to give me permission to do or try something. Previously I might have seen others’ work as a closed door, a reminder of that which I will never achieve. An under scoring of my failure, lack of true commitment, lack of integrity.

Now I don’t seem to care quite so much.

I started doing some work on childhood, more specifically, girlhood. The work I saw, the things I looked at, and my daughters behaviour seem to come together to make a series of photographic and video works.

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This scene of Pomelo destruction reminds me of the lovely poem Liddy’s Orange, it is, to me, a perfect description of childhood.

Liddy’s Orange by  Sharon Olds

 

The rind lies on the table where Liddy has left it

torn into pieces the size of petals and

curved like petals, rayed out like a

full-blown rose, one touch will make it come apart.

The lining of the rind is wet and chalky as

Devonshire cream, rich as the glaucous

lining of a boiled egg, all that protein

cupped in the rich shell. And the navel,

torn out carefully,

lies there like a fat gold

bouquet, the scar of the stem, picked out

with her nails, and still attached to the white

thorn of the central integument,

lies on the careful heap, a tool laid

down at the end of a ceremony.

All here speaks of ceremony,

the sheen of acrid juice, which is all that is

left of the flesh, the pieces lying in

profound order like natural order,

as if this simply happened, the way her

life at 13 looks like something that’s just

happening, unless you see her

standing over it, delicately clawing it open.

 

 

 

 

 

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So I could start with an apology for being away, but that would assume both an audience and an interest, so I won’t bother.

We came back to London in August for a myriad of rational and well though out reasons. I know it to be the right decision but I would confess, my heart was not really in it.

I live among boxes and chaos, my kids are disorientated and stressed. The up side so far is family and friends still look quite pleased to see us.

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Guava Branch, Watercolour on Tracing paper

So my collection of photos of this lovely place and my drawing practice have started to pay off. I have been asked to design a range of woodblock prints for fabric to be used in children and babywear. I have so relished this process, drawing and redrawing. Pattern and Form. I am looking forward to what the Indian craftsman make of it.

The friend that asked me to do it, asked me to draw emblematic East African animals and plants with a Indian sensibility. We swiftly eschewed Giraffes and Rhinos, in favour of the wonderful animals that are less often drawn and therefore more interesting. Whilst working on the drawings I realised how close this idea was to my previous practice in ceramic. In which I explored the cultural richness of East Africa, through working with Islamic decorative motifs on strong bold clay forms. One on another.

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Gerenuk, Pencil Watercolour on Tracing Paper

Augustus and His Smile

Reception Illustration Project

So the Reception Project is finished. I very much enjoyed making this with the kids. Reception year is bursting with energy and sometimes it was hard to manage but the result is lovely. I can’t lay claim to the image it is a direct descendant of Catherine Rayner’s wonderful illustrations in “Augustus and his Smile” one of my favourite and most lovely children’s books. I sent a copy to her I hope she likes it!

The Piece is very large about 18 x 12 ft. Takes up a wall. The school now has to find somewhere to put it! But my work is done….I am on to cooking up my next idea…..

One of the ladies who come to the studio wanted to make a teapot. So I thought I had better make one to remind myself how it is done! I haven’t made one since college.
And as I recall that was a disaster. The pots had been unloaded and put on display with my other work, right before my critique with the tutors. I hadn’t seen them before I walked in to have my turn at the ‘end of second year’ review. They sternly told me my work was ugly, and perhaps I ought to think wether I should complete the course. It was a miserable moment.
The kiln had way over-fired and what was meant to be a brilliant blue was a sludgy green. In the extreme heat the clay had blistered and boiled. The glaze erupted to leave sharp edged craters.
Suffice it to say I didn’t leave (my lovely tutor Sean came to my defence) but I never made a teapot again. Till now. It’s blue too, I hope.

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All ok! They all survived a Cone 4 biscuit firing. That means they have undergone a change on a molecular level and can never return to mud again. Sorry world for better or for worse, that’s it these are for keeps! Aren’t they looking pretty. What clever students and my children’s half term fun survived as well.
Now I just need to find out how much this is going to set me back!

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Biscuit ware, Cone 4 fired to 1060

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Decorative Slip, red iron oxide, cobalt oxide, copper carbonate, and plain old white.

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Decorative Slipware