As I start the final year of my degree I’m realising I don’t have a sufficient amount of storage space left on this blog. I’d like to keep this blog as a record of my studies so far and have decided it would be best to separate my third year work into a new blog which is as follows;
I hope you will join me in the final year of my degree!
After taking a bit of a leap of faith last year and taking the decision to switch courses and repeat the year, this was a crucial time for me. Luckily, I can wholeheartedly say that this was the best decision I could have made at the time.
I feel I now have a much stronger sense of identity in the ceramic world, being able to identify key studio ceramicists such as Lucie Rie, William State Murray, Bernard Leech & Hans Cooper. I feel like I am part of the community and have clearer idea of where I sit within the contemporary ceramics world especially after visiting Ceramic Art London.
I have developed my knowledge in slip application, and methods of surface decoration such as decals, sgraffito, inlaying and stencils. This has allowed me to further explore my more illustrative tendencies and I feel as though my drawing is much more encouraged, (as opposed to last year) I feel it helps to bring more context to the work I produce. Over the course of the year, I’ve also built my confidence in firing and loading kilns, I now feel fully comfortable in programming them on my own and being responsible for them, next year I hope to even take on the bigger roles such as packing the bisq. I still feel as though my technical knowledge of clay and glazes could be improved; I was hoping to attend the first year’s Alchemy sessions, but wasn’t able to attend due to timetable restrictions. However I still have time to develop this further over the summer and at the start of next year.
I feel like my work has progressed significantly, becoming much more genuine when compared to my work over the two years on Maker. Looking back, I now realise that I used to make things in order to meet criteria and get good grades but now I feel a much stronger connection to my work and I am able to better defend its position in the art world. This has obviously come about from exploring my sexuality through my work, something which, up and till recently I haven’t felt confident enough to explore. I have been able to bring further context to my work through field (Wunderkammer) and by continuing to visit museums and galleries afterwards, visiting both the Hockney exhibition and the Queer British Art exhibition at Tate Britain; whilst I was hoping that the Queer British Art exhibition would prove to be more influential, the Hockney exhibition exceeded my expectations. I will undoubtedly continue in this direction for third year, but have no outcomes planned, which I believe is the best way to go into third year. I will continue to draw and research over the summer break for both my subject work and my dissertation work, looking at the representation of the male nude throughout history.
Compared to this time last year I am much more confident and even excited at the idea of progressing into third year and even being finished with my undergraduate degree all together.
At the start of the year I was told that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to take part in Field this year because I had already passed L5 Field in Maker. I was quite disheartened by this as I know that this is one of the more exciting aspects of L5. Luckily, the options that I wanted to do were both run by Duncan so I was able to ‘unofficially’ join them.
The first project I partook in was Home Truths, which involved exploring narratives of the home through plates. I chose to explore the themes of sexuality, coming out and the act of consuming. Experimenting with displaying subvert and overt sexual images on domestic-ware, with the idea of the images slowly being revealed as the food is consumed. I was able to quickly get a taste of slip decorating, decals, oxide washes, under-glazing and majolica. I particularly enjoyed being able to hear feedback from IKEA who kindly donated plates for us to decal. I took the theme of sexuality back into my subject work and further refined my slip decorating skills as discussed in my summative powerpoint. Since my field assessment I finished glazing my pieces and redesigned my slip stencil plate to have a textured edge and non uniform shape; I’ve have lots of interest in these plates and I hope to continue making them, eventually selling them at Pride events.
The second project was Wunderkammer, which involved travelling the country visiting British museums in a minibus. This was a very stimulating but also slightly exhausting experience. I fell behind on blogging and wasn’t able to process everything fast enough, and to some extent, I feel like I am still processing it. My outcome came about from questioning the portrayal (or lack of) marginalised identities throughout museums. This was inspired by Lubaina Himid’s solo exhibition and due to the lack of queer objects I came across on my travels. I proposed an exhibition that brought together women artists, gay artists and black artists along with their respective historic artefacts (Venus, Greek vases and African objects) each bringing further context to the other. It was suggested that I focus purely on Gay objects but at the time I wanted to emphasise the sense of coming together rather than imposing more separation. For this reason, the artists I chose all inter-meshed and crossed the categories.
Since assessment I have been able to continue the ‘Wunderkammer’ mentality, visiting Collect, Ceramic Art London, the Hockney exhibition & the Queer British Art exhibition, as well as further online research into specifically ‘queer’ exhibitions. This project also brought further context and understanding to my own work, answering questions such as why I feel the need or desire to make such objects.
I feel the options I chose complemented each other well; both options were very idea driven, however Home Truths was more about the production of things and having physical outcomes, whilst Wunderkammer was more conceptual and had theoretical outcomes.
Identifying objects of significance. Naturally drawn towards figuration and abstraction. Key themes of humour, interactivity, sexuality & colour.
Initially taking Girard’s doll as starting point. The idea of a series of objects that bring further meaning to each other and change their interpretation – Simple exploration of ‘like’ shapes to form faces and recognisable figures. An accessible form of curation, questioning the idea of physical interaction.
Working in 2D up to this point, influenced by Field. Narratives of the home explored through plates, refining slip application, sgraffito and decals. Themes of sexuality, coming out and consuming. Playing between subversion and overtness of sexual images on domestic-ware. Realising this is a theme I want to bring into my subject. Wanting to move this into 3D.
Rethinking catalyst object, wasn’t really happy with my the direction of my previous subject work. Further research into Sam Haile = painter & ceramicist.
Bringing context to my work, answering why am I making these objects through field, questioning the erasure of marginalised identities. Further research into queer representation, Matt Smith, LGBT activist, curator and artist – creating gay themed exhibitions and The Warren Cup; speaks of how museums, and the objects on display in them are a reflection of society’s views and remind us that the way societies view sexual relationships is never fixed.
Turning the 2D into 3D. Slab forming inspired by the crude form of Eglin’s bucket. Finding confidence in mark making in a more sophisticated manner. Experimenting with combining previous techniques together. Could have been left as cylinder but through adding a base there is an ambiguity of function. Finding inspiration from paintings and experimenting with a more painterly surface and application of slips to play more to the sense of movement and touch.
Testing base recipes for slips, firing to earthenware and stoneware and cementing my position with using earthenware. Testing how various red’s mix together for use on my own work. Wanted to explore more rigoursus testing of mixing stains and oxides but didn’t really get the chance to go back to it after Easter. Use for colours = own glaze pencils
Using reds and mixing on the surface, understanding how the colours will change after firing and glaze application. Looking back and Warren cup and realising some indication of environment in background is needed. Grayson Perry, objects of the home giving indication of class, morals and values using these to normalise the ‘devious’.
Smallest first, glazed as any ordinary cup – questioning why?
Right bucket – brushing and spraying, experimenting with thickness of application and trying to achieve drips
Left bucket – selective glazing, to shade and emphasise
Last formative mentioned Exploring the idea of ambiguous function further. Laure Prouvost’s table – confusing states of seduction and repulsion; built-in function – boob butter dishes, eyeball salt and pepper shakers. Able to explore this further in France but realising I still feel there is a lot more I can do with this bucket form.
Ceramic Art London, Elly Wall & Elke Sada. Plant pot sale used to explore forms & understand how to utilise the cracked edge
Coming back to the idea of a series, uniformly different.
Working on multiple at once, but look back now I think this isn’t a good idea for me. The longer it’s covered and spray the more the cracks and texture of the canvas gets lost. Things drying out too fast without spraying.
Scared to start on surface of buckets, making some quick test slabs. Realising I have a lot of drawings that I haven’t used. Hockney’s impression of environment through block shapes.
Wooden bat as inspiration to stain and mark. Creases to blend figure and environment together. Flowing canvas base.
Satire use of signs inspired by bbc documentary “Does God Hate Queers”. Less representational to appeal more to humor, sense of the put together like an actual protest sign.
Some not my fault, others rushing to get things dry. Knowing for next year to really give time to drying. But also realising that I don’t actually mind a lot of the cracks. Sometimes they can add to the piece.
Ceramics = toilet & consuming, interaction. Ways to subvert if too offensive? ‘Birdhouse’. Glass kiln spyhole called the same thing, place a bung in the hole? Grundgey.
Near eye level, lines of metal rods leading eye up. Space to walk around everything. Hidden surprise at bottom.
Non-uniform shaped plate with ‘cracked’ textured edge. Trying to be more racially aware and experimenting with adding underwear.