Ceramic Art London 26.02.2011

I had a really enjoyable and inspiring day at Ceramic Art London. I had a very interesting chat with Lisa Hammond’s apprentice Darren who discussed the possibility of getting involved with kiln building and wood firing, an exciting possibility. I would also like to attend one of the master classes this summer with Rizu Takahashi, this class coincides with an exhibition of Yunomi’s and teapots.

I also spoke to Dylan Bowen about his work. He talked about how he creates spontaneity, a fresh organic look by throwing his pieces into a mould. He said that if he tried to make those marks himself it would look contrived rather than organic and talked about how you know when it looks right. He like me struggled to put into words what he meant but I understood exactly what he was trying to describe because it is what I have been trying to do myself. It was really uplifting to speak to someone who was on my wavelength.

I also got to catch up with Lowri Davies who I studied at Cardiff with and I was really taken with the work of Antje Ernestus.  

These images are of Chris Taylor’s work and the glass studio.

Corsham 08.02.2011

I had a very useful trip to Corsham (thank you David). Whilst I was there I found an archive of all sorts of interesting things and not surprisingly the first drawer I opened contained pottery sherds, I took lots of photos, none of which I can open!! Hopefully there will be a chance that this can be remedied when my technician gets back from Oz!

I also found a couple of really useful books in the reference library, again I took photos which I now can’t open, oh dear. Still I did write down a couple of useful quotes from: The World of Japanese Ceramics by Herbert Sanders, published by Kodabsha International LTD Tokyo Japan, 1968:

pg 10 “In Japan, even if the potter is known as an ‘abstract’ artist, he has been trained in and has acquired the basic pottery techniques” This is something I strongly agree with and relates to my research on Peter Voulkos

There are three images of pots which follow this quote and hopefully I will be able to retrieve the pictures I took of them. The author then enters into a discussion about conscious and accidental distortion, the first image is of a pot with a tear in it, the second shows how a piece becomes naturally distorted through the firing process and the third shows the regularity of a thrown form eliminated by a casual sweep of a rib over the slipped surface.

“The production of successful distortion of this kind, whether conscious or accidental, can be considered one of the real challenges and adventures of the potter” pg 137

When I add fragments of pottery to my work sometimes it looks right, it’s pushed in deep enough it’s in the right place, you get an interesting crack which can be stapled and sometimes it looks odd or awkward. It’s not always obvious what went wrong but you know when it has. It is the same when I am throwing forms that are meant to be flowing, sometimes they just aren’t and it can be the subtlest of differences between a pot that works and one that doesn’t.

Having read extracts from this book and reflecting on the work I have been thinking about I am going to go back to making teabowls (Yunomi). For me these are quick and enjoyable to make; a way of doing without thinking about doing (Wabi Sabi) and also a good way of trying out new ideas quickly.