I am working on producing a Summer bowl and a Winter bowl. The Summer bowl may eventually be made in porcelain but until I get a shape I am happy with I am going to continue to use stoneware. The Winter bowl has been made using black chunky clay, I am finding that I can thow with this clay without too much trouble especially if I use slip instead of water. Turning it is a little trickier but also not impossible. I tried throwing these bowls with stoneware and then adding a layer of the black chunky as a slip, mainly to keep costs down but I am not happy with the results, the beauty of the black clay is the way it tears and distorts around the edges whereas the stoneware looks too neat. I guess I am just going to have to get selling if I am going to continue to use the black clay.
Some images of the work I have been doing. The tall pieces were first then the plates, the overlayed thrown discs, individual discs then the teabowls.
The overlayed thrown discs are in a curved former which is maquette size and if the piece works I would plan to make it on a much larger scale. I have placed the pieces of ceramic which are going to be shaped and attached as handles at the sides, these will be attached with wire. I then moved on to testing porcelain discs and porcelain on crank. I started looking at clay properties as this was something that came up in my research at SWARCH. I was interested in the idea that it was the clay fabric which helped date a piece and also in the East/West refined porcelain/crude robust pottery idea. Eventually I would like to produce an installation based on all these ideas but for this project I am going to concentrate on making teabowls.
My next step is to start throwing with black chunky clay with a thin layer of porcelain thrown on the inside. I also have some sodium silicate to try out (apparently it can produce a cracked effect on the outside of a pot when thrown from the inside). I have begun to look into where I might source mica (this is proving very difficult) and quartz which is more like a coarse sand than in powder form. I have had some success with the quartz as I believe you can buy builders white silica sand which sounds similar to what I am looking for. I would also like to test using crushed shell as an addition. I then want to produce a more refined looking white teabowl with a blue glaze on the inside to echo the colours in the fragments. Finally I have been looking at the illustrations of pottery in various archaeology books and would like to incorporate them; perhaps by producing my own illustrations of the piece I have made which could then be applied using a lithography technique I have used before.
I have just found the most amazing use of pottery sherds (and yes sherds is the correct term) please see link:
Please can you let me know any family sayings, quotes or poems you may have and their meaning and significance to you. Here are some of mine:
‘old me ‘and and call me Charlie’ I need to work on the cockney accent
‘It aint all lavender’ I discovered this was a title to a song by Joseph Tabrar written in 1894, I can’t find all the lyrics though so if anyone knows them please let me know.
‘Oh my giddy aunt’
‘I’ll be two shakes of a lambs tail’
‘All get east aldgate out’
‘Remember you’re British’
‘I’ll ‘ave your guts for garters’
‘I’ll slap you with a wet lettuce’
‘Stone the flammin crows’
Most of these sayings come from in and around London and a few are from the music halls. There are more and I will keep adding them. I am fascinated by these sayings and have used them almost without realising. I think for me it is a connection with the past and my heritage but also a softer (in some cases) way of commenting on everyday occurences. The language used is often more poetic, a play on words and more subtle, less likely to cause embarrassment or just very funny. A pleasant contrast to the way conversations are conducted today.
Two interesting quotes from www.uwic.ac.uk/icrc/issue012/articles/02.htm taken on the 24.10.10:
‘Time, place and perception are everything. I once heard a fabulous lecture by Louise Cort about how an object could radically shift meaning depending on context. In physics it has been known for a long time that the observer distorts the observed.’
When Lawrence was asked is skill and craftmanship of any value? This was his reply:
‘Yes and no. They have little value in and of themselves. Their real value is as a vehicle for expression. I have a simple definition of craftmanship – which you end up with what you intended when you started. But to be a very good, versatile craftsman is hard. Think of how much language you have to know to write a good poem, let alone one that people might want to hear more than once. Being a proficient typist doesn’t really help.’
One of the quotes from Rose Slivka’s book on Peter Voulkos says that were the pottery ends the art begins. For me I feel you need to have a very strong foundation of technical knowledge ‘craftmanship’ to be able to fulfil your creative ideas, otherwise it can just end in frustration and ceramics can be frustrating enough for the most proficient of makers.
This piece by Fiona Banner is an interesting take on a similar theme. The use of words becoming so abstracted that they are merely letters and yet these letters have the potential to form a complex language. It’s almost the reverse of what Lawrence Bush was saying about the typist without the language. The letters are almost a sort of poetry in themselves.
of unmaking of language. as if you could make every word, or story imaginable,
from these 26 letters. all the potential is there, but none of the words.
the fragile wobberly letters, a byproduce of incrementally, inexpertly bending
the glass-then the electrical circuit pumping the gas through, make it like
one big, constant stutter…words about to be made or unmade. because i have
no practical experience of working with glass, the neon is kindof crappily made.
the final piece reflects the struggle to control the medium, the language,
if you like, that in turn reflects the struggle to define the meaning.
letters without words…
What an interesting, intriguing, inspiring man. I love his approach to his work, to learn all there is to know then throw away the rule book and really be in ‘the moment’ whilst he was making. He had an unquenchable curiosity for all things art related and was inspired by a wide variety of visual stimuli: from dance, to fine art, architecture, music and ceramics both contemporary and historical. I hope that this feeling of intrigue and spontaneity will come across in my own work, not easy when you have to spend so much time thinking about it.
I have attached a recent Powerpoint presentation about Peter Voulkos and will add my notes and bibliography at a later date. Peter Voulkos powerpoint