3 tangible tasks

Updated: Mar 1

Following unit 1 feedback, I was set 3 tasks to improve my work and get me thinking for unit 2. I was very happy with my grade for the first term (A-) so hope to continue this throughout the rest of my MA and time at UAL.

Task 1: Establish 20 key words/phrases - with text reflections - possible references/examples

1. Texture - Decorative, looks interesting, changing appearance of the material

2. Organic - Not artificial, no straight lines, made by hand. Reflect points from nature

3. Form - Interesting, handles in odd places/more than needed. Eye-catching

4. Decorative - Always want some form of decoration, glaze, illustrations, texture etc

5. Intuitive - Made by allowing the body to create

6. Maker-object connection - Process of making, the body expresses itself through the object created

7. Social issues - Influences and interests that inspire work

8. Craft - Interest is in ‘craft’ rather than fine art or kitchenware etc

9. Feminism - Social cause that often influences my work and research topics

10. Narratives - I like telling stories with my works, illustration or through meaning, reflecting on an experience

11. Risk - Just because made intuitively doesn’t mean want to fall apart. But want to experiment and push my materials, which may (will) lead to failures

12. Enjoyment - Overall want to enjoy the process of making the products, ceramics absorb what you feel

13. Meditative - Want process of making to be mindful, but also for my finished works to be a point of reflection for other people

14. Gestures - Using free movements to add decoration to my ceramics

15. Historical relevance/relation - History often influences my work, drawing inspiration from old objects

16. Craft in a different context - Craft originates from folk art and unnamed makers – elevating this and questioning the boundaries between art and craft

17. Making = thinking, thinking = making - Using my hands to think, tacit knowledge

18. Material connection - Allowing the bond between material and my hands – touch as an important element of creating

19. Wonky - Accepting the ‘handmade’ and leaning into the ‘imperfect’ finish

20. Maker marks - Connecting to the material and the object, not removing or ‘cleaning up’ maker marks

21. Maximalist - detailed surfaces, be it with colour, texture, illustration etc. - highly decorated

22. Contrast - colours of opposite tones or values, or shapes that don't quite fit with their decoration. e.g. a pretty delicate shape with harsh lines or rough texture.

Task 2: 10 new examples of artwork precedents with a text reflection/critique of why they relate to your project

1. Tessy King – ‘she examines the point of convergence of sculpture and domestic ware’. King also explores her theme through vessels, considering ‘how meaning is generated through the arrangement of objects and materials in larger installations and playful vignettes.’ This relates to my exploration of functionality as sculpture. I enjoy making functional objects that will never be used or will be put in a more formal (e.g., gallery) setting. Her work seems almost childish, using primarily pastel colours and achieving a ‘messy’ finish which I love, but contradicts this with her use of expensive lustres in her work. I also strive to create a textural almost messy finish in my work, working quickly and allowing the material to determine the outcome.

2. Jessica Coates – ‘interested in utilising the versatility of clay to embrace chance and unpredictability. Referencing primary shapes and architectural forms they experiment with the connotations of vessel forms, which play with the distinction between art objects and functional ceramics.’ Also focusing on vessels as a means of communicating her concepts, Coates further utilises her clay to decide the outcome of her work just as I do.

3. Grayson Perry – Perry’s work focuses on narratives with very maximalist surfaces. Although a self-proclaimed ‘artist’ rather than ‘craftsperson’ or ‘potter’, he creates lots of vessel shapes in his work and covers them in highly decorative illustrations and photo transfers to depict stories. I love the sketchy look to his drawings and the transfer of his sketchbook work onto his 3-dimensional ceramics. I’m also interested and inspired by politics and the climate around us, which greatly influenced by BA project. I often enjoy bringing such narratives into my work or using them as a starting point.

4. Theaster Gates – lots of his work is focused on spaces or social issues. Visiting his recent exhibition at the Whitechapel I was drawn to the textures of his ceramics, as well as his used of wood to create installation spaces for his ceramics.

5. Vicky Lindo – very maximalist surfaces depicting narratives. Most of her works are decorated vessels, but she also works on more sculptural pieces. Her interest in social and political issues is evident through some of her works, including those in the British Ceramics Biennials, which is a connection to my work and interests.

6. Richard Sennett – ideas of making as thinking and knowledge in the hand gained by touch and movement. The connection between making things and human relationships, difficulties and possibilities within both. This relates to my exploration of intuitive making and tacit knowledge, allowing my hands to explore the medium I’m working with and respond accordingly to make something.

7. David Pye – workmanship of risk = workmanship where the quality isn’t predetermined but depends on the maker, something I’m exploring with my intuitive making. This is opposed to workmanship of certainty, found in mass production, where quality is determined before anything is made.

8. Simone Pheulpin – read about her work in the most recent CRAFTS magazine (Jan/Feb). She creates beautiful sculptures from rippled fabric which she pins in place. She doesn’t know how she’s going to achieve a shape or what the result of her work will be until she gets there, replying on her hands and tacit knowledge to determine the outcome.

9. Isamu Noguchi – after viewing his work at the Barbican recently I found myself very inspired by his forms. Although he doesn’t work to a similar idea of instinctive making, with most of his work meticulously planned due to his architecture background, the curved and rounded shapes he creates across so many materials was very inspiring. I take inspiration from such organic forms and create similar shapes within my ceramic vessels.

10. Akiko Hirai – she creates an excess of texture on simple forms. Her work is in response to urban environments and human senses, also finding beauty in things not conventionally attractive. I adore the texture she creates on her works and enjoy creating textured surfaces, although mine are more connected to maker marks than additions of texture.

Task 3: 10 experiments that are a response to key words (task 1).

Response 1: Creating intuitively. Allowing my hands to make what feels right. Also leaving all texture and marks created by building the vessel, not smoothing out finger indents etc. Using ceramics as a meditative process and form of enjoyment also, connecting with the material and letting that determine the outcome.

Response 2:

Organic - Made in Simon's workshop (see previous blog post)

Response 3:

Maximalist - Made in Simon's workshop

Response 4:

Intuitive - Made in Simon's workshop

Response 5:

Pinch pot - feeling the clay between my fingers and pinching it into a form. I didn't smooth out any of the folds or thumb marks, preserving the maker marks and displaying the method of building. I like the uneven top too as it shows where the clay has grown up into a form, purely depending on how it wanted to move and where most of the material was.

Response 6:

Coil pot - growth and risk. I didn't properly join any of the coils in this piece, instead just spraying with water and pushing them firmly into each other. I don't know if this piece will stay in-tact during the bisque firing and the coils are likely to separate or crack apart, but if this happens I'm looking forward to exploring methods of repair or reusing 'broken' 'failed' ceramics again to make new works.

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