I have been lucky enough to receive the Graduate Commission for the 2020 Atmosphere Festival which takes place every year in Worcester. The theme of the festival is “Love our World” and the commission required to be made as sustainably as possible. I decided to create artworks which were made from recycled wood as the armature and old newspapers for the outer shell.
I did a lot of research into papermache as I haven’t used it before and even though I have had quite a few problems with surface finish, I finally managed to achieve the surface quality I was seeking. It is great making public sculptures for a city that is using art to make positive change! It has taken me approximately 4 weeks to get them to this stage! Just waiting for some materials to arrive and then I can fire proof and paint them!
Sculptures in the making
I had a great interview with David Edmund the festival Director at Severn Arts and to meet some of the team! This was made live on Facebook, the full interview can be watched below!
Since Covid-19 I have made a make-shift studio space/storage space at home where all my art supplies have been dumped and I have a small desk which I can glaze at, it’s not a very inspiring space but its better than nothing. With the weather being so nice I have been lucky enough to take projects outside where I can spread out and not be too worried about making a mess!
My ceramics practice has pretty much come to a stand still with having none of the equipment/facilities! its made me realise how lucky I am to have such easy access to them at Loughborough! I think I might order some clay so I can make some artworks ready to be fired when I get back to University, that way I am saving some of the making time that has been lost! I did make around 10 pots which need glazing so that is another 4 days work I can do at home!
I have found there has been lots of funding, opportunities, and marketing platforms made available to help keep artist communities going. I have found this really motivating and tried to involve myself in as much as I can. I have also started thinking about new approaches to my practice in terms of focusing on my 2D works and developing my collages!
This week I dedicated every day to practicing throwing. It was great to get really stuck in and focus solely on one thing! I have been learning a lot about the boundaries of the clay: how far I can push it until it collapses or how wet the clay can be when turning and shaving! I have also been experimenting with the form itself, creating different widths and movements of the shoulders, neck and lip. The image shows this weeks outcome, however this is only a fraction of the pots thrown, the rest didn’t make the cut! All the clay is recycled within the university so nothing that isn’t fired goes to waste!
This has been by far the busiest week since starting the ABF programme, with the fellowship review on Thursday, the CVAN takeover Monday – Saturday and lectures to the third year students…it has been non-stop! It was great to put the sculptures and paintings into a gallery setting and give the work space to be observed individually. The experience made me aware of how the ‘multiplicity’ aesthetic is incredibly poignant to my work as I felt due to the vastness of the space, there was an unwelcoming spareness within the installation set-up. It also really told a story of both how myself and Grace have developed over the last 6 months! For myself I feel I have really developed my ceramic process, skills and glaze knowledge, I hope the next 6 months brings lots more development!
The lecture to the third years went well! It felt quite strange talking about my own practice for half an hour, I had the worlds driest mouth by the end of it! We had a lot of positive feedback though and I will be giving the same lecture to the first years next week!
I was invited to take over CVAN’s Instagram this week. It was a great experience and enabled me to tap into a whole new audience for feedback and created the opportunity to connect with artists within my own region! If you haven’t already, head over and have a look at the wide variety of other talented artists which all have such varying practices.
The entirety of this week was spent glazing the first sculpture. Such a lengthy task and incredibly time consuming. I am hoping the outcome will reflect the time gone in to it and achieve all the qualities I have spent the past 6 months developing!
The joyful vase range are out of the kiln and I am really happy with the colour schemes and finishes. It always difficult with glazing to envisage the colours when painting as they are so vastly different. I have found by digitally creating colour schemes it creates a clearer image. However, the glaze always responds differently due to the underlying colour, so it never turns out exactly the same!
Visual Impact, Manufacturing Technology Centre
The Manufacturing Technology Centre had an exhibition again this year. This is the fourth year exhibiting there! It was great to be back (as that is where I did my placement year) and see all the great artwork being exhibited!
I came across a small box absolutely brimming with collage pieces I made at the beginning of the semester. They were paste papers so had a very different quality to the watercolours I had previously used to make collages and don’t really work. However, I began playing with different compositions and I found that the pieces displayed individually whilst still accompanying one another was complimentary to each piece.
I spent the rest of the week making my final large sculpture and decorating the miniature vases in preparation for the ceramics fair! You can never be too organised with ceramics because it is such a long process! This vase will be fired 3 times… a bisque firing, then one for glazing the outside and one for glazing the inside due to the glazes being different temperatures!
Being accepted for the 2020 Charnwood ceramics fair I have begun to develop a product range of functional objects which can be sold alongside my organic and biomorphic sculptures. These will be decorated with the same patterns and colours I have developed in my practice. I have been trying to learn how to throw not just to make vases, bowls etc but as a new method of making which can be adapted to the sculptures.
The decided glaze
A new set of test tiles came out the kiln and finally I am happy with the glaze. It is not too shiny but very vibrant in colour, all the characteristics I was searching for! These tiles will be used to inform the colour combinations for my sculptural works.
I have also been decorating the mobiles this week! I tried to broaden my pattern spectrum by looking at exotic plants, particularly succulents and cacti. I find not drawing directly from the plants enables me to free up the drawing process, making it less restrictive and more exploratory inn nature.
I wanted to make colourful and vibrant mobiles to suspend from the ceiling as an installation which could be walked under. I used thick watercolour paper to paint on, however, completely saturating it caused the paper to warp. I decided to learn how to stretch paper, a simple process which can prevent this buckling. This process involves taping the paper to a flat surface and saturating with water and allowing to dry before painting. I was really happy with how the watercolour paint and acrylic inks dispersed across the paper.
The tiles came out of the kiln and I am really happy with the vibrancy and intricacy which the glazes achieve! I am going to do more tests of the glaze next week without a matte glaze on the top to see if it effects the shine and colour!
Two of three sculptures
I have made a target of three large sculptures to create before the end of March. They will be constructed using the same process, aiming to be complimentary of one another but still exploring various forms. I have decided to return to the smooth form as the ‘clay lumps’ which I attached on the first sculpture were too separate and alien to the form, they created an uncomfortableness.