Final Pieces

These are the finished results of some of my practice pieces. Within them I have tested different decorative and building methods to experiment with what would look good on my final pieces. I am really pleased with all of the results I have achieved, some through their appearance, but essentially how much I learned through them. I am especially happy with the bowl with sgraffito as it confirmed for me that it was the right technique to use in my final pieces.

 

For the most part, my final pieces technically and conceptually were also successful. The cobalt carbonate sat well in the sgraffito. It smudged slightly but I don’t think this matters. If anything I think it adds to my work as it makes them more personal. Additionally, a couple of my sculptures were broken but I also didn’t mind this. I plan to try and replicate a technique in ceramics called ‘kintsugi’, in which you fix broken ceramics with lacquer and powdered gold. I like this idea of taking a vessel that has become valueless from breaking, and adding value to it whilst fixing it. I think this would work well with the use of memories in my work. It is also a very attractive addition.

Throughout Home Truths I was trying to convey the idea of commemoration through souvenirs and personal photographs from past holidays and memories. I think I managed to do this quite well, as it is commemorative for me through the illustrations, and the whole concept of souvenirs is relatable. There is some pre-disposition within us to feel the need to buy a souvenir when we go on holiday, to remember the place or to give it as a gift.

Overall I have found Home Truths to be a really enjoyable and rewardable project for me to undertake. It has shown me new techniques that I plan to use within my subject work, and develop my pre-existing skills in ceramics further. If I was to continue this project I would continue to make objects, similar to Lubna Chowdhary’s ‘Metropolis’ and just keep expanding my collection. Also I would consider using a clay that fires white in order to remove that extra step of using white slip on my sculptures. If I was to exhibit my work, I think it would be quite interesting to put my work in a gallery’s shop and make multiple copies of each sculpture (using slip casting), and see if people try to buy them.

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Home Truths Reflection

Overall I have thoroughly enjoyed Home Truths this term. It has allowed me to develop my understanding of ceramics and learn new skills that I hope to apply across to my subject work. My subject work presently does not use ceramics, however it is a material that I wanted to adopt into my work, and Home Truths has given me that confidence to do so. Up until now, I have kept my ceramic work and artwork very separate. Home Truths has given me the key to begin to integrate these two lines of production together. Additionally, before Home Truths I really struggled to get all the inductions I would need to be able to fully utilise the ceramic department. Now I am fully inducted and will be able to start my use of ceramics in my art next term.

I began Home truths by looking at ceramic artist, Elizabeth Fritsch. In particular, her vessel, ‘Blown-Away Vase, Over the Edge, Firework XII’. I was drawn to this vessel due to its bold use of colours and patterns, and fore-shortened shape, creating the idea of an optical illusion. The use of colour and pattern is what I have been focusing my subject work on, in particular, how they can be used to convey a place. From the beginning I wanted to link my work from Home Truths across to my subject work, and I thought Fritsch’s vessel was a good example for both. Although my Home Truths work has moved away from using colour and pattern to commemorate, Fritsch was still a really important starting point for my project and has allowed my work to improve and develop quite dramatically.

Throughout Home Truths I have learnt a variety of new techniques and processes within the making and decorating of ceramics. Before the project began, I had a fair amount of experience in throwing and hand building, however I had never done press moulding, which is a process that I have really enjoyed using and want to apply across to by subject work. It is an easy way to make large vessels fast. Through decoration, I learned a variety of techniques. Although simple in concept, I found the resist painting with slips and using paper towels really effective and beneficial for the decoration of my own work. It is such a simple concept, but it allowed me to achieve precise and intricate shapes that I would not have been able to achieve with a paintbrush alone. Also I have never really worked with coloured glazes before, only underglazes. It was really exciting yet intimidating to use the glazes, especially the oxides, as they change colour in their glaze firing. This unpredictability in the glaze, and ceramics in general, I found really exciting but daunting. Within my subject work I am used to having complete control over my work. I think loosing this control and having things not always go right was really beneficial for me and may translate over into my subject work, as it may allow me to experiment more without worrying about the final outcome.

Timing was a key element in the project. Within Fine Art and my practice, it is very easy to get immediate results and finished pieces. However ceramics is a lengthy process as you have to account for drying time, and the two kiln firings. In addition, things can very easily go wrong.  I struggled with this time management a little bit which translated across into my work. For example, I applied white slips to my sculptures when some of them were too dry, causing several to crack. The same goes for when I used sgraffito to scratch the images onto the sculptures surface. The clay and slip were too dry on several of my sculptures, causing clumps of the slip to fall off when I was trying the scratch the lines. This lead to less defined illustrations than I was hoping for. Although I made these mistakes which ultimately affected the visual outcome of some of my sculptures, it was a learning curve that I will be able to apply forward in any future ceramic work I make.

The whole of Home Truths revolved around the idea of commemoration and how we could commemorate through objects. This was actually much harder to do than I initially thought as I am used to creating work solely for myself and what I am interested in. I began the project by only looking at colours, patterns and personal photographs. A problem arose that this commemoration was too personal, and that a wider audience would not be able to relate to my work. I had never even thought about this as I am so used to making work to please myself alone. Home Truths made me challenge my initial views and create work that a wider audience may be able to relate to. Although I still had my work as a personal commemoration of memories, holidays and therefore places, with the use of sgraffito to etch in personal images, I had to adapt my initial ideas to be more relatable. I came up with the idea of making miniature sculptures of typical tourist souvenirs from different places around the world, hoping that people would look at these objects and be reminded of places they have visited.

Home Truths Week 4 #2

Today we got all of our tiles back from their final firing in the glaze kiln. I am really pleased with the results of most and how much the colours have enhanced in the glaze firing, especially on the tin glaze tiles. This gives me hope for a similar effect from my final pieces.

Today I completed the final steps for my final pieces for Home Truths. I filled in the sgraffito marks on my sculptures with the cobalt oxide tin glaze, applying it with a paintbrush and then removing any excess on the surface with a dry sponge. I found this surprisingly easy to do. Once I had done this I applied a transparent tin glaze over the top of all of my sculptures, in order for you to be able to see the sgraffito lines once out of its final firing.

 

On my large press mould bowl I applied a normal transparent glaze.

 

Home Truths Artist Research

Lubna Chowdhary

Luna Chowdhary’s work relates closely to my own practice both in intense use of colour and her motifs. She connects ideas and aesthetics from Eastern and Western worlds, exploring their relationship together. This loosely links to my subject work this year as I am looking at the different places I have visited and comparing my responses to each place and what I think it means to me. Luna Chowdhary’s work is “a kaleidoscopic vocabulary of colour, shape and patterns” that “offers unlimited possibilities that can be implemented on any scale”. The use of colour and pattern is especially important for my own work this year, therefore, I think Chowdhary will be a key artist to look at both in and out of the Home Truths field project.

I am especially interested in ‘Metropolis’ which consists of over 1000 small scale sculptures positioned in a line formation along a section of the floor in the V&A. I am focusing my Home Truths project around the objects of tourism, and associations with a specific place, connecting my personal relationships and memories to them through sgraffito. Chowdhary’s ‘Metropolis’ documents the material culture of our environment, showing the complexity of human production and the man-made. Her sculptures draw on memory which links to my idea of holidays and memories. ‘Metropolis’ is an ongoing project that Chowdhary is still adding new objects to, to the original installation. I like this idea of the instillation changing for different viewers, depending on when they visit the exhibition, no matter how minute.

 

Grayson Perry

Grayson Perry is an artist that I also happened to look at last year, focusing on his ceramic exploration of ‘Who are You?’, in his Channel 4 documentary. I am particularly interested in his illustrations of people on the surface decoration. The drawings are kept fairly simple, using only a black pen to complete line drawings of his subject. I think this idea of simple line drawings will translate well across into my own work as I want to use the sgraffito technique to apply illustrations from past holiday photos onto my pinch pots.

 

Previous blog post on Grayson Perry:

https://eviebanksart.wordpress.com/2017/05/08/grayson-perry-who-are-you/

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Grayson Perry, ‘Memory Jar’

Philip Eglin

I really like Philip Eglin’s ceramics with line drawings of people on. I like how Eglin keeps the design of both the object and the surface decoration quite simple. I also like how handmade the objects he creates appear. They are not perfect like you would find in mass production. The work of Eglin has had a really profound influence on my work and he is a key artist for me to refer to for home truths.

 

Bibliography:

https://www.vam.ac.uk/event/WzeegYze/open-studio-v-a-ceramics-resident-lubna-chowdhary-july-sept-2017

http://lubnachowdhary.co.uk/projects/metropolis-installation-lubna-chowdhary/

http://maaklondon.irostrum.com/AuctionIndex/10010?pageNumber=20

http://maaklondon.irostrum.com/BiddingProcess/BiddingScreen/4797?pageNumber=20

Home Truths Week 3 #1

Today we continued on making our work for the project and had a glazing demo with Matt. We discussed the various different glazes and their own unique effects as well as different methods of glazing. We began by looking at a simple clear earthenware glaze that gives the ceramics a glass-like surface and enhances the colours of the slips behind it. I glazed all of my original decorative tiles from the first week with this slip as they already had so much decoration going on that I think if I had used a coloured glaze it would be too much. I did such by dipping the tiles face down into a tub of the glaze.

 

 

We were also shown the method of tin glazing in which you apply a white glaze and then paint over the top of the glaze with either stains or oxides with a paintbrush. This very much reminded my of using watercolour paint. I used a tin glaze on a couple of test tiles to test out the process. The colours that you see unfired will change colour during the firing process. It is quite exciting not knowing exactly how my tiles will turn out and I can’t wait to see them when they come out of their glaze firing. For my test tiles I decided to utilise an idea from my subject work. I am looking at repeat patterns and how they can convey my experience of a place. Therefore on my test tiles i utilised the idea of repeat patterns. The first tile is just a play around with the colours, sponges and paintbrushes. The second tile draws in from both subject and field. I have taken a repeat pattern from my subject work that I created in response to Venice. On top of this I have painted a photo from Venice, linking to my work so far in field with the idea of using sgraffito to apply an image to a surface.

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Process of applying tin glaze:

 

In the afternoon I carried on making my work. I finished applying a white slip to my pinch pots and to the pots I threw on Sunday and scratched into the surfaces, different images from different places.

I have encountered several issues with my pinch pots. Firstly, my Cornish pasty has structurally broken where the slabs were joined together. I think this is because I applied the slip to it when the clay itself was quite dry. Secondly, I also left a lot of the decoration too late. As I scratched into the clay today I noticed that it and the slip had completely dried on some of my pinch pots and so it made it a lot more difficult to scratch my images into the surface, causing chunks of slip to fall off in areas and the lines of the sgraffito to be less fluid. My plan is to fill in the sgraffito areas with a blue cobalt oxide, however now I’m not sure how well that will work. The images I have scratched on are not completely accurate and are distorted in areas but I don’t mind this too much. I think it makes them look more authentic and handmade.

Home Truths – development of work

Out of the allotted days for Home Truths, I have carried on making my work for the project. Deciding to make a series of pinch pots has meant that the making process for my work has been quite lengthy but I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the project so far. I have now made all but one of my pinch pots/ objects. The last thing I want to make is a road sign from Key West, Florida; then all of my work will be ready to be painted with white slip and have a sgraffito design put on the surface.

I had another go on the wheel, first to practice and strengthen my ability, and second as I may use these pots as testers for sgraffito.

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These are the photos I have decided to use from holidays on my pinch pots:

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Home Truths Week 2 #2

Today we carried on with our work from Tuesday and had an open making session. I fettled the bowl I made to neaten it up and painted it with slips. Due to the large surface area of my bowl I chose to use a detailed pattern taken from a photo I took in the Damien Hirst exhibition in Venice.

When my bowl has dried a little more I plan on using sgraffito on the surface of photos most memorable from Venice.

Continuing with the making of souvenir objects I threw several pots on the wheel, playing with different sizes. I threw “shot glasses” as you can find them in all souvenir shops and I bought one in Amsterdam myself.

I also began to paint my “souvenirs” white.

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Home Truths – Building

I wanted to get some objects built ready for tomorrow when we will be once again working with slips. I want to make a series of objects that are either tourist items mass produced and bought, or specific objects associated with places. I made these objects using the pinch pot technique.

 

Further Development of Ideas

After our meeting with Anna I have though more about how I can make my objects more relatable and commemorative for a wider audience. I have come up with the idea of creating sculptures of popular tourist souvenir items and using sgraffito to scratch my own images of the place each object relates to on the surface. Even though the illustrations will still be personal, People may be able to relate the the souvenirs I will create through hand building.

Sketches for sculptures:

 

Sketches for illustrations to be scratched onto sculptures:

Home Truths – Week 2 #1

We began the second week by having a meeting with Anna to discuss our ideas for the project. I talked about how I wanted to commemorate memories, family holidays and places but the question was raised on wether people would have been able to relate to my work at all. I planned on making plates or tiles and using the sgraffito technique to scratch illustrations of childhood photos onto them. Although I’m making my work to be personal for me, and that is the most important thing, I understand what Anna is saying. People may not be able to relate to my work. I still want to include sgraffito-ed images of personal photographs relating to places, however I want to make my work as a whole more relatable.

In the meeting I came up with the idea of hand-building a series of objects associated with places I’ve visited through tourist items, or things associated with specific places. I plan on painting these objects white and using sgraffito to scratch images that are personal to me into them. I think this makes my work both relatable for a wider audience and still keeps it personal for me. I also want to relate my field work to my subject practice with patterns. I plan on wrapping the ceramic objects I create up with my own patterns I associate with the places I’ve visited and the audience of the work have to interact with my work by unwrapping it.

In the afternoon, we made objects using moulds. I decided to make a large bowl as I wanted an object with a large surface area to work on for decoration and I didn’t like the shape of the plates. I added a foot to the bottom of my bowl.