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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
These are the photos I have decided to use from holidays on my pinch pots:
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.
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.
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:
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.
I have begun to think about how I could use sgraffito to scratch in images of memories. When I was in school, each year my neighbour and I would take a photograph of us in our school uniforms starting a new year of school. It is interesting to look back and see our growth and how much things have changed. I have begun to draft up some ideas of how I could commemorate these memories.
After meeting at the museum on Tuesday where I began to generate ideas about what I want to convey through commemoration in Home Truths, we began the physical part of our exploration today.
First we had a throwing induction from Duncan. I have a fair bit of experience with ceramics and throwing so I tried to plan the shape of the objects I wanted to throw. I decided on bowls and cylinders, as I wanted forms with a large surface area as for maximum room for decoration. It went fairly well and I was able to make some useable forms to experiment on. Within the next couple of days I will turn my pots to neaten off any imperfections.
In the afternoon we moved onto trialling slip decoration. We were shown a variety of different techniques we could use to create different effects. Using slip for decoration is an easy and effective way of getting decoration, it is very similar to painting. Applied raw the colours don’t show through, but once they’ve been fired I hope for the colours to be really intensified. I trialled multiple different techniques as I wanted a lot of test tiles in order to see what works well and what doesn’t work so well.
From the results of my test tiles, I really like the effects created from the technique sgraffito. It is a technique that allows you to create precise and intricate drawings through scratching into the clay. I think this will work well with future work I make in home truths as I plan on incorporating line drawings of specific memories onto the surface of my work.