Ethos

In the valuable sessions with Theo Humphries, we looked at my ethos as a maker.
We unpicked, simplified and made it more punchy.


 

I’m a ceramic gardener.

By this I mean that I work with clay as a living medium to grow ceramic forms. These forms are nourished by fertile interactions and are cultivated by my practice.

Employing the metaphor of a gardener is important to me because it enables me to forefront the unpredictable and vital dimensions of clay as a material.

 


The original:
I’m a ceramic gardener who works with clay as a living medium, to grow shapes and forms arising from fertile interaction and cultivation.

To interact is to exist. (I could expand on this too.)

Scaling down to the form of garden is to simplify the world into the human scale and experiment with it, seeing it through different angles.

extras – (I’m inspired by Japanese rock garden who’s pivotal points are inorganic rocks emerging from within rubble, representing movement of the sea and islands of life. … Modernist sculpture and abstract expressionism looking at the essences of form, space, interaction and the materials.)

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Peer Review

5 idea progressions:
Rock Making – https://ceramicliska.wordpress.com/2017/10/04/rock-making/
InkSpot – https://ceramicliska.wordpress.com/2017/10/24/the-growing-exhibition-at-inkspot-for-made-in-roath-cardiff/
Pergola – https://ceramicliska.wordpress.com/2017/11/06/pergola-et-cetera/
Maiolica – https://ceramicliska.wordpress.com/2017/11/08/starting-majolica/
Drawing – https://ceramicliska.wordpress.com/2017/11/08/development-through-sketches/

5 context progression:
Venice and BCB – https://ceramicliska.wordpress.com/2017/10/14/the-venice-biennale-and-bcb-draft/
bloom – https://ceramicliska.wordpress.com/2017/10/16/finding-my-voice/
David Nash and Wood Quarry – https://ceramicliska.wordpress.com/2017/11/08/wood-quarries-of-david-nash/
Horizontal –
Vertical –

Wood Quarries of David Nash

Finding similarities in processes in art production or other activities, that then feed into the context of a work.


Nash excavates trees by means of a ‘WOOD QUARRY’. His chosen term indicates the sheer physical effort of working with a whole tree, as well as finding a suitable tree to work with, not killing it for the purpose of art; like finding rare deposits of a precious metal.

His main tools are a chainsaw and an axe to carve the wood, and fire to char it.
Artistic process that is in itself deeply collaborative – between the artist, his material, and the natural world.

His work is mainly site specific, or situated outdoors. Rather than static sculpture, a lot of his pieces are either growing, are exposed to the elements or experimentally interact with the environment. They become independed from the creator or a gallery as they wonder across the rivers and the world.

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As David Nash I aspire to work with a chosen material collaboratively. I use the garden to inspire my processes, and ideas about space and life.
I admire his playfulness not only with shaping the material, but also with natural processes, presenting wood in different contexts, such as wondering boulder or precarious towering structure.

Starting Maiolica

First steps exploring maiolica in more depth, with multiple recipes, temperatures and tests.


20171108_214104I want to extend my knowledge of colourful earthenware glazes and in-glaze, building on experience from last year.
I specifically looked in majolica/tin glaze books in library and had a productive meeting with Matt to discuss some issues and technicalities.

Maiolica, or Faience is very common in ceramic traditions of Slovakia, and mostly depicting nature and colourful vegetation. It’s aspiration, but still common and down to earth.
That’s why I feel it is quite fitting for the finish of my ceramic growths, through colourful spills or patterns.

I identified 6 different white majolica recipes of various temperatures, materials and finishes. I need to test the fit and compatibility of each glazes with the bodies I use, quality, and colour response.
I had good advice such as higher bisque (1050-1060C), heating up pieces before applying the glaze, adding up to 2% Rutile to increase colour warmth, mixing 1 part stain material to 6 parts transparent glaze and adding 2-3 part water to loosen the mixture if necessary.

 

I had rather hard first few firings due to kiln malfunction, or hectic timetable and not firing the test kiln properly. So many more tests needed.

Pergola et cetera

Bridging my ceramic practice with gardening.
Exploring features, terms, and processes.


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Joining the “Beginning Approaches” project with Masters, I took another opportunity for a more site specific project, to further explore ideas in my making.
Seeing huge number of polystyrene blocks being thrown away in the skip destined for eternal life on a landfill, I had to hoard a number of them to help me build big quickly.
For a while I had the urge to build higher and bigger and faster (since the workshop in G39 making rocks), and most importantlyI had the urge to build a pergola. As a classical garden feature, it has interesting connotations not only as a support and framework for growth, mostly for climbing or trailing plants. The word comes from the meaning of ‘coming or going forward’, as well as an ‘projecting roof or extension of roof’, creating an invitation and shelter for visitor or life; or creating a space within? A space in-between?

Balancing writing dissertation for assessment; I only had a few hour so build the pergola, so a quick sketch, grab of some wooden sticks and saw from a workshop, and a tall flimsy structure was erected. I definitely need to work on my skills (mostly structural) when working with block of polystyrene, but I think I want to refine it, as I prefer it to the more lengthly, time and material consuming chicken wire and papier-mâché.


I explored nineteen different terms/words that a hypothetical ‘Ceramic Gardener’ would use. I hope they will be able to guide me in my processes as well as become a language to talk about my art.

Deciduous Bolting Broadcast Cloche Cordon Cross-pollination Cultivate Fertilise Germination Grafting Haulm Mulch Pergola Planting Pollination Propagate Prune Rake Rhizome Sap

My main approach in building is kind of skin grafting – joining clay slabs slapped on my palm by pinching and smoothing them together. The final form retains the texture from my palm – bulging veins travelling through the surface, only to be interrupted by delicate circular imprints of my fingers as I pinch the slabs together, pushing the vein like lines underneath.

Another approach I enjoy is making coils by controlled squeezing of the clay in my fists. It produces rather uneven coils but full of tension, movement, with regular texture and angulations created by my palm’s wrinkles and fingers. The result looks a branch like, however others mentioned fingers themselves or bones even. They are perfect to cut with pruning shears!

I feel I need to have more time to be playful and diversities my approaches interacting with clay, as gardening is not just about one process. Tutorial with Duncan made it even more clear, with good suggestion of using a throwing wheel too, and looking at primary sources too.

The Growing Exhibition at InkSpot for Made in Roath, Cardiff

A week of site specific building, challenging my skills and technique for hand building.
Organising and invigilating an exhibition as part of a local, contemporary arts festival.


We had an amazing opportunity, a seed planted by Natasha’s interaction with Made in Roath and Potclays, to participate at this year’s festival of local arts – Made in Roath.

My work from last year fitted best in the staircase area, not only due to not fitting in the cabinets, but the transitory nature of the space.
At the end I decided to build in there too due to the space being more outdoor than indoor, or something in between, and a space that needed some cultivation.

A small gap next to the stairs was really the only safe, unused space to build on, after clearing some stuff away. I kept a small table without the top in there, to give me some instant hight to the build as well as a shape, a seedling to start with. The shape was really influenced by the awkward space and an object already present. As it creeped through the site, it changed; adapted and explored the environment with the maker and the viewer.

We haven’t had many visitors over the week, and due to the awkward position of my live build and small sculptures, many people missed it.
However, when I was building there I could welcome straight away all the visitors coming, the kids loved how the live build looked like a horse, and few of my small sculptures/glaze test pieces have been stolen (I’m taking it as a compliment).