SUBJECT L5 Summary

The extremely extensive breath of experiences that we underwent this year undeniably helped me to respond in my own individual way, and find my unique voice and direction.
I found my own way of working with clay where like a gardener, I am allowing the clay to grow beneath my fingers into forms, manifesting the underlying systems of growth – whereas personal or social, of ideas, or by looking at detailed botanical drawings, of biological growth.


 

Over the course of year my catalyst object from the Ken Stradling Collection – The Penguin Donkey has provided me with depths of ideas, which profoundly evolved around the knowledge I acquired through exploration of public art spaces in my first FIELD and through critical look at art collections, museums, galleries and the art world in my second FIELD. My Constellation had immense philosophical impact on shaping my practice, exploring ideas by Ingold, Hodder, Abram, Klingan or Wallace around post-anthropocentric, less humancentred design and approach in making.

Whereas the initial ideas that arose from the Ken Stradling Collection circled around high-end design, which was functional yet redefining-ways of living and organisation. They developed to the ideas around living; class, social and personal development.
The furniture piece created specially for Penguin Books, which very much represents the democratisation of knowledge, making great works of literature available for the the first time to the masses in a cheap, portable format.
Eventually, my ideas boiled down to the essence of growth and it’s conditions and systems – whereas personal, social, organic or inorganic.
Seeing Victor Pasmore’s piece in the Tate Modern was a great inspiration and motivation for this direction, as well as work by Ana Lupas, Nao Matsunaga, Angus Suttie, Phyllida Barlow, Ann Gibbs, Yup Look Mun, and multiple botanical illustrators such as Walther Otto Muller, Katie Scott or Ernst Haeckel.

The development of my ideas went hand in hand with my practical work, trying to manifest and develop the ideas in my sketchbook and further. Whereas in beginning I looked at functional designed objects, I produced technical drawings to guide me in plaster lathe turning; later I moved to more free and organic drawing and hand building which really helped me extend the ideas further towards spaces, systems of organisation and clarification, and containment.
Through further practice, questioning and the free experience of La Pedrix residency I could then join, strip down and curate my ideas and material exploration, such as aluminium casting, to one outcome that I could exhibit in our end of year show at CSAD.

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It not only includes my latest work focused on the exploration of growth through clay and my hands (of which unfortunately a large part was destroyed in an explosive bisque firing), but also the journey my ideas went through, morphing from a ‘seed’ through different forms, capturing a garden in the process of growing and changing.


 

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Exhibiting in the Ken Stradling Collection was a very different experience, much more curated and direct with the restriction of taking only a few items over to Bristol.
Exhibiting alongside the seed to my work was so essential; it brought the work back to it’s context, but still standing on it’s own as a solid development to the ideas that created the original Penguin Donkey.

 

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Colour in Glazes Technically

Returning to Subject Module, I started to explore colour in glazes on my own, to help me develop specific colour pallet for my Subject work.


Orange being the most prevalent colour in Penguin Books designs, it provides a great depth of symbolism and context associated with the cultural impact Penguin Books had in UK and other English speaking countries. It brought inexpensive fiction and non-fiction to the mass market, educating, and having impact on public debate in Britain, through its books on British culture, politics, the arts, and science.
Therefore, I’m using orange as colour of possibility for social and personal growth.
I found number of good colour pallets around orange, but one with split complementary colours: blue and purple stood out visually, and belonging in the Penguin colour scheme with dark blue representing Biography and Purple representing Essays.

I started with a search for multiple recipes of the chosen colours in EW and SW, which would give me glaze bases and colours which I could then combine and refine.

I tested 4 SW recipes with one very successful Barium based glaze producing interesting dark blues with orangey halo on White Saint Tomas, and another glossy Soto Amber with interesting double colouration, but in green and browns.

Adapting the 2 base glazes, I stained them with commercial stains, which however burned out or in case of Lilac and Rosso Red Stains just reduced in vibrancy. 20170518_111126-COLLAGE

Therefore, I started experimenting with combinations of oxides to mixed into my leftover stained batches, referencing oxide combination sheet in our glaze room.

In the Barium based glaze I used:
Vanadium + Cobalt Carbonate + Titanium Dioxide produced matter, more even, lighter blue.
Manganese Carbonate produced very dark uneven purple.
Vanadium + Rutile didn’t show up and the glaze remained white.

20170518_110437-COLLAGEIn Soto Amber I used:
YIO + Rutile + Vanadium producing just light brown with streaks of blue.
Cobalt Carbonate + Manganese Carbonate + Rutile producing dark background with interesting blue streaks.
And RIO, browning the Rosso Red stain.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had more luck in the EW glazes due to the simplicity of using commercial stains.

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Finding another 4 different glazes, mainly Lead based, but one with Wollastonite andIMG_7803-COLLAGE Strontium carbonate as fluxes which proved as most stable on different clays, pleasant surface and gloss, not settling down and good colour response.

I was able to use colorant combinations from the other glazes to adapt the non-toxic base glaze, and experiment with other combinations, to produce a range of oranges, yellows and dark blue purples.

If I had more time I would really go for a bit more scientific/controlled way of testing the additions to perfect the colours, rather than my very quick, mostly intuitive decision making.

The fact that I opted for spraying my final work, made the glaze much brighter, but at least I’m not having brush streaks or loosing any details in texture.

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The latest test piece glazed with my Penguin Purple, Penguin Yellow, Penguin White and Penguin Orange applied by spraying were acceptable. The one directional application even suggested sun exposure, as if sun rays sprayed the piece, giving direction to the growth.

 

 

 

 

 


NICHOLAS JOICEY; A Paperback Guide to Progress: Penguin Books 1935–c.1951. 20 Century Br Hist 1993; 4 (1): 25-56. doi: 10.1093/tcbh/4.1.25 [https://academic.oup.com/tcbh/article-abstract/4/1/25/1676590/A-Paperback-Guide-to-ProgressPenguin-Books-1935-c?redirectedFrom=PDF]

Colour in Slips technically

Starting with Slip technical, exploring colours in slips with Morgan alongside Field module.


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I started with a search across library books and the internet for base, white slip recipes of which we mixed 7.

We applied them on terracotta and White Saint Thomas tiles in 3 various layers fired to EW and SW temperatures, half glazed. Also fired on its own.
The blobs of slip were created by piping about 20ml of the individual slips onto plaster bat and gently smearing them. However, they proved extremely fragile after drying, some of them quickly cracking in the process of drying. Anyway, the colour was the same as 3 coats on the tiles; on the other hand, we wanted the blobs of slips for more interesting and easier presentation of our outcomes, giving us possibility to use them to create an installation piece.

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The experiment allowed us to see that the simple recipe used in our glaze room: 50/50 of Ball and China clay has the best result in producing white slip in EW temperature, meanwhile using Porcelain powder slip is whitest for SW temperature.

IMG_7383Morgan’s temperature test showed us the colour changes in number of oxides and staines in EW and SW temperature.
Using the chosen 50/50 slip he stained it with Red, Yellow, Purple and Synthetic Iron Oxides, as well as Coral stain and Chrome Oxide.
Half glazed, they reveal a dramatic change in colour.
This test made us stick with EW temperatures, with added bonus of reducing cost and environmental impacts, but being aware of increased fragility of EW products.

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To further see the colour response of each slip recipe, we added 10% of Yellow stain to each recipe, bisque fired and half glazed at EW temperature, on terracotta tiles.
Most of them look the same, except 1 weird recipe that melts on SW.

These experiments gave us really just the starting point, establishing processes and testing techniques, as well as backing up choice for base slip and temperature.
Rigorous testing of combinations of stains and oxides.

We want to be able to produce a specific colour pallet in specific shades, similar to Jin Eui Kim’s carefully mixed tonal range of his engobes, to create an illusion of curves and voids. ltvs-jineuikim-5.jpg

Ceramic residency at La Pedrix, France

Undergoing immersive week extending my skills in sculpting, hand building, collaborating, performing and story telling.


Learning how to reclaim dry blocks of clay with no plaster, and in limited time was quite challenging. Arising to smashing the clay into almost powder with heavy tools, and after saturating it with limited amounts of water, building arches to let the sloppy clay dry.
However, accustoming myself with this new, locally dug clay was easier. I really enjoyed its unique colour as well as the groggy and rather sticky texture, even though it did not record the texture of my hand, which I normally try to keep.

Set with the task of creating a kiln based on a country and its stories/folklore, I started drafting ideas and searching for stories in Slovak/Slavic mythologies. I came up with some designs based on ‘Morena’ – goddess of Winter whose effigy is burned and thrown into a stream to welcome the Spring. However, its basic story didn’t really interest me, with obvious but messy symbolisms such as female fertility, rebirth, coldness, evil and beauty, burning witches, etc.

I was wondering, that there must be a folk story for every fairy common creature and natural phenomena, over the many years and geographies of human existence.
My first search trial was snails, as I like them and could relate to their slow and quiet exploration of the world.
Within Christian traditions they are perceived as evil, symbols of the deadly sin of sloth, laziness and apathy.
However, in Aztec stories snail is representing the moon, its shell the cycles of moon and is considered humble and respectful. Moreover, it has very interesting and different back story to the moon’s creation. I was instantly captured, and felt I could retell the story to others, with the kiln supporting the theatrical presentation perfectly.

 

I sketched multiple designs of snail like object with circular features representing the moon. At the end I stayed with fairy simple in detail but still challenging enough shape for me.

I felt I could really develop my aesthetics in hand building and sculpting, experimenting with this semi abstract form with emphasis on empty space and more organic, uneven surface. The red slip allowed me to separate the circle – moon and shell from the base, whilst white slip brushes added a bit more movement and clay dots another voids.

 

 

As a side project we had to construct a stackable camping set, but missing a collaborative element in the residency, I teamed up with Morgan. To allow us to focus on our kilns and produce something good in such a short time, we stripped down the stackable element to the basic and pumped up the fun element. Our fun ‘Camp’-ing Picknic Set included one big serving/salad bowl with decoration imitating weaved basket, and limp wristed hands as handles. Inside the bowl could fit: 2 smaller and 2 bigger plates with penis pattern decoration and illustrations of me and Morgan; 2 high heel leg wine glasses; double bum bowl, and 2 sets of cutlery in shape of hands, penises and lips with lipstick.

 

 

Exploring France through the few trip we had was a rich experience.
With very camp and opulent, gilded Italian tea set from a car boot sale, giving us more inspirations for the Camp Camping Set and its decoration that awaited.
The cliff-side town with a whole church cut into the rockside, and small well shrines in a potter’s studio was a captivating example of slow growth and transformation: through inorganic – chiseling out the pillars, walls and features of the church, or waters eroding voids and channels into the rock; to organic – moss and mold growing on the faces of rock walls from the trickling of water and moisture present, and various plants finding any sunny surfaces to plant their roots.
It was fun to find many snails, some in crazy, almost surreal forms, in various art and souvenir shops.

 

 

 

March Formative Assessment Presentation

My presentation for March Formative Assessment, highlighting key points of development from beginning of our main SUBJECT project – Connections and Object(ions), and reflection on the Ken Stradling Collection.
Returning from FIELD module, it shows the significant creative impact it had on my SUBJECT.


 

PDF file of March Assessment Presentation

Aluminium Casting

Wednesday workshop was great opportunity to test the waters in a different medium.
Trying to explore ideas from Subject, but to make the process simpler I created more abstract, simpler growth objects.


We had to create our objects-to-cast in polystyrene, which has rather unpleasant quality when trying to achieve more smooth, clean surface. I tried to work with its qualities and let it melt, or show the individual bubbles for more visceral textures.

Roots, carrots, protrusions, limbs, fibres, pods, pips, are the natural features I was going for. I wanted to create them to see how they will work together with ceramics, part of an installation perhaps.

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From creating the sand cast, it seemed like I’m digging out these buried fossils.

Opening the cast, the casted objects really looked like some natural root growth, connected in a network of aluminium channels.
Even the black burned sand trapped in the cavities I had to clean was like soil.