Tea for Two Summary

FIELD module focusing on bridging disciplines across the Art School as well as between ourselves within the first year Ceramicists. 


In our second Trimester we were asked to invite each other for a metaphorical and collaborative tea in the FIELD project ‘Tea for Two‘. In pairs we were set a challenge to create a tea-set representing or coming from our cooperation.
Unfortunately, my accomplice couldn’t be available to be engaged in this quick and immersive project. So instead I invited to the tea party with ceramics a different, but still very domestic material: textiles.
It is ingenuity and adaptivity of using different materials laying around, for her own advantage that I admire about Eve Hesse and her expressive sculptures. I found these qualities useful in this project and I could extend them slightly, but there’s always more to learn.
However, I was glad that my tea partner could join me few sessions and add some of her thoughts into the project, even try and create a design together straight after introduction of the project.

The print workshop with Ann Gibbs helped me develop and focus the theme of the project into a consistent thread, that I could develop even further; joining domesticity containing tea-set and textiles with ideas of containment and the absence of it – homelessness and precariousness.
Plunged into paper and ink and the art of printmaking I could go and explore this field with screen-printing induction in our print workshop and create a small booklet of my simple screen-prints which then I attempted to bound by a thread.

Part of the FIELD module was the external (2., ) collaboration in which I worked within a group of an illustrator, fine artist and graphic designer. It was rather interesting how we all contributed to our short group project in different way. It stimulated creation of new ideas I could really explore on my own.

I must say the way I changed my working in FIELD influenced how I’m planning to work in the future. With deep skills  in working with plaster and creating good quality, more complicated plaster moulds, slips, printmaking, incorporating textiles but in future even more materials into my ceramics or the processes of manipulating clay, or narrative giving qualities of the material and tools I’m using.

I could play with deep concepts and ideas through materials, and explore the narratives they create.
When I had to leave for family matters, I could still take my work with me and create different shapes, due to the greater portability of fabric compare to clay. I could even further explore the ideas behind containment and certitude, and use and recycle my old clothes that would contain my body in past into something completely different now.

I’m even happy with my final exhibition set-up of the Tea for Two outcomes, with a good chat with Claire Curneen.
However, I would like to see my pieces finished with at least clear matt glaze, making then functional, with only the feeling of uncertainty of it’s functionality. As well as further time to explore even more surface alteration of the pieces.

Final Tea for Two Final Tea for Two

Freddie Robins

Freddie transforms the craft of knitting and textiles into conceptual art where her peculiar life-sized bodies challenge the notion of normality and conformity. 
“She uses knitting to explore pertinent contemporary issues of the domestic, gender and the human condition, more recently exploring and expressing intimate feelings of sadness, fear and loss.”


Freddie captures my interest not only in her peculiar and fun wool sculptures, but her eccentric and playful personality.
I wish I could express this side of my character in my work more too.
Freddie’s work is full of bright colour with vivid narrative and context.

It’s highly figurative as her concerns cycle around the human condition, domesticity and gender; an issues I’m mostly interested to explore.

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Styllou – 22 1/2 hours 
 Ground Floor, 11 South Hill Park, Hampstead, London – 1954

Her project ‘Knitted Homes of Crime’ depicts a number of wool houses where a female killer would have lived or committed their crimes.
It plays beautifully on the ideas of domesticity: with the domestic aspect of textiles and activity of knitting, the container – house and femininity associated with housewives; but destroys it with the narrative and context where safety,certainty of containment is exchange with danger, uncertainty and rejection.

This juxtaposition and contradiction is the way I tried to lead my work and context, and still add as much process learning and exploration of clay and ceramics as possible.

I also used textiles as my starting medium, but then translated it into ceramic and played with the functionality of a tea-set, a very domestic object, and used it to narrate and express feelings of containment, or rather its absence.

 

Continue reading Freddie Robins

Eve Hesse

American Abstract Impressionist sculptor, who would emigrate with her family from Nazi torn Germany as a very young girl.
When spending a year back in Germany, she had to use her ingenuity and creativity to create expressive sculptures from found material in disused German factor, where later materials such as latex, fibreglass and plastic become her characteristic elements throughout her work.


Her creativity and playfulness in usage of these unconventional materials fascinates me, and that’s where I would like to strive. It’s very minimal approach of exhibiting, which subtly suggest ideas behind human condition – in its sexuality and naturality distanced from conventional nature, repetition, connectivity, or failing to find satisfying amount of meaning.

I want to strive for more playful usage of other materials with ceramics, as I managed in Tea for Two, and stay within the subject of human condition and philosophy, as that is what art means for me.

Continue reading Eve Hesse

Katharine Morling

Katharine is UK ceramic artist predominantly working in unglazed porcelain, creating a three dimensional drawing of everyday inanimate objects.


I admire the strip to complete simpleness in Katharine’s work, but still expressing a lively and whimsical illustrative nature, with aspects of positive nature and character of the artist.

Especially with her newer work, archive drawers, collections of found specimens from nature expressing almost childlike fascination with the world.

This work informs my exploration in line through supportive structures of cooling towers and industrial architecture in my Subject, as well as the seams of my Tea for Two textile tea-set.
The ambiguity is especially strong in this collection of peculiar objects, being life size replicas of real objects but stripped down to number of lines and a shape, making us feel uncertain of their full 3D or 2D capabilities; same as my uncertainty in stability and containment.

Continue reading Katharine Morling

Alison Britton

Alison is one of the leading ceramic artists of her generation, and part of a radical group of RCA graduates in the early 1970s.
She took function and ornamentation as her subject to explore, focusing on the containing qualities – “both its formal possibilities and its capacity to hold and communicate thoughts and ideas. “

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Outflow, 2012, Alison Britton Photographer: Philip Sayer

In her newer work (2012) she gives emphasis on the colour and the fluidity of slip application.
I’m interested to extend my knowledge of slips, as great colourant of surfaces, but now as a 2D form shaper through it’s fluid application.

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Standing and Running: Watershed, Alison Britton 2012 Photographer: Philip Sayer

As Alison I’m also interested in the exploration of ‘containment’ through the language of ceramic vessels.
However I want to focus more on the absent feeling of these qualities, related to human experience and our aspiration for permanent security and stability, or rather the normality of the constant search.

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Doubletake, 2011, Alison Britton Photographer: Philip Sayer

Continue reading Alison Britton

Tea for Two – Progress/Process

Progress of the 4 weeks, working on the Tea for Two project, illustrated through photographs.


 

Stitching number of pieces of fabric to create moulds for the parts of tea set.
Tea for 2
Filling the fabric moulds with plaster to create number of plaster prototypes.
These then can be used to create plaster moulds for casting with slip.Tea for 2

 

 

 

More plaster shapes and components.Tea for 2

 

 

 

 

 

Plaster saucers.

Tea for 2

 

Used fabric moulds dipped in black slip and fired.
This method is actually much faster and simpler than making plaster moulds, with better, undisturbed detail. More experimental shapes are possible, just less functional.
Tea for 2

 

Slip-casted and fired cups.Tea for 2

 

Fired slipware, some of them glazed, with oxide wash and transparent glaze, or other.
Tea for 2 Tea for 2

Tea for Two – Plaster workshop

Working continuously for over a week in the plaster room to create plaster prototypes from my textile stitched cups and then plaster moulds for slipware.


Textile cupAs I wanted to explore the holding and containing abilities of a tea set, and possible absence of it, I looked at shape created by the act of accommodating.
I chose textiles and stitch as it’s another object associated with home and domestic environment. Available at my house too, I spend few late evenings cutting shapes and stitching them together to govern the final shape to some extend, to at least appear like a cup or a teapot.
Textile mould

Tea for 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Supporting form while plaster hardens

 

 

 

Filled with plaster, even thought the textiles forms were assembled from number of parts to hold the shape, the plaster was much heavier and overpowered the stitches.
In some cases I had to hold the shape until the plaster hardened, or supported them with boards, strings or in a container.

Teacups from 1 textile mould Teacups from 1 textile mould

At the end I ended up with fairly large amounts of prototypes, as the teacup moulds were open, allowing me to separate the plaster and textile without the need of ripping it, as necessary with other textile moulds. I was free to experiment with the way they stand and fold, turning them inside out, bounding them with string, etc.

Teapot spout?

Attempting for a smaller components such as spouts and handles, which are trickier.
The only worry is how much they will shrink in the kiln as a slip cast, and being able to pour.
Plaster mould
The hardest and most time consuming part was creating the 3 plaster moulds for slip casting.
With highly irregular shape, I had to look for many undercuts and divide the shape into 4 to 8 part moulds.

However, taking every opportunity to work in the plaster room, I managed to produce the 3 fairly complicated moulds in about a week + extra day or two; getting essential skills at more detailed plaster mould making. Of course through many mistakes too.