Many a Slip Summary

SUBJECT
Being fully submerged into the world of ceramics and begin to explore its qualities, processes and possibilities.


Final desk presentation

I feel very positive about my first year of Ceramic degree; however, the feeling is conquered by the overwhelming drive to learn and explore more.
The intensive workshops and lectures at the beginning of the year, followed by my trials and errors showed me the immense depth in ceramic, and also art in itself.

I focused my work towards the shape and structure and what meaning they can carry.
Starting with the fascinating documentary photography by Bernd and Hilla Becher of old industrial structures and analysing the main elements through work of Felicity Aylieff, Annie Turner, Steve Buck, Alison Britton, or Katharine Morling.

I feel I only scraped all the possibilities of manipulating clay and can still extend on my skills relating to throwing and turning, hand-building or slip-casting. I feel confident to use these techniques well and safely, but still able to perfect them endlessly – to the direction of perfect functionality and perfect repetition, and to the other extreme of expressive experimentation.

The surface was a bit trickier, with me taking rather slower to understand glazes and come with a satisfying result. I still mixed and experimented wit numerous glazes and combination, I just need a summer to process all the information and grasp the knowledge.
For my final pieces I adapted and mixed few stoneware matt transparent glazes, an rusty glaze and a found gold pigment glaze recipe. Used slip, wax resist, sgraffito, different form of application (pour, dip, spray). However, now I feel I haven’t done enough testings with them as I’m not completely satisfied with the end result of the final pieces.

By his I just found more questions rather than answers, and direction to explore rather than the ones I managed to probe to a satisfactory level, than ever before.

Undoubtedly, I seized every opportunity to learn and absorb knowledge and experience like a sponge, and I do feel significantly fuller but still hungry for more.
With the constellation I managed to tap into the infinite academic exploration that excites me, and being able to critically think and explore topics in such a deep level for the first time when practically working with a material must be the biggest merit of this year.

That’s why I’m sparked to carry on learning even more in the future: continuing now this summer followed by next academic year.

 

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

Annie Turner

Annie Turner (1958) is British ceramic artist notably known for her gridded ceramic vessels/sculptures.
The hand-build stoneware structures explore the River Deben and surrounding landscape of Suffolk, closely linked to her family roots.
The sculptures reflect the rivers tidal changes and seasonal rhythms by naturally warping and changing in the extreme heats of kiln. 

Net > Enquire  Hand built in red stoneware, white titanium glaze H 58 x W 50 x D 27 cm
Net, Hand built in red stoneware, white titanium glaze H 58 x W 50 x D 27 cm

For me it beautifully represents the time passing relating to physical space, and the stability or rather absence of stability and absence of permanence that time and space dimension brings.

They “echo the forms of its (the River Deben) associated man-made structures, such as sluices, ladders and nets. The surfaces of the works suggest processes of change and transformation, through erosion, decay, rusting, or accretion. The works reflect both the natural rhythms of the landscape and its fragility.”

Gas holder structure
Gas holder in Cardiff

I photographed and looked at photos of decaying and rusty industrial structures. The natural landscape of man’s security and stability through work.
I want to explore the natural landscape of humans, the feeling of stability, security and certainty.

Continue reading Annie Turner

Felicity Aylieff

Large scale, monumental pots with expressive surface marks while looking at traditional techniques of Chinese Porcelain from Jingdezhen.


Felicity Aylieff set up her ceramic studio in Jingdezhen, China – the world’s capital of porcelain, and ceramics.
This gave her first hand access to the knowledge of traditional ceramic making, which she is trying to translate “radically different, contemporary, with a clear personal voice” into her own practice.

In ‘Mapping Memory’ series, Felicity Aylieff is commissioning the local craftsmen to throw monumental vases from porcelain for her, on which she can create free-form brush marks, expressive lines and grids.
The marks and movement are well rehearsed from previous tests and practice to acquire “confidence, familiarity and integrity of mark.”

To create the rich dark ink blue, as well as soft and translucent, she is using Ming Blue – a mix of cobalt and iron oxides, diluted for different tones of blue.

 

Visually, the surface marks resemble the skeletal parts of industrial cooling towers, chimneys or furnaces; just less structured, more expressive.
I tried my own version with inks, but trying for slightly more regular pattern of lines, resembling more structures on Bechers’ photographs.
However, I still tried to keep the free and expressive nature when using a brush.

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Ink marks for skeletal structure

And more controlled ink drawings:
Cooling tower ink sketch Cooling tower ink sketch

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading Felicity Aylieff

Progress on throwing & turning skills

Throwing on and off for about 2 years, I really want to extend and perfect my skills in throwing and turning vessels in this first year project.


throwing with 1kg ball of cal

These are my latest trials in throwing with a larger, 1kg ball of clay of White St Thomas.

By this point, I found centring and pulling up the walls relatively easy, as well as centring and turning leather hard vessels.
Being so scared turning my pots before and always thinking how impossibly hard it is; by now I must say I am looking forward to turn every single vessel I throw on the wheel.
However, there was significant collapsing and failing when adapting the shape of a larger cylinder, showing me that I need plenty more practice.


trying to throw identical cups
That was after setting a small challenge of producing number of identical cups
from 400g of Ash White. Drawing the design and then using a ruler to measure the width and hight while throwing, I managed to produce 9 reasonably same cups.

 

turningturning
This exercise was great to limit myself into a one, slightly inward curved shape, and repeat it over and over; focusing my skill to develop in areas important when throwing: controlling the hight, width, thickness of the walls, curvature, etc.

However, I still feel that I don’t have full control in ensuring the shape and size is identical, therefore I shall repeat this challenge again to be more consistent in my work.

I also turned each cup to finally learn it, therefore the result was always slightly different, not really limiting myself but rather just play and get practice in the pure timing of the leather hard stage and centring and not cutting through the walls or bases.



extruded handle
I pulled handlealso tried to apply handles onto the cups. First pulling a handle, which proved to be rather tricky, but after a few attempts the result was acceptable.

Extrusion
Nevertheless, I wasn’t completely satisfied with the result; so I touched the extruder for the first time.
The result was even less satisfying, with the extruder disk providing too thick handles for my cups.
However, the immediacy and industrial, like a pipe or cable look was desirable, so I’ll have to look at producing my own extruder plates later.

Here are my earliest thrown object from 500g balls of Ash White and Terracotta at the beginning of this year. Always going for as thin and light walls as possible, but still rather modern, industrial and rather minimalistic look.

In the very near future I have to look more on functionality of my vessels. In their shapes as well as features such as handles, spouts and lids.
earlier throwing practice earlier throwing pieces