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 which 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.)


Many a Slip Summary

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

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

1D Museum visit – Transparency: Literal and Phenomenal

In our last session at the museum we were on our own to search for a definition for the 1st dimension, backing up with found text.

  1. A pin, defining an insect a specimen.
  2. A single grain in an oyster creating precious pearl
  3. The initial form, ideal. What something should look like.


Thinking about 1D and the First Dimension in some context of transparency was 20160310_103725.jpgchallenging.
Walking around the natural history part of the Museum, and finding a transparent wall full of pinned insect, the pin and pinning itself seemed literal 1D to me.
Looking at the phenomenal level, pinpointing and displaying a specimen, a perfect representation of a living creature in the outside world, was very peculiar, but useful procedure.

Later on, I came across a video explaining Plato’s ideas behind forms.
It explained how important it is to pinpoint and imagine ideals, such as how would a perfect friendship, school or city look like.

The insect in the same way is presented like a form, a perfect representation of a certain species, family of an animal.



Session I Recap – Creativity and Cognitive Development in Arts

Missing my first study group session with Sarah Smith, I have received the extract that they read and notes of the arguments they went over.

“But as every chip of the chisel contributes to the emergent form of the statue, so every drop of supersaturated solution from the roof of the cave contributes to the form of the stalagmite. When subsequently, the statue is worn down by rain, the form-generating process continues, but now without further human intervention.”

“Creativity happens between things”

Ingold, Tim, (2003), Making: Anthropology, Archeology, Art and Architecture; Abingdon, Routledge.

Hylomorphism is the theory that every physical object is composed of 2 principles, a combination of a prime matter, and form.
Hylomorphic model argues that creation of an object is composed of an idea and raw materials, processed/fused (form giving process) until we end up with an artefact that is the idea.

This is a beautiful notion, that shows how our creative thought/inner world can shape the world of matter outside, manifest the ideas in object significant to a human.
This can partially explain why humans tend to surround themselves with manmade objects; or rather thoughts, feelings and ideas of others, like endless, silent conversations.

If we consider ‘agency’ and theory of Material Engagement we can see an argument suggesting that making is a process in which “the matter [is] a participant in amongst a world of active materials” (Ingold, 2003, p.21)

Malafouris, L., (2003), How Things Shape The Mind: A Theory Of Material Engagement, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.

A visual research into shapes


While undergoing intense workshop into the basics of throwing and turning in the first term, I started to lean to and try to repeat some similar shapes in particular – trapezoid, a cooling tower shape or a hyperboloid structure.

To aid and direct the objects I am producing during the first term’s project, I’m researching work of Bernd (20.08.1931-22.06.2007) and Hilla Becher (2.09.1934-10.10.2015); as well as looking at other images, and my drawings emerging from them.

From series - Cooling towers, Germany 1964-1993 by Bernd and Hilla Becher
From series – Cooling towers, Germany
1964-1993 by Bernd and Hilla Becher

Bernd and Hilla Becher are an artist duo documenting German’s disappearing industrial architecture in 1959.
Their work is presenting engineer’s structures, like sculptures – monuments of strength and stability; they are sincere and objective-less: documenting and capturing the present, which can disappear (and which did – disassembly and moving factories and industries to Asia).

Like a technical drawing, showing the great skills in photograph-making, they are trying to capture the image with no distortion, and brimming with information.
That’s why their photographs are sometimes criticised as cold and ‘inartistic’, especially in the time when art photographers wanted their pictures with an effect – high contrast, soft focus, etc.

Bernd and Hilla Becher Gas-holders Germany, Belgium, France, Britain, USA, 1966–93 Each 40 x 30 cm
Bernd and Hilla Becher Winding towers Germany, Belgium, France, 1965–98 Each 40 x 30 cm











Cooling Towers, 1983 Gelatin silver prints Twelve parts, each: 20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.6 cm) Gerald S. Elliott Collection 1995.31.a–l



Cooling tower ink sketchWinding tower ink sketchCooling tower ink sketch

Water tower ink sketchCooling tower ink sketch

I created a number of quick sketches from these photographs, looking at the overall shape and pattern structure within.
I want these to direct my work into similar shapes, patterns and concepts.
As the photographs being a sincere documentation of present mastery, my work will be at the end of this first brief a honest snapshot of my development and mastery of the craft.


The ideas of stability and the present also interest me, as well as the historical significance of moving most of the industry from Europe to Asia and how the economic changes impacted today’s population of the West.



thrown-3 thrown-5thrown-4These are my first thrown objects this term, in Ash White, turned and most of them lightly burnished or scratched.
They can stack up to create a new structure, but they doesn’t fit well.
I do treat them as first experimentations, practice maquettes and first stages in my development of both practice and concept.
I want to be more consistent in the shape, to translate the stability and industrial power. The stacking up element to create new sculptural pieces from them, securely fitting into each other. And the overall quality of the object: cleaner finish, mostly with the rim; walls consistency and overall balance of the weight.
In the near future I will look at surface decoration: printing, scratching, colour, glazes, pattern, metal features.

  Information and photographs drawn from: