Two internationally important shows provided me with context for the start.
One ceramic orientated, the other one focused on modern international art helped me position myself between these two and bring plenty of inspirations.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
At this week’s ‘Into the Fold’ lectures, a recent MA Ceramics graduate presented her Degree work, future plans, Fireworks studios and participation at exhibition at ‘Made in Roath’
Harriet McCarmick is interested in investigation and using natural elements such as deer antlers, legs, feathers; as well as taxidermy, and translating all of this into ceramics, through abstracted forms.
These then acquire metamorphic, and narrative qualities – with help of using colour, shape, position and light.
Through this she questions how objects are perceived in space, and impact on the visual connections with natural world.
2D, sketchbook work was always important to her, and in MA, colour starts to creep into her work.
She is creating cast for all her objects, and casting using stained slip, never any glaze, but fires them slightly higher for her distinctive finish.
Harriet’s career in ceramics started when she missed her interview for Fine Art course, and came to the BA Ceramics at CSAD instead. She then stayed for her MA and now she is part of the Graduate Residency at the Fireworks Clay Studios in Cardiff.
Exhibiting her MA work in September, she is trying to exhibit as much as possible, setting up a gallery with other MA graduates at the Made in Roath festival.
Her ambition is PHD and possibly lecturing in the future, which I hope will be a success as I found her lecture and work very captivating.
It’s a great inspiration listening to a successful and interesting recent graduate, with a such great body of work, sketchbook pages and explorational journey.
This is my ceramic inspiration Tumblr blog where I share my photographs of ceramic objects I find and briefly research, or just re-shared images I particularly like from the internet.