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.

 

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Finally Sculpting

Coming from Field, I was reminded of how much I actually enjoy sculpture and the synthesis of ideas within three-dimensional installation.
I went ahead with building and sketching.


Experiences from both of my fields were inspirational to the extend that they changed my work in this year’s project completely. From direct, tight, designed and functional tableware to more broad look across the art fields (illustration, sculpture, graphic design, historical collections, etc.), and practical explorations of the ideas through more fun and experimental, sculptural exploration.
The colours and animistic features of the Penguin Donkey, my catalyst object from the Ken Stradling Collection, are still present, but now I’m more free to explore ideas around containment, storage and systems that classify and order the stuff and things that they embody.

Initial sketches, inspired by Angus Suttie’s colourful and imaginative ceramic alterations and surrealist’s game of ‘exquisite corpse’ of not really knowing what will happen next, a kind of system of order and dis-order.

  1. Mick Morgan showed us his quick technique of building large pots, which I adapted to create a larger cabinet, planning to play with texture, additions, colour, etc.
    2. Smaller cabinet with legs.

3. 4. two cabinet like structures which were faster to create and explore notion of space and system repetition.

Penguin mugs, Grayson Perry and Douglas Coupland

Appropriation of Penguin Books’ design and its symbolical use within art.


The distinctive, horizontal blocks of colour and text within as a cover design of Penguin’s paperbacks, proved so iconic that its appropriation on a simple utilitarian ceramic mug became highly popular merchandise.

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In Grayson’s Perry “The Annunciation of the Virgin Deal” (2012), a monumental piece of tapestry from his series, he is using these mugs as a social class symbol, and the movement through classes.
“On the table is a still life demonstrating the cultural bounty of his affluent lifestyle”. Together with the French press, car keys with Damien Hirst like skull keychain, local organic jam, fresh vegetables on the Guardian newspapers or the raw wood table they are all placed on, they are the symbols, the style-creators of aspirational middle classes.
They represent an aspiration for wealth of knowledge as well as monetary wealth, success and domestic nostalgia.

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Douglas Coupland is another artist, and novelist appropriating the Penguin Books in his collages, and text based visual art, blurring the boundaries of art and literature.

This collage of “Jet Boy Jet Girl”, a song name stuck as vinyl stencils onto Penguin Book titles such as “Two Adolescents” by Alberto Moravia.
The punk song by Elton Motello about 15 years old boy’s lust and sexual relationship with an older man adds another complexity to the bluring of bounderies.

The ‘correct’ place for people within their social class or sexuality is challenged, and the nature and freedom of movement between them explored.

If I want it or not, appropriating the Penguin Books or the Penguin Donkey in my work will have significant impact on the context it carries.


https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/asset/the-annunciation-of-the-virgin-deal/DgHzNHCbRZyjLw

https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/asset/jet-boy-jet-girl/CQHy-8Vm-UsLHg

Penguin Donkey

Visiting the Ken Stradling collection and choosing our catalysts for our projects.
My eyes were drawn to a small 1963’s book case on 4 legs, filled with orange book-spines.
The extraordinary story of this small piece of furniture took me on a journey through the world wars, revolution in book publishing, architecture and all the ambitious ideas of modernism.


The ISOKON manufactured and designed by Ernest Race in the 1963 – ISOKON PENGUIN DONKEY MARK 2, displayed within the Ken Stradling collection was the starting point for me.

The father of the original Penguin david-tatham-donkeyDonkey was Egon Riss. As a Bauhaus-educated architect from Vienna, relocated to the UK, he started to experiment with new exploration within plywood bending and its possibilities.
His purpose build piece of furniture was commissioned by then very new, but a very rapidly successful paperback publisher Penguin Books. They revolutionised the easy of consuming our books and made it available to masses; by having best classical and modern works of literature produced in small, portable and cheap paperback format.
The new purpose build holder needed to reflect the easy and new way of reading; the books being close, always available within an arm’s reach from a chair, compare to conventional storage of great library like bookshelves.
The Donkey was manufactured using thin birch plywood, which became unavailable due to the outbreak of the Second World War, and all the plywood was directed for war purposes.
With only 100 pieces manufactured, the production ceased to halt.

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ISOKON tried to revive the forgotten and never manufactured in a larger scale design by commissioning Ernest Race to create a modern version of this highly functional piece of furniture. The form changing drastically, loosing its early modernist curves for cold and sharp minimalists angles. The top is flattened to serve another function, as a coffee/side table, but still keeping its middle gap for magazines and newspapers.

This object caught my interest most from the Ken Stradling collection because of its minimal, functional design, purpose built for another object, as well as the white neutral colours giving prominence to the bright colour sleeves and ideas of display and containment.
However, it is the original curvy design and the story surrounding it and its makers and processes that I want to expand on.

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In 2003 The Donkey saw another redesign by Shin and Tomoko Azumi, bringing back the curves, but still keeping some of the right angles. I feel it’s a nice fusion of the two designs, bringing extra functionality by the side handles and completely closing the top to function as a small table.

Continue reading Penguin Donkey

My Ken Stradling collection

The aspects of Ken Stradling Collection that captured my attention on our first visit.


As You can probably see, I was rather drawn towards orange.
I was already unintentionally seeking some kind of containers; influenced by my project from first year as well as some ideas I was exploring over summer as a homework.
I’m really glad I discovered these themes in a very different form – furniture, and would like to explore furniture and the domestic setting in my practice.
It was actually very easy to find links and different objects relating someways in their colour, material, form or function; exploring and extending the themes in the small time and space within the Collection.
I was able to find examples that interested me in textile, ceramics, sculpture, toys or wood. At the end, I couldn’t escape the nature of Ken Stradling Collection, and a lot of the objects I chose to photograph had some form of playfulness, with tiny feet or wonky feet to moveable toys and animated animals.