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.
The Perfect – Alex, 2007
Collection of Knitted Folk Objects – Old Nanny Witch , 2014
It’s highly figurative as her concerns cycle around the human condition, domesticity and gender; an issues I’m mostly interested to explore.
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.
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.
Untitled (7 poles), view in studio, fiberglass over polyethylene over aluminum wire
Untitled (Rope Piece), 1970
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.
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.
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.
More plaster shapes and components.
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.
Slip-casted and fired cups.
Fired slipware, some of them glazed, with oxide wash and transparent glaze, or other.
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.
Number of presentations and tutorials helping to clarify and refine our ideas, themes and direction of the project.
After the first presentation with Jennifer to Pete and year group, we realised our work is trying to encapsulate way too many ideas and themes: generation struggle and comparing it to previous generation, Staffordshire designs of the previous generation age, homelessness, current struggles of young adults, the post-financial crisis world.
They are similar and link in some ways, but it just became too cluttered.
Our set designs lacked experimentations and multiple stages of progress.
I proposed to look and direct our work on the ides of accommodation/containing and the lack of them, as I could see it as one of the common threads running through our broad ideas.
Jen didn’t object or suggested different directions, so I explored the ideas through the print workshop with Ann Gibbs which was a great place to experiment with the idea visually and practically; Ann giving me helpful feedback in the process.
This helped me to prepare for another presentation to Duncan, crystallising the new focused but still experimental and innovative directions.
I looked at teapot as allegorical object of domesticity and accommodation. Containing tea in its cavities.
And fallowing inability of these qualities, how the material and shape would change.