Tea for Two Summary

FIELD module focusing on bridging disciplines across the Art School as well as between ourselves within the first year Ceramicists. 


In our second Trimester we were asked to invite each other for a metaphorical and collaborative tea in the FIELD project ‘Tea for Two‘. In pairs we were set a challenge to create a tea-set representing or coming from our cooperation.
Unfortunately, my accomplice couldn’t be available to be engaged in this quick and immersive project. So instead I invited to the tea party with ceramics a different, but still very domestic material: textiles.
It is ingenuity and adaptivity of using different materials laying around, for her own advantage that I admire about Eve Hesse and her expressive sculptures. I found these qualities useful in this project and I could extend them slightly, but there’s always more to learn.
However, I was glad that my tea partner could join me few sessions and add some of her thoughts into the project, even try and create a design together straight after introduction of the project.

The print workshop with Ann Gibbs helped me develop and focus the theme of the project into a consistent thread, that I could develop even further; joining domesticity containing tea-set and textiles with ideas of containment and the absence of it – homelessness and precariousness.
Plunged into paper and ink and the art of printmaking I could go and explore this field with screen-printing induction in our print workshop and create a small booklet of my simple screen-prints which then I attempted to bound by a thread.

Part of the FIELD module was the external (2., ) collaboration in which I worked within a group of an illustrator, fine artist and graphic designer. It was rather interesting how we all contributed to our short group project in different way. It stimulated creation of new ideas I could really explore on my own.

I must say the way I changed my working in FIELD influenced how I’m planning to work in the future. With deep skills  in working with plaster and creating good quality, more complicated plaster moulds, slips, printmaking, incorporating textiles but in future even more materials into my ceramics or the processes of manipulating clay, or narrative giving qualities of the material and tools I’m using.

I could play with deep concepts and ideas through materials, and explore the narratives they create.
When I had to leave for family matters, I could still take my work with me and create different shapes, due to the greater portability of fabric compare to clay. I could even further explore the ideas behind containment and certitude, and use and recycle my old clothes that would contain my body in past into something completely different now.

I’m even happy with my final exhibition set-up of the Tea for Two outcomes, with a good chat with Claire Curneen.
However, I would like to see my pieces finished with at least clear matt glaze, making then functional, with only the feeling of uncertainty of it’s functionality. As well as further time to explore even more surface alteration of the pieces.

Final Tea for Two Final Tea for Two

Advertisements

Tea for Two – Progress/Process

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.
Tea for 2
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.Tea for 2

 

 

 

More plaster shapes and components.Tea for 2

 

 

 

 

 

Plaster saucers.

Tea for 2

 

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.
Tea for 2

 

Slip-casted and fired cups.Tea for 2

 

Fired slipware, some of them glazed, with oxide wash and transparent glaze, or other.
Tea for 2 Tea for 2

Tea for Two – Plaster workshop

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.


Textile cupAs 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.
Textile mould

Tea for 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Supporting form while plaster hardens

 

 

 

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.

Teacups from 1 textile mould Teacups from 1 textile mould

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.

Teapot spout?

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.
Plaster mould
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.

Tea for Two – Newport Museum

A visit to the Newport Museum and Art Gallery


Charity shop unfunctional teapotsDisplay of teapots in a Newport’s charity shop. Highly ornamental and narrative, but on its bottom they state that they are for decoration purposes only.


Newport museum teapot

Bark teapot, a perfect replication of nature in clay.

 

Newport museum teapot

A political teapot of cooperation. How a tiny teapot tries to represent movements and ideas in society.

Newport museum teapot

More industrial functional design.

Newport museum teapot

A figurative, totem or idol teapot.

Tea for Two – Presentation

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.

Tea for 2 Presentation

I looked at teapot as allegorical object of domesticity and accommodation. Containing tea in its cavities.

Tea for 2 Presentation Tea for 2 Presentation

And fallowing inability of these qualities, how the material and shape would change.

Tea for 2 Presentation Tea for 2 Presentation

Tea for Two – Printing

We had lovely Anne Gibbs to give us an intense introduction into printmaking, and how it can help us develop our ideas and use the imagery and techniques on clay.


Using water-based inks for easier cleaning and benefit of environment, Anne showed us throughout the day different print techniques such as addition, subtraction, blocking, mono-printing and mark making with different range of tools.
Printing with Ann GibbsPrinting with Anne Gibbs

Printing with Anne Gibbs

 

The workshop was absolutely amazing with the artist giving us live feedback and talking to us about our current project and exploration.

I was able to reflect on my prints and decide straight away what approach would be best to continue and explore my theme.

I came out with a range of interesting prints and passion to explore the printmaking further.
Printing with Anne Gibbs

 

 

 

Next week we started to apply the learned techniques onto leather hard slabs of clay.
The ink consisted of printing medium mixed with stains.
I used some of my plaster shapes to print with and feed the 3D into 2D imagery.
Preparing for print workshop with Ann GibbsPrinting on clay with Anne Gibbs

 

 

 

Later in the Term I took an opportunity to get inducted into developing images onto silk screen and print through it.
I built on my imagery explored with Anne with architectural motives.

 

Exposing screen in print workshop

 

 

 

Printing with a screen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I ended up with a number of prints I could compile into a small book, book-band by me.
Screen Printing

Tea for Two – Introduction and Ideas generating

Exciting and dynamic new FIELD project of internal collaboration.
Creating a complete tea set in pairs, originally only in 2 weeks; stimulating fast thinking and ideas creation, and then pushing them for production.


Grouped with Jen, I was glad I could work with someone I had no chance to meet properly before.
As she couldn’t attend the introduction presentation, I prep her through phone, so we can start generating some ideas independently and then bring them together, find compromises and set directions.


Some of the objects from “History of the World in 100 Objects” series helped me at generating ideas, how object convey the issues and thinking of its time.

p01gx0v7
History of the World in 100 Objects. Russian revolutionary plate.

Such as Russian revolutionary plate from 1921, expressing a new world order for the benefit of the worker, who is treading on the world “capital”. The plate celebrates creation of the first Communist state; in futurist style, looking at the bright, red future of peace and work for everyone, social and economical equality, utopia has never been so close.

p01gwx9z
History of the World in 100 Objects. Early Victorian tea set.

Or Early Victorian tea set from 1840, talking about the new, industrialised and colonised world where all the aspects of a high class tea ceremony comes from across the world, sugar from South African sugar cane plantation or Indian tea from Himalayas mountain regions, even the milk, brought by new and exciting form of transport – train, to the metropole of Empire, from outside countryside.

Looking at my current time and generation, Guardian’s series on “Millennials: The perfect storm of debt, housing and joblessness facing a generation of young adults” [Guardian] the facts, figures and opinions were informative on the current issues; as well as the current threat of austerity and cuts around, especially for the youth homelessness prevention program SHYPP, who helped me too, back in Hereford.

support SHYPP from mediashypp on Vimeo.


Meeting with Jennifer, I presented my ideas around homelessness and generation struggle which she acknowledged.
Jen expressed her interest in 1970’s Staffordshire functional pottery design and the link to her home.

0713sml-0922x
Example of 1970 Staffordshire, functional pottery design.

I was delighted as I was always interested in the modern, simple but colourful aesthetic, and wanted to achieve them in my own throwing practice.
The time when they were created also reflected the previous generation of ambition, modernity and consume, so often compared to the struggling generation of today’s young adults.
This gave us great foundation to start designing and draw ideas and designs, encompassing the themes.