The first 3 months are a mini BA. We are a diverse bunch, 50 years separating the youngest and oldest. Some have not studied at HE level before, three have MAs in other subjects, one has a PhD. Some have studied BA ceramics, others have been keen hobby ceramicists for years, one has been a professional potter, the rest are converting from other degrees. We all get on so well, united by our common interest.
Project 1 investigates whether we prefer organic or manufactured form, using the techniques Anna and Wendy had demonstrated and the textures we’d investigated with Dave.
My organic pieces was inspired by horse dung I saw when walking my dog. Most had broken in half as they hit the floor, revealing a highly textured interior, contrasting with the smooth exterior. I made 3 elements, inspired by Barbara Hepworth, which gave me the opportunity to pinch and coil the bowl shapes.
Barbara Hepworth Three Forms, Marble 1935
I had problems with the tops. I tried some of the textures from the mark making exercise, but they were not to my taste. Anna suggested trying pulling clay apart – Yes, I like. Finally remembered Dave’s tree bark plaster mould, and went in search of interesting textures – found a tree and an interesting crack in the boulder outside PR1.
The 3 tops
Having put tops and bowls together, I wasn’t happy. Wendy to the rescue. She showed me how awesome edges are! A nice crisp edge makes all the difference.
I also learnt about clay memory – where Wendy pressed the clay into shape, rather than batting it gently, it cracked in the biscuit firing. Opportunity to try the crack mender Anna suggested.
Three Forms ready for bisque firing
Inspired by Bailey Engineering photos of their machined metal parts – works of art in themselves – look how the light catches them in beautiful arcs. And Barbara Hepworth again.
Barbara Hepworth Two Circles and Two Squares 1963
Wow, is minimal slab building difficult! Anna showed me how to add a tube to make a hole. But I wasn’t happy with the corners or the flatness of the slabs. On the day of the Crit, I asked Wendy and she showed us the ruler trick. No chance to perfect the corners, but happy I knew how.
Piece for ‘Manufactured’
I think we we all a bit apprehensive, not knowing what to expect. Wendy was kind to us. though. Matthew had us rolling in the aisles, then me next. He’s a hard act to follow. It went okay, though. It was interesting to see the very different approaches and results.
One thing we did was to rearrange elements, turn things upside down, lie them on their side. What a difference it made to some pieces. After bisque firing I tried it with my Three Forms: