Stand and Deliver. Minimalism and maximalism – do we like pared down and understated or over-the-top twiddles and surface decoration? This was our chance to investigate.
I took inspiration from 1960s minimalists such as Donald Judd and Robert Morris, and ceramicist Enric Mestre:
I planned a L shaped base with a square vessel that fit perfectly on top.
It didn’t take long to realise this wasn’t going to happen, so I redesigned the vessel to be cuboid and to sit diagonally on the base. The base split at the corner of the L and had to be repaired – thanks to Anna for the method. It should really have had a cross-support. And the ruler technique is good, but not enough to square up the box. YouTube woodworking video to the rescue. Start with one side, then square the other sides. Why didn’t I think of that?
As the photo shows, the base box split. Several reasons – first I faffed assembling it and let the slab becomes too dry; second I didn’t notice the end slab was the old gritty clay; thirdly I dried it too quickly to try and fire it; fourthly I probably shaved too much off before YouTube. One of the corners of the cuboid vessel also split. I repaired it and let it dry slowly, but it re-opened when bisque fired.
Our trip to Stoke was the inspiration.
Minerva by Derby and Natasha in hat
I made maquettes and used an artist model to create the design of Natasha taking a selfie as the stand, with a hat box as the vessel. After much discussion, I was going to model the figurine, using removable skewers for internal support. Hat boxes behind the figure would offer support. The body and head would be hollowed after modelling.
Unfortunately I was ill and it wasn’t made. To have something for the critique, I used an old portrait sculpture of Lydia. I thought I had the mould, but could only find the original plaster cast, so I made a hasty 4 part mould, and remodelled the head.
Mould and cast before remodelling
Developing the Stoke theme, I threw a cup, teamed it with a readymade saucer, which was decorated with roses, referencing Minerva’s dress, and placed it on Lydia’s head as a hat. There wasn’t time to biscuit fire, so I sprayed with slip.
Lydia: with drawing of the design
We were all happier about the critique this time, having experienced it previously. The breadth of work was amazing. Even at this stage some students had identified a area of interest they want to investigate further. I’m still on the fence, enjoying both minimalism and maximalism. Dave and Wendy suggested finding a way of combining the two extremes. Mmm, have to give it some thought.