Personal Review 24/11/2017 with updates on 16/12/2017 and 20/01/2018

Only 7 weeks until the assessment – and Christmas is in that.  I really need more hours in the day!  I’ve been banging on about doing Life Drawing for a while, and now I’m finally doing it – every Thursday since the 2nd week of term.  My ceramics work could do with the time, but the life class has been so beneficial.  I’m now drawing in my ceramics sketch book, and enjoying it; and it’s freed up my approach. In my lovely new book, Making and Drawing, Kyra Cane interviews jeweller Dorothy Hogg MBE. Cane writes about Hogg’s passion for Life Drawing:

The skills she hones whilst drawing have an immediacy and are of a critical and analytical nature rather than being material-based. The process of making marks , a result of this thinking process, stimulates Hogg’s mind and inspires her imagination.’ p 152

I totally get this.  Life drawing has not only kick started my ceramics drawing, but it has fed into it, and yes, inspired my imagination. I must find a way to continue once this class has finished.

I’ve been struggling with form, and struggling with method of construction. I made some maquettes based on Kesseler seeds and tested ways of hollow building them, but I wasn’t happy. I didn’t really want to insert the holes into a carrier form.  I want the form to be


determined by the holes, for form and hole to work together symbiotically. For me it’s the hole section that’s interesting.  So, I started drawing, as aforementioned:


and the results were a surprise. A huge improvement.  The skedgies have indeed determined the form.  I’m in the process of making maquettes based on these.  They are solid, so Dave says he’ll fire them in his kiln. I’m rather pleased I’ll have some fired maquettes, as I hadn’t made them to be fired.

However, I’ve lost the layering.  So still not happy. I continued drawing, and one of the forms would allow me to insert the skedgies – much I’d imagined for the extruded forms following Wendy’s chat. I could see them grouped or stacked in some way:


Without me saying anything, Dave picked them out when I was showing him my revised classification system and new drawings. Big Tick! I explained my ideas for them, and he suggested that I could apply a systematic approach to them.  Maybe look at classical proportions.  Look at different hole contours and light effects – some open, some closed. Bingo!  Great suggestion, thanks Dave, because this fits with Paolo Scheggi’s later geometric works, investigating Divine Ratio, seriality, and modular progression.

So that’s where I am up to.  Since chatting to Dave on Tuesday, I’ve:

  • researched Divine Proportions – Golden ratio, golden rectangle, triangle, angle, spiral; Fibonacci numbers and the Golden Ratio.
  • researched Scheggi’s mathematical inspiration.  I’ve ordered a book and downloaded a couple of articles.  Unfortunately nearly everything is in Italian, which makes life difficult.
  • also researching his later works and analysing his systematic method.
  • And I’ve had several ideas of how I can apply all the above to my practice

For the first time I’m feeling excited about the potential for my work. I feel confident that my skill set will be adequate to overcome handbuilding issues, I’m doing exactly what I want to do without compromise, it’s underpinned by an interesting, coherent and well researched idea which will provide the opportunity for further research. I don’t know that it will form the basis of a practice in the long term (I can’t see the punters at Earth and Fire queuing to buy!), but it’s a great project for the MA.

To-Do List

Recording Research

I still haven’t written up my research into Scheggi or Fontana and Spatialism. I now need to add Scheggi’s geometric works and Divine Proportion to the list.

May be leave this till Christmas, when I can catch up instead of watching TV (Still in the draft stages 20/1/2018. I really don’t need this at the moment. It will be interesting for me to have the record in the future. Maybe consolidate all the unpublished notes on my blog, and all the diverse notes and images on my desktop when the MA has finished)


Group Crit Friday 1st December – this now takes priority.

  • finish off work to date – maquettes to refine and dry (and prepare for later firing) Now fired 16/12 and glazed 19/1/2018
  • drawings for ideas for new forms Ongoing. Have the basic module system designs. 
  • some systematic investigation of skedgies plan made, now to decide on the 2 to use
  • research lighting Considered, but not necessary at the moment
  • PP slide show Done


Up to Christmas

  • make a small group or series up to bisque have made moulds, two of which need repair before using.  Ran out of time to do this.
  • put some in the Raku firing Missed the Raku
  • Glaze the double bowl for Christmas Buffet Missed the glazing day
  • fire the solid maquettes in Dave’s kiln Done
  • think about surface finish – maybe even start some glaze tests???? I’ve already tested Dave’s Dolomite, and maybe test Dylan’s base glaze.
  • Also bought and almost read a book on Scheggi.
  • Discovered and researched Root Rectangles


Christmas to the January Assessment

It was enlightening to talk about the development of my work with Karen (Howarth) yesterday. It highlighted how my life has moved on since the course began, and how this has reflected in my practice (proposed practice!).  At first my motivation was more about therapy, avoiding the emotional and mental issues that can affect carers after the death of their loved one. Avoiding a life on benefits was also a major concern – a new career was much needed.

But now my relationship with my partner is back on track after being put on hold for 5 years while I cared for my mum.  He has had major changes in his circumstances this year, as well. All of which means I’m now in the privileged position of making ceramics purely for my own pleasure and satisfaction. Our new house has a workshop to the rear of the garage where I’ll be able to ‘play’ to my heart’s content. How lucky am I? It even has a cheeky glimpse of Lake Windermere. Of course, it does mean house renovations take priority over MA Ceramics at the moment, but swings and roundabouts.

Anyway, back to my MA work. I do like my pods and pleated form.  Looking at them with fresh eyes I think they are rather fabulous.  I’ll definitely return to them in the future. They weren’t floating my MA boat, though.  Parachuting Rob Kesseler onto them wasn’t working. I wanted to something with more academic rigour, something that inspired me (the fact that Scheggi connects with my interest in art is a real bonus).  Looking back at my blog, the change manifested itself on July 5th, after a glass or two of wine.  I’m not sure where it’s going to lead, but I don’t mind. I don’t need to develop a product, and it doesn’t matter if nobody likes my work except me. I’m totally free to experiment. Fortunate, or what?

My to-do list is short – get things ready for the assessment on Friday.  Then on to Design Practice 3………