Pre-Assessment Review 23/04/2017 with Update on 30/04/2017

We are due to do a class presentation on our practice 2 weeks on Friday, followed by the formal Practice 1 Assessment the following Friday. Hence I need to see where the last couple of weeks have taken me.

It has been the Easter Hols, so normal contact time has not applied.  I spent the first week researching glaze theory, and went in as usual the second week.

Experimenting with Methods 

Whist waiting for Humpty Mould to be ready, I’ve investigated various methods of making the honeycomb/concave/convex forms.  It seems I’m not a Constructivist. I didn’t enjoy making pinch pots and joining them together, nor did I like joining strips to form a honeycomb. I’d intended to try press moulding cup shapes and joining them, but I’ve vetoed that idea. I have a definite preference for forms that emerge organically.  A big surprise is that I enjoyed carving.

The outcome is that I intend to use the following methods of handbuilding:

  • slab building using press moulded leather hard curved strips
  • slab building using some flat slabs, perhaps
  • coiling, using wet slab strips
  • my version of ‘coiling’, using short wet slab pieces
  • modelling for refining and maybe building
  • carving for refining and maybe building

Using moulds and formers as necessary.

Surface Finish

I still have little idea about this.  At least I feel more prepared to investigate glazes etc. now I have a basic understanding.  My preference is for unglazed, monochrome pieces such as Halima Cassell, James Oughtibridge and Frances Lambe.  However, when am I going to have this opportunity to experiment freely with glazes, slips and engobes again? I have to make the most of it. My John Britt Mid Range Glazes has arrived, which is full of ‘how-tos’ and glaze recipes.  Can’t wait to give them a whirl. I think getting the right balance between form and surface will be tricky.


Rob Kesseler is a useful starting point.  I’ve done some drawings based on his images, however, I rather like complex forms, which isn’t the nature of pollen or seeds.  I also wasn’t inspired by his talk at CAL.  He did talk about nature as inspiration for art in a wider context, which I related to.  I’ve been researching this, and I found Jane Jermyn’s work.  In the video of her solo exhibition in 2016 she says she makes , ‘abstract …  forms that celebrate rather than imitate nature.’  This is pretty much what I would like to do.  I certainly don’t want to produce work that is immediately recognisable as a stone or a seed.  Maybe not just nature, but landscape as well, to allow for Man’s contribution.

I wonder if sculpting nature and landscape can replace walking in nature and landscape?  Walking used to be an important part of my life – not the personal challenge type, but long walks where you can feel at one with nature and the landscape, and it becomes a rhythmic moving meditation. I’m grateful to be as mobile as I am given my physical state, but I can’t get the same feeling any more. I sense Jane Jermyn gets a similar hit from her ceramics as I used to get from walking. Maybe it can be the same for me?

I did a recce today of stones and rocks on the lake shore, which was enjoyable and inspiring.  I’ll go back with sketchbook and camera and dog when the weather permits. In the meantime I’m going to do a test piece on my new mould.


Update 30/04/2017

Large Mould

I’ve now made a form in the new mould, which seems to be okay.  I realise I need more large moulds – maybe investigate using material in a frame and make a negative/positive from Humpty Mould. 

New Ball Mould

I’ve made a mould of the ball I got in Holmfirth.  Hope it will be okay as the plaster ran out – not enough to finish properly so I improvised by using a slab of waste plaster on the bottom and scooping up the sides.  The mix contained hard bits which have impacted the mould surface.  I’ve filled holes and I’m sure it’ll be fine when sanded.


I’ve decided to simplify things.  I’m going to use two basic forms from Rob Kesseler’s book – pod and sphere.  And, for now, I’m going to concentrate on the cupped honeycomb motif.  I’ll investigate the possibilities using the two rounded forms and honeycomb, then see where it leads me.  I’ve done a few scribbles – now to do some drawings to work from.