Grogg/Molochite additions

Having done a bit of research on the subject, generally porcelain is not suited for large-scale working (surprise, surprise) yet I really like its tactility and whiteness when it reaches its vitrification stage. However, the addition of 7% of fine molochite and/or 1% cellulose fibres should not change the nature of the porcelain but give it more strength.

Working at a large scale magnifies and increases the number of problems associated with strength, shrinkage and crack resistance during making and drying, and with tensions that clay goes through during the firing and cooling stages.

The addition of grog or molochite opens the structure of the clay body, enabling quicker drying and strength. This reduces its plasticity, so you may have to adapt your usual working methods. Once you use it, however, it may become your preferred clay to its greater tolerance levels.

These additions  will have high stoneware vitrification points because these additions  almost get in the way of the finer clay particles when melting and knitting together, which hopefully will prevent my porcelain from warping as much.

I have been experimenting with different groggs from different additions to the actual grinded clay like chrome and different oxides and also additions to molochite. The intentions is to hopefully not only use it as a strengthening method but use it as decoration, and with an effect how glaze is affected by that.

In addition, Alina kindly gave a little sample of Carib Sea Moon Sand and I can’t wait for the results.


Towards Incongruence

To me, ceramics feels like a wide-open field in part because no one outside of ceramic’s really paying much attention to it. By simply being alone, ceramics has mutated and gestated to develop a set of incongruent strategies and standards, an elegantly flat-footed syncopation, and an often beautifully awkward aesthetic. But strangely, these innovations have occurred without being tethered to a concurrent revision within the discourse of clay or for that matter any discourse that attempts to consider the plurality of its disparate practices. Ceramic artists have mostly been left to use and borrow from stagnantly dysfunctional critical canon, one that often wrongly assumes the following:

  • that ceramics are still involved with trying desperatly to make ‘art’,
  • that ceramic practice is primarily routed through material investigations,
  • that a clay object’s meaning must be refracted through ceramic art history.

The agitating gap between ceramic’s available discourse and its actual, pervading practice pronounces a problem. However, it is a problem where some of the field’s most wild innovation is currently couched.

Michael Jones McKean, ‘Towards Incongruence’, Interpreting Ceramics, Issue 9, 2007

Finding your Voice

The ambiguity of whats out in the art world is enormous  yet I begin to see my self touch upon some boxes, so`me more than others. Looking at Narrative: anti-narrative and still life, Meta-modernism: materiality and process and Function: interactivity and Design I definitely see myself discussing themes of craft in relation to fine art and with that talking about ceramics and its materiality and process, towards how objects interact with one another which subsequently has to do with function and all of it’s negative connotations.

For this project we had to pick a journal where we would see our practice align and sit within. Being subscribed to Ceramic Review for a while I definitely see myself or at least hope one day make it there *eye rolls*. There is so much stuff out there that it can be slightly exasperating, but me wanting to be a ceramicist (aka artist working with clay) I see my target market and potential galleries and inspirations being featured constantly on it.

22561330_1717001764979643_1756677400_o (1)Camberwell Art School, where he did a Pre-Diploma course, brought him into contact with Lucie Rie and he was much affected by a remark she made one day. “Your pots are really a caricature of what you want to make. But one day, I’m sure, you’ll get it right!”  He expresses the modest hope that he is beginning, at last, to “get it right”.

Published bi-monthly, this magazine arose out of the newsletter of the Craft Potters Association. Ceramic Review’s first editors, Emmanuel Cooper and Eileen Lewenstein, strove to promote and further develop the outward-looking qualities of the CPA and to respond to the ever-widening interest in studio pottery.



Contemporary British ceramicist and author Edmund de Waal meets renowned Italian painter Giorgio Morandi, whose oeuvre largely consists of still life paintings of pottery. However it is not ceramics that unites these two artists here, but rather the encouragement of mindful viewing and contemplation.

Exploring the visual and literary dialogue between the two artists nd yet their indirect material of choice isn’t the only link that the exhibition explores. ”Perhaps it is assumed that the unifying link between Morandi and de Waal is the ceramic objects… However, that is not the case,” said Bo Nilsson, the artistic director of Artipelag.“Neither of the artists is particularly fascinated by the objects themselves, but rather by the contexts and presentation of them. What is of interest is how the objects are brought together, where they are placed, from where they can be viewed and how they are illuminated or darkened. The artists share an artistic approach revolving around contemplation as the main principle, in contrast to our present time where refection and repetition rarely are valued and appreciated.”





BCB – Place and Practice

Throughout history ceramics have played an important role in the phenomenon of cultural transfer. For centuries China, Korea and Japan have influenced each other’s aesthetics, practices and technologies. Subsequent trade with the West, and the imitation and assimilation of Oriental styles in the late 17th and 18th centuries greatly influenced the development of new ceramic traditions in Europe that were to gain historical dominance.

BCB sees a continuation of this cycle of exchange, through the site oriented residency Place and Practices, where artists Neil Brownsword, Juree Kim and Oh Hyangjong present a cross-cultural response to themes of materiality, place and tradition. The project extends each artists ongoing investigations into architectural heritage, traditional craft, and the social and political histories of place and labour

Onggi trained potter Oh Hyangjong and Neil Brownsword arrests a range of intermediary forms that derive from mechanical and manual methods of processing raw clay. These culturally diverse rhythms of labour- from foot wedging to filter press cake, retain within their fabric nonchalant actions and bodily repetitions that occupy territory between raw geology and the crafted object.

Oh Hyangjong works presence is something I am striving for perhaps Im striving too much, however, undoubtedly similar yet unintentionally as I never heard of him before the visit. IMG_7959


Experimenting with Terracotta and its Status

According to Alison Britton, the ‘vessel’ points to a particular set of values, as if it has a special status, it says ‘this is not just a pot, this has some extra qualities’. Spiritual, metaphorical, aesthetic. She is drawn to use ordinary words and making something magical, in the same way that she would never use porcelain because she wants to make exciting stuff out of ordinary materials.

Terracotta clay has been of a utilitarian kind because of its cheapness, versatility, and durability. The earliest forms of pottery were made from clays that were fired at low temperatures in pit-fires or in open bonfires. They were hand formed and undecorated. Because the bisque form of earthenware is porous, it has limited utility for storage of liquids. However, earthenware has a continuous history from the Neolithic period to today.

Seeing the implications of using porcelain, I decided to try and use terracotta both smoth and grogged. This allowed me to built quicker, but thinking back what really got me into porcelain was its tactility at vitrification level. Therefore,  I tested some samples at higher temperature and well above the maximum 1170°C mentioned by the supplier. I took it to 1280°C achieving some great results using my tin glaze and some great vitrification.

Working within a small scale has showed me not much implications, both using the wheel and coiling, as you can see bellow with some lovely plant pots.IMG_5880.JPG

Moving into a much bigger scale has demonstrated a bigger challenge. Making wise, amazing material with deep historical context to build with, while a porcelain vessel might take 6 hours to make a terracotta one might take as little as 2 hours achieving the same visual outcome. However, when it came to glaze I was trying to achieve the same glaze effect when I glazed my work last year, showing process, and applying little applications of glaze demonstrating utilitarian values within objects, affordances (Norman, 1999). A perceived properties that may not actually exist, suggestions or clues as to how to use the properties, can be dependent on the experience, knowledge, or culture of the viewer, can make an action difficult or easy.

Yet a month after my big terracotta firing, the tension in the glaze of one of my bigger pieces made it crack right through, so I need to watch out for glaze application and how thick I apply it so I don’t have further incidents.


Probably need to make more samples in different clays to compares the different qualities. Perhaps looking at different atmospheres like reduction.