Subject PDP

What a year has it been,  from Ken Stradling, going through CoCA, travelling to Korea, visting a breadth of museums in a minivan, Ceramics Art London, Collect and the endless opportunities that this years has offered, the list goes on.

I felt the pressure was set on me to identify what type of artist I consider myself to be or at least begin to, but without realising I end up exploring themes that are entwined with one another and if I had to define myself I would definitely say I am an artist that ended up with clay to explore his ideas. Yes, because I’m definitely not a potter let alone a craftsman, all ‘negative’ connotations which I actually been exploring for my dissertation. With that I have been trying to defend ceramics as a term in craft and investigating how it appropriates within the fine art spectrum.

Picking the Gordon Baldwin piece as a catalyst from the Ken Stradling Collection was essential for this development. Very much interested in the whole movement from the 60s where artists like Gordon Baldwin and Alison Britton took inspiration from Hans Coper and moving away from the Bernard Leach Anglo-Oriental style to a more modernist aesthetic by challenging the notions of functional ceramics and the wheel-thrown methods used by production potters.

Artists like William Staite Murray have inspired me massively as a practitioner. Him as an artist defending his position within the art hierarchy as an artists that uses clay. He identified how unacknowledged clay as a material was. Murray made it his mission to raise the status of pottery to the level of fine art, seeing pottery as the missing link between painting and sculpture as it combined elements of both. He gave most of his works titles, charged “high art” prices for them and shared exhibitions with painters such as Ben Nicholson and Christopher Wood. Where as, Hans Coper defining his work as pots although they are seen as sculpture by many today. Intriguing propositions which have helped me to question my identity and how I define myself as a practitioner.

Materiality has been a big theme I looked at this year and by relying completely on the potential and possibility of clay, especially porcelain. The technique of coiling relies absolutely on time and the senses remembered on the fingertips as the thumb and index finger press the clay for it to form into a certain thickness and to stick together. Such way of working applies minimum use of tools and machines, and completely adapts my body to the work as well as the work to my body. Through craft, objects are invited to return to the human life where they belong, where they can provide the psychological foundation for us to realize humanity and establish bonds and exchanges with each other.

How I see objects in relation to one another has completely changed. ‘Connections and Object(ions)’ has helped me to begin to identify the contexts in which collections are sat on. By examining different methods of interpretation we can enhance their function or meaning and the range of institutions in which they are curated  can inform that interpretation. In addition, having the Field module, ‘Wunderkammer Road Trip’ has been a great opportunity to expand my contextual research by understanding the connections these collections have. With a result I began to better understand how I see my work within the wider world and began to display and curate my work more at ease.

In Conclusion, the fast track that the past two years have gone is incredible, however, I am beginning too identify the key areas I am more drawn to within my work and therefore defining myself as to what type practitioner I am. These of course will continue until next year and probably be more concise but perhaps I will never find out completely what I am all about.img_6169


Technical Project

18902399_1576683595678128_1321901545_nHaving this technical project running alongside our module has been essential for my material understanding and further explore my glaze alchemy knowledge. Coming back from South Korea I was very much inspired by the Celadon glazes which are very much embed within their ceramic culture.  I was interested in experimenting with Copper glazes and exploring different firing atmospheres both oxidation and reduction to achieve two different glaze finishes although using the same recipe. An intriguing metaphor in the exploration of cultural differences yet its similarities, a theme that was very much so at the core of my field module.

I began by looking at “The Handbook of Glaze Recipes” by Linda Bloomfield and picking out two recipes, one of which was a ‘David Leach’ porcelain base glaze and I decided to add some additions.

(1) Derek Emms Red:

  • Soda Feldspar                               42
  • Flint                                                19
  • Whiting                                          14
  • High Alkaline Frit                        14
  • China Clay                                      5
  • Tin Oxide                                        5
  • Copper Carbonate                         1

(2) ‘David Leach’ porcelain base glaze with addition of 2% Copper Carbonate:

  • China Clay                                      25
  • Feldspar                                          25
  • Flint                                                 25
  • Whiting                                           25
  • Copper Carbonate                         2

(3) ‘David Leach’ porcelain base glaze with addition of 2% Copper Carbonate and 5% Tin Oxide:

  • China Clay                                      25
  • Feldspar                                          25
  • Flint                                                 25
  • Whiting                                           25
  • Copper Carbonate                         2
  • Tin Oxide                                        5


Oxidation tests came out good with smother green on test (3) with the addition of Tin Oxide in comparison with test (2). Reduction test came out under fired although some glossy red starts to show up on test (1).IMG_9948

With another reduction firing the tests didn’t fire to the firing range they were suppose to (1260°-1300°C). The gas kiln had a few problems at the time and wasn’t being very reliable, so I began to think if I could possibly create a reduction atmosphere within an oxidation firing.

I built a saggar which contained the test glazes and contained some sort of combustible which in theory (or at least in my head) would create a reduction atmosphere. The deprivation of oxygen within the saggar was attempted by surrounding the container with silica sand. Of course the reduction didn’t really happen, although, some ash of the newspaper mixed with test (2) which created the effect that you can see bellow.IMG_9946

Wanting to use my glazes inside my coiled porcelain vessels, I quickly realised I was going on the wrong path as in colour palette wise due to the darkness of the glazes overpowering the interior of the forms. In addition, a couple of students were also looking at copper glazes and with high demands for the gas kiln and it not being reliable, I though I should move on with a glaze that would suit my vessels.

(1)Brushed/Thin layer (2)Brushed/Thick Layer (3)Poured/Thin layer (4)Poured/Thick Layer

A lovely subtle white with a halo of pink when really thick. Also learned to clean my brushes before using them as they often have oxides or other materials. The glaze fits the porcelain body perfectly at 1280°C.IMG_9961With some research I found out that a tin glaze with a small addition of chrome oxide will go pink but with higher percentages it will dramatically go green. Not having very precise scales I roughly measured 3 measurements of Chrome Oxide into my Tin glaze.


(1)Original Tin glaze (2)Addition of Chrome Oxide bellow 1%  (3)Addition of Chrome Oxide around 1% (4)Addition of Chrome Oxide around 5%

These results got me really excited and felt I was achieving something, therefore I decide to invest on some scales that measures to 0.01g up to 500g to get more precise results. Observing my results I know that test (3) will be achieved with additions of Chrome Oxide in between 0% and 1%.IMG_9982IMG_9980Done the silly mistake by not sieving my glazes which got me slightly worried about my first results, however when I sieved the glazes the colour came out uniformly.

With further glaze testing I concluded that the pink will be achieved with addition of Chrome Oxide into the Tin glaze in between 0% and 0.2% which is a very small margin. However, mathematically between 0 and 0.2 there are an infinite amount of numbers, so technically I should be able to test it, perhaps by increasing the amount of the base glaze instead of measuring 100g of glaze.

(1) Chrome oxide over Tin glaze (2) Chrome oxide under Tin glaze

I began to think of the possibility of watering down chrome oxide and then either layering the oxide under or over the glaze. Above, I added a layer of chrome mixed with water at the time increasing it by one all around the cups. As you can see I managed to achieve some great pinks the one under the glaze being more subtle and the one above the glaze stronger.

A= 0.5g of Chrome Oxide mixed into 50ml of water
B= 1g of Chrome Oxide mixed into 50ml of water
C= 2g of Chrome Oxide mixed into 50ml of water
Numbers under Letter= Number of layers of watered down mixture

I then decided to make three tests ranging from 0.05g, 0.1g and 0.2g of Chrome Oxide, however, we didn’t have any Quartz therefore I added the same amount of Flint which is a silica substitute. Unfortunately, the results didn’t come out as I expected so I decided to get more Quartz to continue my investigation.IMG_9968Managging to get the Quartz was great as I explored little addition of 0.05g, 0.1g and 0.15g of Chrome into my original tin glaze resulting the tests bellow.IMG_0013Been exploring different firing temperature as to what the expected 1280°C is due to the nature of my vessels being made out of porcelain which tend to warp at higher temperatures, therefore on the results bellow I went slightly lower, to 1260°C. The glaze doesn’t seem to bad in contrast with the 1280°C firing, however, the quality of the fired porcelain seems slightly better in my opinion.

I fired three porcelain vessels to three temperatures, 1240°C, 1260°C and 1280°C I began to notice some differences. when I took the porcelain to 1280°C it has really vitrified  which have a slightly grayer tone as when as it felt more dense, at 1260°C there aren’t much differences but when we move to 1240°C the porcelain is much lighter and I feel it has a different tactile quality which I like, in addition at that temperature it tends to warp less in comparison with higher temperatures. Although the differences are not very visible on the picture bellow, they are there.

IMG_9991I found having this project alongside our module was essential for us to have a better understanding of materials and glazes.  Knowing what you want and being selective of what you want to achieve is the essence of this exploration. Really interested in observing the glaze qualities of small additions of material into a glaze and how that affects it. There is so much about ceramics and that’s probably why I persue it and loving it.

Constellation PDP: Critique

Constellation has been such a rich and dynamic experience this year. Pushing and developing the boundaries of level 4 by thinking and critically evaluating some of the ideas that we debated previously. Not being very confident with my writing, it definitely developed my interest by exploring creative opportunities within Ceramics that were supported by historical and theoretical ideas and arguments. Having to begin thinking about our research interest for a dissertation proposal this year was no easy feat but having the range of study groups at the beginning of this year to pick from has been essential to personalise my path to where I am now and relating it to the ideas of where I want to take my dissertation to and sometimes this can be difficult, however, it is better than it being dictated to us.

I was very much interested in Dr. Ashley Morgan’s approach to apply theories to object and the study group Stuff: Objects and Materiality would offer me exactly that. The aims of this study group was to examine our relationship with objects that we come across in everyday life, and also to demonstrate ways for us to think about the objects that we make. We are surrounded by objects, and much of what we are doing here is to conceive art and design objects, things and stuff.

Taking one of our lectures as an example, looking at consumerism and ways we consume, from mass production and consumption to local production and consumption, it’s key to study the historical context of the 19th century shift from production to consumption which is backed up with theories around consumer culture. With the 20th century, a shift from mass production to mass consumption occurred. Featherstone (2007) goes to argue that consumerism is embedded as a culture in a range of way, such as, consumer goods create social bonds or distinctions between people and that the expansion of production meant accumulation of material culture in form of consumer goods.

Independent study is crucial, and it important to identify relevant and challenging contexts within which to situate specific areas of interest within my subject. For example, by looking at the 19th century industrial movement covered by the study group, I was very much interested in the arts and crafts movement. It initiated in Britain and prospered in Europe and North America between 1880 and 1910, later rising in Japan in the 1920s, It stimulated economic and social expansion and was fundamentally anti-industrial. With the materialization and rise of the arts and crafts movement and very much anti-industrialist inspired, studio pottery movement is born in the early 20th century with additional influences such as the Martin Brothers, William Moorcroft and the Bauhaus. By critically applying historical and contemporary theoretical concepts and debates to material previously studied, new ideas begin to emerge. Usually tutors give us essential reading material but our knowledge is increased by looking at other sources and connection between a range of cross-disciplinary ideas are made making our academic work more structurally stable. This development creates a personal position from which how to approach a particular research interest leading to my dissertation.

Particular theories have influenced the way I make and see work. Looking at theories of Taste and Cool, arguably, museums and art galleries serve to demonstrate and educate about taste, demonstrating what is good and bad in art and objects, however, ‘Cool is not inherent in objects but in people, then what is seen as Cool will change from place to place, from time to time and from generation to generation’ (Pountain, 2000: 20). These values comfort me and how I see my own practice, and this has led me to think of how I can envision my own practice as a craft within the fine art spectrum which has made me to think about my research for my dissertation intertwining key aspects from Subject, Field and Constellation.

Conclusively, Constellation and its concept this year has been essential for my development as an academic writer towards my dissertation. However, although a fairly positive experience I feel that the choice of dissertations including business plan and technical report could perhaps be introduced to us much earlier in the year, even possibly at level 4 for students to have a better understanding on how to research towards these two types in particular. Apart from that, I really found Constellation essential on ways I view works, objects and stuff but most importantly how I produce work as an artist and maker. It has been a great tool to explain and articulate my work by applying theories and debates around the themes I’m looking at. This module has impacted in great depth my own personal practice in the ways I begin to research, and now is very clear the importance of reflection on my writing and going into deeper analysis and its development of my own ideas and crucially the impact of the in-depth reading and how theories and philosophy are a major part of my practice.

Field PDP

Field modules are all about going beyond the boundaries of our discipline  and taking us outside of our usual environment to inspire us and give us a new perspective, making connections between these modules and my subject, making it key in the development of my skills, context and ideas.

Field this year has been such an exciting experience, especially coming from last year, where we felt as a whole that field was a bit disjointed from us and subject and although we didn’t have the field festival last year I feel I made the right decisions for my modules this year and began to take snippets of inspiration from both into my subject.

I chose both the Global Perspectives: South Korea and the Wunderkammer road trip, which basically gave me the opportunity to travel both internationally and nationally. I chose South Korea, as that felt like the biggest adventure. I didn’t know much about the country culturally, so I figured it would be an amazing opportunity to get first-hand experience of its cuisine, music, architecture, monuments, traditions, people and history and to experience art and design in a place where traditions are very different to the Western world. On other hand, I decided to get in a minivan with Duncan on a road trip for the exploration of a range of institutions which are packed with stuff and which are basically on our door step.img_7700South Korea was not simply a “holiday”, but a great opportunity to immerse myself into the creative life in Korea and questioning, comparing, contrasting, thinking and acting on cultural differences, similarities, and opportunities that these experiences provoked within my subject area.

The clash and harmony between the local and the international is a common issue in non-Western countries. But when multiculturalism happens, is there loss of identity. Do things stop having a sense of identity? I began to identify that the Korean culture has values in terms of tradition and community where as in a Western culture, looking at the art & design context we are more concern with the idea of self and the individual. Internationalization of the individual developing respect and understanding for others  interacting and engaging with ‘cultural others’ prepares us for global work and leadership developing inter-cultural competencies.

In addition, I found it valuable to immerse myself within the culture, its education, its traditions and observing my surroundings. Visiting exhibitions like Craft Narrative: The Place, Process, Perspective at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art has been a great inspiration, especially the work by the astonishing KiHo Kang.  His work relies completely on the potential and possibility of clay. Through craft, objects are invited to return to the human life where they belong, where they can provide the psychological foundation for us to realize humanity and establish bonds and exchanges with each other.

Going to an Eastern culture has made me aware of my own culture as well as ‘cultural others’ and I’m beginning to question my prepossessions of culture and identity and how I see my self as a maker and an artist.  img_9224For the Wunderkammer Road Trip module the immersiveness in the vast number of art galleries and museum collections across the length and breadth of the country was immense. It was a great opportunity to engage with and reflect upon my engagement and encounters with artifacts, their curation and the contexts that I experienced within these institutions. The connections between objects and their context was within the core of this module.

The links and  the aims between our Subject “Connections and Object(tions)” and this Field module were so intertwined that I felt by exploring these collections it expanded my contextual research and therefore creating a breadth of understanding and knowledge in terms of how different methods of interpretation can enhance their function or meaning and how their venue can inform that interpretation, from the white gallery space to the domestic through the urban.

Taking the curation of “Night in the Museum” by leading British artist Ryan Gander as an example, in presenting two pieces of work one of which gazes at another, this unusual way, Gander disrupts the role of the curator as a mediator between art and the public. He invites us to look beyond traditional themes and histories and to consider new narratives and relationships, for which the single pieces initially were intended.

How we perceive things is totally depended in our senses, our consciousness and unconsciousness, which has been a theme that has interested me. The encounters we went through has allowed each single of us to reflect and perceive a range of stuff differently independently of their context or initial ideas.

Conclusively, Field might feel a bit dislocative for many, but I feel it is what we take out of it that is important. It is there as a source of inspiration  and as an expansion of possibilities rather than a reliability on the singularity of our Subject.

Wunderkammer Road Trip: Proposal

Based on my experiences and encounters from our voyage of discovery we were required to make a proposal for a project. This project could have had a range of ambitions, including an intervention within a collection or even a representation, a proposition to reorder an existing collection in order to subvert or expose a different reading other than that which the existing curation may infer, something like Ryan Gander and his Night in the Museum did. I decided to do a response, on its broadest sense of ideas and encounters I have experienced within the past two weeks of travelling and to create a tool which would enable the viewer to interact within a specific collect, gallery or space using their sound sence which originated from my collection or perhaps a tool which lets artists and even curators to experience space, for which they may as well respond.Screen Shot 2017-06-04 at 22.46.31The majority of museums, visitors can only experience the artworks by viewing them. Looking at the five senses, (sight, touch, taste, smell, sound) sight is the first we think about. We are constantly bombarded with imagery, and me personally loving to snap photos of everywhere we go, there is a loss of sense in relation to the physical world. We are so far into this century into virtual reality where everyone reads images through the virtual. It’s one of the big problems that art confronts now, in fact we probably all confront. The virtual denies tactility, it denies your physical presence in relation to something other than a lighted screen. The nature of art has given way to photographs and images and we receive information through images and we don’t receive art through our total senses in term of walking, looking, experiencing, touching and feeling and that’s has kind of been lost.Screen Shot 2017-06-04 at 22.46.35We have the urge to being up close, reading labels but how do we record and retain that information? We can all visually make drawings, take notes, snap photos, and photography is something that intrigues me. The no photography policy in  Sir John Soane’s Museum and the Hunterian Museum, which for ethics reasons is not allowed, I wonder if perhaps it detaches us from the whole experience from an institution. on the contrary it makes us stop, go slower, read more and appreciate more, by using our senses more which we are usually unaware, but then again,  do our memories retain in the future when looking back?Screen Shot 2017-06-04 at 22.46.37As makers we tend to like to touch stuff (alot). This introduces a whole new experience as we wonder how stuff is made, pondering its tactility, but then there is a compromise, fragility. Things obviously can’t all be touched, preservation from the institutions behalf is essential and although some institutions have some handling sessions, they have the constant struggle to bring innovation to museums and gather bigger audiences to their institutions.Screen Shot 2017-06-04 at 22.46.39Something we know for sure is that the public loves interaction, and that is affected by their senses which will probably trigger memories and possibly attract wider audiences, therefore something that plays a big roll on my proposal.Screen Shot 2017-06-04 at 22.46.41You would think that taste is an unusual sence to experience within a museum, but far from it. Taking the incredible collection by the fabulous Marek Liska as an example, he began to make connections between the relationship of cafes and their institutions and how they can evoke memories, linking taste to time and to space.Screen Shot 2017-06-04 at 22.46.42Taking another example of a unusal sense to experience within an institution is smell. Not being able to take any photos at Soanes, that digital memory is taken away from us, without us being able to refer to it. However, things like the perfumed installation by food historian Tasha Marks, Scent Chambers is a piece which recreates smells from the Georgian kitchen, this is such a power tools which not only evokes memories from the Soanes itself but from a different era, from a different time and place.Screen Shot 2017-06-04 at 22.46.44When it comes to visually impaired people who tend to navigate through sound and touch, and museums face a new challenge. However, at The Wellcome Collection, a medical institution has cleaver interactions for blind people, by using sound outputs through out and braille labels which of course includes a wider audience into their facilities.Screen Shot 2017-06-04 at 22.46.47.pngMarcel Duchamp once said that the work of art was completed by the viewer. When sound is involved there is an additional bodily element to this, the perceptions the visitor brings with them will completely, alter the work.Screen Shot 2017-06-04 at 22.46.50Taking my collection as inspiration, it evokes memories, especially for the people who went to the Wunderkammer road trip, and although photographs can have the same effect, with sounds there is a surprise element, not knowing where you are, but swiftly we are confronted with a squeaking wheelchair or coffee machines frothing away or even Marek and Morgan moaning to indulge on some cake.Screen Shot 2017-06-04 at 22.46.51.pngLooking at sonic arts, my proposal is to have a multi-purpose audio tool where sound can guide you through the museum not in a literal way. An experiment to see how much of an effect sound plays with our memories and retain information.

It will be set in a completely dark place, however visual work is still present in the space. and why take one of the most important sence? This of course will make our other senses more alert. Often we don’t really know whats real and whats not, just because a label says so. Taking the Davies sisters as an example, among their collection they seven oil paintings that had been bought as Turners.Three of these were subsequently judged to be fake and withdrawn from display. These works were re-examined by the BBC TV programme, Fake or Fortune where they were reinstated as genuine Turners.

In addition there is always a hype around names and labels and looking at the famous Mona Lisa which is possibly the most wellknown painting in the world, often disappoints viewers by its minute size and the shere amount of tourists around her, often lets views a bit more than disappointed.  Therefore, having vision taken away from the audience and not really telling them who’s work is being exhibited is crucial.

As a multi purpose audio tool not only will you be able to experience the institution physically but it will be an immersive way of responding to a place without being physically in the space. Without that visual aide artists are able to produce work for a commission in response to the sound alone and in a way it is a rhizome way of working. Would it work? It is a good questions, but you could test it out for yourself for a mere £9.99 if you order today.L9473661