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Reflections and progress

This week I have been struggling with the idea of signifiers and how to interpret them in my work. I looked at the various artists I had been researching before like Deacon, Cragg, Youll, and Slee plus a suggestion from Pete to look at the way that Gormley creates forms in his sculpture (see images below). I want my pieces to hold a bit of mystery, I like the idea of an artwork revealing itself. Gormley's are a little obvious for me although the use of components to create form is a useful idea to explore. It also allows me to build larger pieces for installations that would otherwise be limited by the kiln. I will try using the laser cutter next week to cut some shapes and play with components and form in 3d.

Whilst exploring construction methods I also fired some test pieces. I had used a recipe adapted by Sara Henry who had used a selection of glazes and slips in her slipcast work. The result was what one could refer to as being 'of the earth' having a very geological feel to the fired pieces. I thought I could use the extruder to introduce the 'unpredictable' nature of creating. I mixed the following clay and glaze bodies layered them and extruded them. The process of extruding produced quite unruly clay extrusions that would be very difficult to build with but gave rise to quite interesting results, the differing softness and plasticity of the clay causes a differential lamination in the extruder parallel to the extrusion itself. I like the result, bursting clay, fluxed by the additions of a volcanic and clear glaze and colour variations from the Nepheline Syenite in the clay slip bodies fired to 1280ºC soak half an hour. See results below.

Recipe 1

  • 40% China Clay
  • 20% Flint
  • 19% Potash Feldspar
  • 19% Nepheline Syanite
  • 2% Whiting

Recipe 2

  • 37% China Clay
  • 13% Ball Clay
  • 28% Nepheline Syenite
  • 10% Alkali Frit
  • 12% Flint

Recipe 3 (Fake Ash) 1Kg Dry weight mixed with 1Kg Stoneware Wet Clay

  • 5% Bone Ash
  • 18% Dolomite
  • 1% Lithium
  • 10% Barium Carbonate
  • 1% High Alkali Frit
  • 47% Ball Clay
  • (+15% Rutile)

Recipe 4 (Clear Glaze) 1Kg Dry weight mixed with 1Kg Stoneware Wet Clay

  • 7% talc
  • 10% Whiting
  • 15% Alkali Frit
  • 30% Nepheline Syenite
  • 18% China Clay
  • 20% Flint
  • (+10% Copper Carbonate)

I went to the ceramics and new technologies symposium at the Holburne, Bath this week. Ingrid Murphy was by far the most inspiring speaker and her work was very innovative, I love the way she uses technology, her work is also educational and engaging so it appeals to me having been an educator for many years. I also enjoyed listening to Katie Bunnel and about her collaboration work with Chris Tipping on the Coombe Down mine. I liked the way she exploits the handmade using technologies. Other speakers Steve Brown and Jonathan Keep were less inspiring for me, although full of valuable technical information their projects and work are more applicable to industrial processes. Micheal Eden's work was a little disappointing. I had never see his 3d printed works in person and although curious objects I felt they were a little soulless. I think I would have rather seen his technological ability be used to create something that looked less manufactured and bigger in size. Eden did say talk about new processes that explored different materials other than the nylon that gives too polished an aesthetic for me. I did however enjoy his speech and the debate about copying, reproduction and digital technologies.

UncategorizedDean Coates