Exhibiting at the Ken Stradling Collection

Today we went to Bristol. Real early in the morning. Real early. Early. 

We looked at the collection and took some cute commemorative photos. 

I held a Lucie Rie vase! It was a strange feeling, knowing the object I was holding was so valuable (c. £10k??? Why is it worth more than a year at CSAD??), when it felt the same weight as the work of my contemporaries. It felt so ordinary. I felt like I was close to the maker of the object but also as if it communicated nothing to me at all. As if its voice as an object was… silent. The way that the Collection had swathes of Items™ shelf upon shelf – it felt as if the truly precious things were depreciated by some of the hints which surrounded them. I want my work to feel precious and valuable as an artefact. I want my work to feel important to the owner of the work and for them to treasure it in its multiple ways of communicating its state of being (sensorially). 

I felt on the whole that the visit helped bolster my confidence in my own work. I got to photograph it as if it were in the context of a prized collection of items, and I had the chance to see my work next to those of my peer group too. It was an enjoyable trip.

KS Collection

KS Collection

KS Collection

My work was in reaction to a shelving unit which was no longer on display on any of the three floors of the collection, so it is a reply in a way to the new shelving units which can be similarly adjusted to different heights to accommodate art/ books/ items.

I went through several setups before settling on the one below. 

KS Collection

The full Flickr album can be found here.


Subject PDP

This year has been pretty intense. For subject, this meant an increased level of “self-study”, if you will.  I relished this chance to get on with my throwing skills, especially in the evenings or on weekends, when the department was emptier and less noisy.  As an autistic student, the studio environment can be incredibly draining, to the extent that it can get to be too much before it’s even 1400 if I am in uni in the morning.  I have had to build several strategies around my limited energy resources, so that they can carry me further than they otherwise might (under strain) and so that I can use the resources I have as efficiently as possible.  To me it is incredibly important to acknowledge the hard work that I end up putting into managing myself, because without that level of self-knowledge and problem-solving I would end up being incapable of doing any of my degree work at all. 

The Mick Morgan masterclass was a turning point for me this year: examining and reproducing a vessel under his guidance led me into developing a series of my own work which took inspiration and drew on the skills his technique required.

Over the course of the year I also trained up various objectively separate manual skills revolving around tactile materials – I made a pattern for, and constructed a coat, as well as a stuffed bear, I made a quilt, and hand-bound books.  

The technical project allowed me to focus on further highlighting texture in my work through the use of glaze.  I initially tried reduction glazes, persevering for a long time and trying different recipes for depth. I had had my heart set on making a perfect celadon for my precise purposes, but the unreliable nature of the gas kilns really put me off reduction firing!! I examined several oxidation options and chose to use an oxidation-firing matcha green glaze with a yellow halo; I used the spray gun to apply it to my work, and it succeeded in creating a clear contrast between glazed areas and those which were not. Though different from my goals at the outset of the technical project, I found a glaze which suited my work, which for me, was the larger goal. I also found that a transparent glaze with copper carbonate in it which suited my original purposes when it came to emphasising depth in my work.  


The ceramic works of Daniel Fisher and Takeshi Yasuda greatly influenced my aesthetic choices this year, and the ‘porcelain ruleset’: the material properties of porcelain which limit the ways in which it can be used – when it is fluid, how much pressure it can take to the surface when it is drier etc. also affected my work. I problem-solved this aspect using the very gradual addition of moisture with sponges when turning.

Carrying forwards from last year, my interest in passing knowledge through the tactile continued. I explored this through different media in order to better inform how I managed it in ceramic work. My pieces are made to be handled and held, informing the viewer of their properties and process through touch.


Below is a page from my notebook outlining key concepts in my work. 

I found that challenging the way in which we present ceramic objects (i.e. not to the handled) within exhibition spaces sets back the goals of my work. I want to encourage others to instead take a more hands-on approach.  My subject work (Flickr album here) is more closely aligned with my Dissertation Proposal (final ver) than ever.
I initially set up my show space to the best of my ability to reflect the importance of the familiar (by getting the attention of the viewer, and their coming into the space, rather than already being surrounded by it) and its role in communicating to the viewer. 

I was recommended, however, to display more of my ceramic work (of which there is much) rather than focusing on the multi-media work I have produced this year. 

setup one:

This led to setup two:

Getting the Look Right

I photographed my work in the photo studio with a suitable camera in order to achieve a more polished look for the presentation of my porcelain vessels to others.  As people’s first contact with most artists’ work is usually through photographs of the work rather than seeing it in person, I wanted to ensure the best presentation possible.

matcha series: vessel//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

The Flickr album can be found here.

Finally glazing: Part II

I glazed a large number of my porcelain work with the matcha-green glaze and also mixed up some [standard CSAD recipe] transparent glaze with 1% copper carbonate, with which I also glazed some of my work (it was sprayed on – it took me three hours???? to do them all).

While I do enjoy the resulting mottled green with its variance of depth of colour (depending on the thickness of the glaze applied) and pale yellow halo, I am glad to say that I am simply

– E C S T A T I C – over the results from the copper carbonate glaze.  I has really good depth with the lino cutter-tool things.

meanwhile… Bookbinding

I’ve been working on expanding my repertoire of manual skills gradually over the year.  This includes the wonderfully repetitive tasks which make up bookbinding.  Over the last year, I have put together several books of various sizes, all of them sketchbooks.

I am very proud of my improvement overall and have found bookbinding to be a skill of great use when it comes to making collections of my life-drawings or for making a book without the expenses of purchasing a sketchbook for that purpose alone.