The Hand and the Glove... ramblings about making.

Week ending 11.05.07

It was the May Day Bank Holiday here in the UK, so no teaching at Carlisle. Instead, continued with written work for College and spent some enjoyable time with my family.

Busy train journey back to College, then straight into the plaster shop for the afternoon to complete the outer cone mould

I was a little concerned that it would be difficult to remove the inner clay & wood model, but it came out surprisingly easily.
They are all now drying in the heated cabinet, hopefuly I'l be able to start using them tomorrow.
Made a semi-matt cream glaze which I'm managing to test fire later today. I'm looking for a neutral, non ceramic surface treatment, this may be the answer.
In an effort to compare materials and techniques I have emailed Corian© looking for contacts & information about thermoforming and including LED into the surface of my pieces.

Started the day by rolling out a slab to wrap around the small inner cone as the clay applied to it yesterday stuck very firmly to the surface.
I had to break off to have a tutorial with Jonathan Miles in the Humanities Department. He had been recommended as someone to discuss perception with, and after describing the aims of my project he gave me a brief history of philosophy of perception since Descartes!
The most relevant thing we discussed was the ‘autonomous object’. Jonathan Miles defined it as an object that can speculate on its own condition, rather than being a comment or statement. I find this relevant to my questioning of the centrality of ceramics to the project. But how does an object become autonomous? Surely any contrived object is autobiographical whether it is functional or sculpture? I can imagine a series of objects collectively being ‘autonomous’, each being part of an act of speculation.
I must ask Jonathan Miles for specific texts that discuss this notion.
His general suggestions were:
HIEDEGGER: ‘Being and Time’ and the essays ‘The Question of Technology’ & ‘The Thing’.
ROSALIND KRAUSS: ‘Sculpture and the Extended Field’
MERLAU—PONTY: suggested first reading a commentary or Aesthetic reader. ‘Eye of the Mind’ and ‘Cezanne’s Doubt’.

I came away from the tutorial aware that I have 20+ years of ingrained thinking habits which must be questioned in order for me to truly engage with this project.

My feeling is that my past practice as a functional potter led me to this point and the ceramic container should remain the core of the project. If I abandon the ceramic element I am then moving into territory that I have little knowledge or experience of. However, my investigation of the digital has brought me into contact with making techniques and materials that could well be part of the future of ceramics. This is one of the reasons for undertaking this project and could be part of my post-RCA life.

The rest of the day was spent wrestling with the moulds. I tried to fit the smaller end cone into the outer cone and though I had carefully worked out the dimensions, the thickness of the clay walls was a problem that made assembly impossible. So my plans to have assembled a piece by this evening went completely out of the window. I will have to make scaled down versions of the inner cones by taking and firing clay ‘casts’ from which new moulds can be made. In theory this should work, but I won’t have a fired piece in time for my interim examination on the 24th.