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

Week ending 25.05.07

The morning was spent in a meeting at CIA to discuss the setting up of a Craft Research Centre. Vicky and I had been invited along with Paul Scott [of Ceramics and Print etc.] and the Cox’s {Potfest organisers].
Jude Stoll has recently completed a survey of craft in Cumbria and along with Ian Farren, the head of the School of Art & Design wished to hear our views.
I started off by raising the thorny question of ‘craft’, a word full of connotations and ‘baggage’. Both Paul and I thought the term ‘applied art’ is a title that covers the range of current practice. I agreed with Paul that there should be an academic tier to the centre to give it stature, and for something for undergraduates to make use of & aspire to.
To support current practitioners and emerging new makers I suggested the setting up of a Hidden Art franchise based at the centre. Jude mentioned that there is interest from a group of makers around Kendal, but she has asked them to hold on until the CIA has looked into it. My feeling is that a Hidden Art franchise is too big an operation to set up amongst a group of practitioners unless they have enough funding to employ an organiser.
The Cox’s seemed mostly concerned about their kiln site at the Newton Rigg College site at Penrith and made very little positive contributions to the wider discussions. My other suggestions were for the inclusion of a digital manufacturing centre or bureau along the lines of Metropolitan Works. This all seems very ambitious for a centre in Carlisle, but later this year it will become part of the newly formed University of Cumbria and an ideal opportunity to aim high whilst there is investment going in.
The next step for me is to attend a meeting to discuss the Hidden Art franchise.

Back to the RCA and set about producing a model and mould of flat cone 01.
I am looking to produce a one sided piece that would work equally well on a flat surface or wall. Additionally there is the advantage that the piece is far simpler to produce than the two ended cones and allows me to test variations fairly quickly. By the end of the afternoon I had the mould drying in the cabinet and it was off to The Gate restaurant in Hammersmith to help Jeannette celebrate her birthday. Ray and Jeannette are the couple who kindly have allowed me to use their spare room 3 nights a week whist I’m at College. They are keen collectors of ceramics and have a large eclectic collection.

Nervous preparations for tomorrow’s Interim Examination; I had thought that I was ready, but having looked at Steve’s Summary of Work to Date, I thought mine needed improving.
Had hoped to produce a cast from the new flat cone mould but it is still too wet.

The morning was spent printing off copies of my written work, selecting and cleaning practical work and a bit of last minute panic! As Martin Smith is both my supervisor and Head of Department Hans Stofer, head of G,S,M & J was brought in to act as chair. Heike Brachlow, one of my fellow students came out of her examination saying that he had asked some difficult questions, so my nervous anticipation went up a notch or two. Alongside Hans Stofer and Martin, Alison Britton and Liz Aylieff interviewed me. Luckily, I felt comfortable with the questions and afterwards was told by Martin that I had passed. Next week there will be a feedback session that I am quite looking forward to in the hope that constructive advice will be given.
I have asked to see Liz next week as she raised an interesting observation that the internal space in my pieces appears to her as a passage. It’s not something that had occurred to me as I see them as containers of light.
Finished early so that I could cook Jeannette and Ray a Surprise Tatin. Jeannette’s partial to root vegetables [which Ray puts down to her Irish ancestry!] and the surprise in this recipe is the potatoes!

Spent some time thinking about and discussing Martin’s advice on the alteration of the press moulds with Stephan. Having tried to marry the inner and outer cones decided that it would be more efficient to start again with a really precise model. Having rescued 2 large vinyl display boards from the clear up of the fashion show I thought I could laser cut them or use the plotter to print out the surfaces of my new cone 07 form. So went down to the laser cuter/vacuum forming workshop and had some very good advice from Ian, the technician. He suggested making the model on the CNC milling machine in the Darwin workshops, so it was back upstairs to see Neil the technician. No problem with the design, just have to see Gordon in Vehicle Design about a block of material out of which I can have the model milled. That’s the job for first thing Tuesday afternoon.

Went up to Blackwell, the Arts and Craft house near Bowness-on-Windermere with Vicky as Emmanuel Cooper has asked me to write a review of the Gareth Mason exhibition for Ceramic Review. On the few occasions that I have seen his work I have always found it difficult to understand what he’s aiming at, but this time was really enlightening.