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

Week ending 29.06.07

This is the official last week of term, though I am returning on Tuesday for one more week of tidying up & making use of the library.
My overwhelming feeling is how fast the year has gone, it has been a tremendous experience, I have met many wonderful and talented people and feel lucky to be part of a very special College. Regarding my project, I feel somewhat daunted by the amount of work required to complete it by this time next year. The past 9 months have been spent finding out how to conduct research, developing a context for the project and attempting to produce work in response. The practical part of the project hasn’t moved as fast as I would have liked, partly for technical reasons – learning new techniques takes time, and for the practicalities of working in a studio with very little space which is often cluttered up.

Arrived to find that the kiln I had booked for tomorrow was empty and very hot, so let it cool for a while then loaded the first of 2 pieces. They are difficult to handle and I broke a small section off the internal rim, more or less ruining it. The second piece had its internal & external cones separated at the rim, with bridging pieces inside. I managed to load it, then left the kiln to cool further, allowing the pots a pretty hot drying period.
At 5.00 I had a tutorial with Martin to discus the writing of the thesis. I had prepared a draft contents page that Martin had asked me to develop into abstract length sections. It had been an interesting exercise, making me realise the importance of writing it in the correct order. For instance I started to write the introduction, then went onto the first section ‘Sensing the Container’, soon beginning to realise that I was duplicating myself and that the ideas were far better expressed in that part than the intro. Martin had a lot to say, plenty of sound advice and didn’t actually say that my efforts were dismal. I felt pretty daunted by the task, though I have found that the writing, when I work at it has improved and is an enjoyable experience. I think that Martin’s main advice is to justify every statement and to write clearly in my own voice.

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday:
Attended the Atoms to Art 2 conference held at University College. Though there was an impressive range of speakers from science, ceramics and glass the attendance wasn’t what it deserved. I must admit to cherry picking a little as some of the subjects were either incredibly specialist or potentially interesting, but not relevant to my work at the moment. Besides, on Wednesday I had to cycle back to College to unpack the kiln and discover that rushing things definitely does not pay off. Both pieces had cracked, they should both have been lifted off the kiln shelf, loaded into the kiln when it was cooler and allowed to warm through for much longer. One of them can possibly be used as a mould for vacuum forming so perhaps all is not lost.
Meanwhile, back at Atoms to Art 2 I was very impressed with Marek Cecula and his approach to ceramics. He showed images of work he has selected for a forthcoming exhibition in Toronto. The makers/artists/designers chosen don’t often have a ceramics background and their approach to ceramics is very fresh. Of the work shown many were utilising ready-mades, over-layering or creating contemporary and sometimes political imagery. I think he would make a valuable contribution at the RCA and I plan to put his name forward as a visiting lecturer.

I am writing this, as usual on the train home, hoping that this journey isn’t a repeat of last week’s diversions and delays due to flooding. I finally got home at 12.15 a.m., three & a half hours late. But I was dry & warm and the house wasn’t flooded.