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

Week ending 05.07.07- end of year 1

I returned to College after a weekend of feeling unsure of the next step in my research. I have plenty of writing to do, but found it difficult to settle because the previous writing [see 22.07.07- Sensing the Container], where I have tried to focus on the core of the experience of perceiving the container has left me doubting that the practical work is coming close to provoking the sensation that I’m looking for. So Monday, a nice quiet day in the house was mostly wasted.
I had a good chat with Steve Brown, one of my fellow researchers about my recent doubts. He expressed having experienced similar feelings and talked about using case studies as material if I couldn’t provide the material myself. This was a new thought for me, I know I need to use examples of other artists work in the thesis, but I had thought that would be solely for contextual purposes. Steve is a very supportive and has a strong insight, our conversations are always stimulating and productive from my point of view, and I hope that I give something in return.
I had planned that this week would be spent getting together the reference material I would need for the thesis writing over the summer but realised that I would have time to do some practical work. I made a replacement for one of the flat cone pieces that I lost through firing too impatiently. It came out well and didn’t require much fettling, so either my skill is improving or the mould is drier and releases the clay more easily.
I find that taking a pen, sketchbook and cup of tea across into Kensington Gardens can be a fruitful experience. For the last couple of weeks the weather has been so wet and cool that there haven’t been many opportunities, but Thursday was a bit kinder so off I went. I made some notes about the container, about its deconstruction, separating the parts- rim, interior and exterior surfaces or making a container without those distinct parts. In relation to deconstruction I think of Malevich and the Cubists periods of Picasso and Braque; in relation to a continuous surface I think of the torus and then the Möbius strip. Which is what I was thinking about before starting at the RCA. I had shelved it as too complicated a structure, but find it maybe the way forward. I must return to the Rhino models and see if they can be used to produce a CNC milled model.
It felt like I’d found a way forward so got some clay and threw three torus pieces, one in white earthenware and two in porcelain.

I was pleased to move away from the feelings I was experiencing at the weekend and this seemed like a step in the right direction. I don’t know where these pieces will lead but they also help to alleviate my concerns that the work shares too many similarities to Martin Smith’s.

A couple of weeks ago I put in an application to take part in a mentoring scheme that the RCA and the Royal Designers for Industry are pioneering. I have chosen Martin Hunt of Queensbury Hunt as the person most appropriate for me and on Wednesday received a call from the chap [Barry…?]co-ordinating the scheme at Innovation RCA to say that it looks like I’ll get the placement.
I emphasised that at this stage of my career a review in light of my RCA experience will be invaluable. I need to change direction, as the studio pottery model is increasingly difficult to sustain. Basically, that is where my experience lies, with some teaching experience, my knowledge of other models is limited.
I’m now writing this sat on the 18.45 Virgin Pendelino train heading north for the last time this academic year. I may have to pop down to use the library at College during the summer but would rather make use of time at home to balance production work and practical and written College work. Plus I have to do some DIY on the house and we definitely need a bit of time off. We’ll see.