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

11.09.07 To glaze or not to glaze?

The past few weeks has been filled with making more figures for the interior designer, and making a few more toruses [should that be tori?]. I have tested various clays- glacier white porcelain, grogged porcelain, T material & Valentines GT material. All those tests are at the biscuit stage though I expect to high fire the porcelain ones tonight.
I have continued to attempt to throw a large torus and though attuning myself to the subtleties of the form it is still a deceptively difficult one to throw. Part of the problem is at the turning stage where excess clay from the bottom of the piece is trimmed. Being an enclosed form it is impossible to gauge the thickness of the clay wall, so there is a risk of removing too much and creating a weakness or even cutting right through. I try to guess the thickness from the weight of the piece, but that can be deceptive as the wall thickness may not be even!

The surface treatment has also been an area of experimentation. I have to make a careful choice as I wish to enhance the qualities of the form, not work against or diminish them. I used a black ‘chrome’ glaze on a couple of tests and am pleased with the results which make the piece appear less solid. The reflections are interesting, in the centre there is a reflection of a smaller version of itself, surrounded by a fisheye view of the backdrop, it’s quite captivating but makes photographing it very difficult.
I’m interested to know whether a translucent version could be produced in bone china or porcelain, they would need to be cast, but when I return to college it shouldn’t be too difficult to produce a mould.

I plan to return to London about a week or so before College starts so that I can attend a number of London Design Festival events. The first of which for me is the ‘Craft, Creativity & the Computer Controlled Age’ on the 17th September at the Royal Festival Hall. It will address questions such:

What role does new technology already play in the crafts world?
What do these new processes mean for the crafts and the individual craftsperson?
Can craft maintain its individuality if it embraces this technology? Are digital processes actually facilitating the survival of the 'handmade' in a world of mass production?

On my list of events I plan to visit are:
-Designersblock - Tenth London Anniversary Show
-Form Foundation presents Mode of Production
-Hue, Line & Form
-100% Design
-Illumination- Making a Difference with Advanced Materials
-Launch of Materials Resource Centre
-Manufacturing Reinvented: additive manufacture and second industrial revolution
-Trans Forms
-Zaha Hadid

These are just a few of the events on offer, full details can be found on the London Design Festival website.

Obviously these are design-focused events, where I will be looking out for materials, responsive technology, lighting etc. However, I need to keep the core idea of the project at the forefront of my mind. The exploration of the ceramic container is the focus, the materials & tools are only the means by which I investigate & realise the work. The process must be underpinned by justification of all the decisions & choices I make, and I have to avoid using new materials or technology where they don’t have a place.