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


This week has been a rollercoaster- with some good progress made at College in both areas of writing and making.
My Tuesday morning train journey was spent designing some glass pieces that could be produced using rapid prototyped moulds. The moulds need to infiltrated and cured and then will withstand considerable heat. They can also be used for low temperature metal casting. When I was previously at the company in Paris, I saw a mould that had been used to cast aluminium. The surface didn’t appear to have been affected at all by the hot metal.
On Wednesday I went over to Paris to collect the Wedgwoodnt Tureen that had been made in black for me. It is to have a black ceramic coating made to look like Wedgwood black jasper. Unfortunately when I arrived Gilles was rushing between labs trying to prepare the right mixture for the coating. As the afternoon continued it was clear that he was struggling and I came home empty handed in the evening. The black tureen looked excellent, it appears more ‘see through’ than the white version. On Thursday I heard that the Wedgwoodn’t Project has been shortlisted for the RSA Ceramic Futures competition. The interview is on March 11th and there’s some preparation work to do beforehand.
I then had a tutorial with Martin, primarily to discuss the ‘Context’ section of the thesis. He raised a few points that I need to address, but fundamentally he was happy with it. I now have to start tackling the ‘Making’ section, once I’ve gone through the whole ‘Sensing’ section to see how its three parts read as a whole.
Through the week I had been casting and firing the kiln, on Thursday I added some manganese dioxide to the Potclays glaze in an attempt to make it more metallic. The results came out on Friday and they are the most successful yet. The cone form looked very interesting with red or white light inside it, creating a volume of floating light in the central space.
Friday afternoon was spent at the V&A having a look around Collect. I felt overwhelmed by so many beautiful objects, but underwhelmed by a lack of content in quite a lot of the work. As Chris Lefteri says in his introduction to ‘Ingredients’ “…the importance of an object and its physical manifestation has diminished… new technologies have provided consumers with a new level of engagement with the object.”[1] I was looking for story telling in the objects, something that I could emotionally engage with, and something beyond the well crafted.
I returned to the V&A later for their Friday Late, an evening of themed ‘craft’ related activities, some of which were participatory. There was Ballroom dancing on a beautifully stencilled, icing sugar dance floor, casting your finger or toe in chocolate, a graphic design ‘playgroup’ and some interesting time-lapse films. I managed to be roped into a Charlie Chaplin impersonators Victoria sponge production line, having to dress in bowler hat, false moustache, walking cane, apron and latex gloves! It was a bit of fun and I was given a piece cake as a thank-you.
Saturday morning was spent in College, continuing to develop the glass mould design, and then it was an afternoon spent on the slow train home to Cumbria, writing up this entry.

[1] Ingredients, a Materials project by Chris Lefteri. No. 2 Sept 2007