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

22.02.08: Poetry and Pottery

Deadlines are starting to loom, not just the completion of my thesis and practical work, but more imminent ones such as the Research Forum next Tuesday, where we have to give a short presentation on the current state of our research. We only have 15 to 20 minutes each, but it’s seems to take me a disproportionate amount of time to prepare for it. The audience is likely to be small, but will probably include staff from both the School of Applied Art and the Research Office.
The other deadline is the RSA Ceramic Futures competition interview to be held on the 11th March for which I am relying on the French company to complete the black tureen on time. Ideally, I should have it now so that it can be photographed and included in my presentation, and Martin Watmough from RapidformRCA has asked if it will be available next week for a visit he is having from the Vice-President of Z Corp. I have emailed and telephoned the company but feel a little in the dark, as I have no idea when it will be ready for collection. They have promised to complete it on time but I feel that last minute is almost the same as too late.
On a more positive note, a very successful glaze test came out of the kiln this week. The piece had been biscuit fired to 1140˚C then glazed with a metallic black glaze to the same temperature. Once the ‘bloom’ was polished off, the surface was just what I’m looking for, highly reflective and smooth, with no visible crazing.
The other enjoyable incident happened, surprisingly on the tube on Thursday. I spotted one of the Poems on the Underground, one by Elizabeth Cook called ‘Bowl’ that perfectly compliments my project.

‘Give me a bowl, wide
and shallow. Patient
to light as a landscape open
to the weight
of a deepening sky.’

Trying to memorise it on the tube literally and metaphorically transported me to another place [Liverpool St and home in Cumbria].

Earlier in the week I had seen another of the Poems on the Underground, this time called Maple Bridge. The first part is a translation by the poet Gary Snyder of a Tang dynasty poem, an almost haiku like description of night-time on the river, hearing the distant bell of a monastery. The accompanying poem is by the translator, set at the same location describing the scene in 2005.
Again, the effect is to transport the reader out of the uncomfortable physical confines of the tube to a place in the imagination. For me the discovery of a poem is always unexpected, as my mind is usually busy with ‘London’ thoughts, making the experience the more enjoyable for it.

* From ‘Bowl’ by Elizabeth Cook, published by Worple Press 2006