Sunday, 29 January 2017

Malformed and Decayed

I'm having a lot of fun with this project, yet every time I attempt to talk or write about it I stumble for words. I don't know where to start or what to say. As I mentioned in a previous post, the brief is to make objects that are reminiscent of Victorian European ceramic, yet decayed and malformed. Bruised, distorted,misshapen, rot, peeling skin, are some of the referencing descriptive words. 

Well, most of the work is finished, glazed and fired, yet I am reluctant to let it go. I am confused with it. I am fascinated by the turmoil they are creating in my thoughts.I created them and I am attracted and repulsed by them at the same time. I feel as if I'm staring at someones misshapen and scared face, knowing that it is rude, yet unable to stop. (and I have created them!!)

I can't even photograph them properly. They are challenging me on so many levels!
So, here we go, a selection of unedited images. And I would love to hear your thoughts:


Sunday, 1 January 2017


I do like welding the frame, the skeleton of the sculpture. It is hot and exhausting, and at this stage I have no Idea if all the pieces will fit together..

So far so good. This one is coming together smoothly, but based on the previous experiences I'm bracing myself for glitches.
 Last few welds

 And then it is DONE!! I like the neat base.when it's turned sideways I can walk in, which will come handy when it comes to painting the frame. 

 Finding the photogenic position in the garden for the trial assembly and the photo-shoot.

Oh, and I still need to make the last thirty tiles, fire them twice, and paint the frame with cold galv. and 3 layers of anti-corrosive enamel.
But for now, I will grab a glass of vine and just sit here for a while and enjoy the view.

Saturday, 24 December 2016


First you cut 550 pieces of metal. Then you drill 880 holes. And then you start welding them together again....

 As they grow larger I'm giving up on neutral background photos:

One third done....

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

more small steps

Once I have a few bolts glued in place I can measure the distance between the bolts and start designing the frame. Of course, I could measure the shrinkage of clay and try to work it out mathematically instead, but this is much safer option.

 It is really important to get distances and angles right, or nothing will fit together.

Looks about right. Now I can do the cutting list and chop 60 m of flats into small bits. FUN!!

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

small steps

The tile production is going smoothly,so it is time to start thinking about the next step: fixing the bolts in the holes at the back of the tiles.
I know that it sounds simple: you glue them in, right? 
There are a few things that need to be considered. Without some sort of support the bolts will not stand straight (as you can see on the left):

Previously I had 3 bolts per tile and a simple template with 3 holes was enough to keep them where I wanted them to be. With 2 bolts per tile the situation changes as they can still topple forward:

After a few ( a good FEW) trials and errors I have settled on this template:

That will keep them in place! 
Well, that took the whole morning. I'm using recycled aluminium printing plates for making templates.Now I need to cut about 25 of them, and precisely drill the 4 holes in each one.  That will take care of the afternoon.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

the third project

The third project is very different. I am making objects that are reminiscent of Victorian European ceramic, yet decayed and malformed.
It is a great project, very different from what I normally make and I'm thoroughly enjoining it.
You would not believe how difficult it is to make malformed pots!!! I'm throwing them on a potters wheel, which doesn't take kindly to uncentered clay,  but than my instincts are to smooth, even out and perfect. Which is quite strange as I don't usually strive for those qualities. All of the sudden, with coil throwing larger vessels, I am transported right back to the student days at art school...and I have to very consciously move away from it.
The thing is, although objects are meant to be decayed and malformed, I still want them to have a beauty within them.
Here are some bisque fired surfaces:

And some drying:

And some that didn't make it:

I was going to keep it, but by the afternoon the whole top has collapsed inside the vessel.
So I went and bought a new hose for my gas bottle blow torch. I haven't used one of them for a while. It certainly speeds the drying process!!

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

In the Grain of Sand

At the moment I’m working on 3 interesting projects. 
Producing 220 tiles for the large sculpture has a nice rhythm of making, drying and firing, and I don't want to think about the next step - making the frame.
The sculpture is/will be titled: In the Grain of Sand. 
I don't really like naming the work before it is made as it could possibly restrict the growth of the idea, but in this case it was necessary.
It continues my exploration of the infinitely small, microscopic and, in this case, fragmented; and at the same time evokes ideas of complexity of the universe, individuality, fragmentation, decomposition and questions of origin. All of it in the grain of sand.

With 220 tiles in the making, the space in the studio is becoming limited
finished tiles:
It will be interesting to see how it all comes together. 

Second project is connected to the first: the Grain of Sand Studies.
I am enlarging imaginary fragments - grains of sand and exploring the shapes and textures.
I'm using terracotta, stoneware and porcelain clays as well as sand. Needless to say that those materials all behave differently and I have no idea if they will stay together through the drying and firing process. First tests have just come out of the firing and I'm happy with the results: colour of terracotta is nice dark chocolate brown, and it stayed together with the other clay. Yay.
Now I have to be very patient and allow the works to dry thoroughly before firing them. Not being familiar with terracotta, I can't just judge by the colour.
Here are a few photos of the works in progress: