Thursday, 20 January 2011

Going round in circles as usual...

So, three posts in one day!   Like the buses... you wait months for one...

Anyway, I thought I'd write a little about one of two current course modules. The module is officially entitled AD210"Critical Research Study".  It is an odd module to deal with because its principal purpose is to prove that I'm able to carry out critical research and write an essay rather than to design and produce ceramic work.  I can carry out research and write essays, no problem.  As to whether I'm a good critic -- not sure!

The subject for my critical research could be of my own choosing but had to fit into one of several broad themes relating to contemporary art and culture.  I decided to look at organic architecture and design as this is something that interests me quite a lot, from both an aesthetic and a philosophical point of view. I'd like to know more about the origins of the philosophy - it's generally accepted that Frank Lloyd-Wright  came up with the term:

I do have to make a ceramic piece as well - in response to the research.  So, I've been looking at various organic forms and designs.  I've been particularly inspired by the images in Morpho-Ecologies ( - an amazing book (quite a hard read), covering the design philosophies and 'manufacturing processes' behind a collection of architectural pieces including artworks and buildings.  Many of the designs have been computer-generated and are, in themselves, quite stunning in their beauty and complexity. There is also a long section on the design processes of Antoni Gaudi, of whom I've always been a big fan.  Many of the designs in the book use the same repeating patterns/pieces to construct a larger whole;  for me this is one of the most appealing features of many of the organic - or natural - forms that I really like.

book cover

The piece I'm developing uses repeated circles:

First construction...

I see this as a prototype for a much bigger piece - one that is big enough for me to get inside of and lie down; a piece to go outside, in the sunshine, so that the light shines through it and makes me (or whatever else is inside or nearby) stripey :-) 

Harv said it's 'like when you paint your toes...'

...not that I ever do paint my toes!  But I know what he means.  It reminds me a bit of a toast rack, which isn't good.  It needs to be bigger.  BIGGER!

I'm making the piece using flattened coils and attaching these to grooves in a base, using the score and slip technique. This basically means that I'm scratching the joining surfaces to create a better 'key' between them and sticking the surfaces together using slip, which is very wet or liquid clay ( This has to be done quite carefully because I'm joining only a very small section of the circle to a very large base.  I'm having all kinds of technical difficulties with the work due to its fragility.  As advised by Jess, my tutor, I will need to construct the final piece directly on to a kiln shelf. 

I'm testing metallic pewter and gold glazes for the finish.
That's all for now.  Will report back soon on progress... 

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