Development so far
The primary developments have been experimenting with sagers. sager are used to safely fire work in the kiln and protect it from other interference . they can also be used to keep fumes and other things produced by the firing process inside the sager effecting the ceramic work. this has lead me to develop ideas around firing work inside each other (like Russian dolls) , placing substances that will affect the ceramic work as it is fired in between each layer , so what effects the inside of one will affect the outside of another. I have done some exploratory tests of this idea, it has been difficult to predict results. This is the nature of the experimenting. The next step is making results repeatable so I can better predict the final outcome. This will be done by repeating the experiments and observing if the results are comparable. I am pleased with these developments as it fits my creative agenda.
I have been investigating a way to slab build my crucible forms that can then be turned on the wheel. This was to allow substances to be mixed into the clay without it effecting my ability to throw. Although I still feel that this was an important avenue to explore I consider the end results of the test to be substandard. keeping the forms completely round so they could be turned was problematic, this led to unwanted marks and inconsistencies while turning. Overall i will abandon this method, it actually took more time than throwing and yielded poorer quality results. Instead i will investigate press moulding as a better solution.
The peer review was positive and the follow up tutorial was positive. However both did highlight things that could be improved upon. I was advised to embrace the alchemical testing nature of my work and apply it to my sketching. My drawings were not reflecting the colours and textures that were being achieved in my practical work. In response to this I have made a set of unconventional drawing tools and have started using Ink bleach and salts within while sketching. with the intention of being able to better reflect my practical work within my sketching.
It was recommended that I apply the symbols I have been investigating in my drawing to my practical work. Of all of the symbols I want to focus on the triangle because of its symbolism in alchemy as the elemental symbol for fire. From this I have been experimenting with subtly Incorporating the triangle into the lids of the crucibles. Using thinly rolled metal and paper and gently rolling the templates into the surface to create a faint impression. There are many things to consider like size and placement , which both effect the character of a piece.
It was suggested that I give more consideration to the grouping of my work. I have been contemplating this by positioning different pieces of work together and observing how positioning and composition effect the overall impact of pieces, this was really helpful and will have an impact on my decisions in the future. This is something that up until this point I had overlooked but i now realise is one of the most important aspects to refine.
moving towards professional practice
As I move toward professionalising my practice in need to improve the outward facing side of my work. I will need promotional material and a website supported by social media so my work can reach a wider audience. I have found that presentation and communication of work is extremely important within the context that I see my work , as non functional ceramics that are on the border of design an art. From speaking with people who run galleries and work for the arts council they have all highlighted the importance of a good quality website as a platform for presenting work. I have begun researching the best way for me to set up a website and it will be ready in time for the degree show.
To professionalise my practice I need to have considerations for health safety. I need to have a better understanding of substances I use within my work and the appropriate safe handling and storage of these materials so they don’t pose a risk to myself or others. For this I have collected COSHH data forms on all substances I have been using , implementing their guidance on appropriate PPE and storage. I have also made my own sheets related to safe handling and the effects of substances in the kiln. This health and safety work is essential to ensure my work does not pose a hazard to myself are anyone in my workshop.
I do feel that my work will change after leaving university. I will be able to pursue experimentation in areas such as gathering and processing my own materials. I have been unable to bring this element I am after into my work because of the location of university.