Monday, 21 November 2011

Learning curve

We had an amazing time in Leeds this weekend. Amongst the (many) fab things we did we went to see a film about Grant Morrison. Mostly, I'm ambivalent towards Morrison, he can be amazing or I can just tire of too many ideas and not enough story. But he got me thinking. He lives and works in such a way as to live his stories, when he was writing 'The Invisibles', he behaved just like King Mob, he did scary, crazy things for his work. Drugs and Shamanism and cross-dressing and shaving his head and crazy, crazy things.

Likewise with Grayson Perry, he wants to make things with heart, that mean something. And you can't do that without involving yourself body and soul. Which is making me question whether I'm doing crazy enough things. I have tended to stick a pin in my art as soon as I leave my studio. But perhaps I should be more open to letting my life be part of my art work.

There are some artists who can make work in a very domestic way, they can make thoughtful, beautiful work and then turn the lights out and leave it. But, I don't know their names. Maybe they're the Edmund de Waal's of the world, maybe they're the Paul Cornell's, I couldn't tell you, because those artists, although loved by many, don't market their work as an extension of themselves. In many ways you can see that Morrison's and Perry's work is a form of counselling, which, in the past, my own work has been for me so maybe a more life-on (as opposed to hands-on) approach might be rewarding.

On the other hand, I'm a very domestic person. I like baking and watching Saturday night telly and going for walks with my beloved, could I ever be a crazy artiste?

The whole university experience is about discovering who you want to be, and so far I'm leaning towards design as opposed to art, but I don't truthfully feel I'll have given enough of a whack at it if I don't let the edges blur between what I'm making and what I'm doing.


Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Divine Inspiration

Most ideas that come to me don't ever really come. They're in the background and then I do some work and through the making I start to realise what I was trying to say. So last year when I was going to do some crazy parade one of the props I had to make was a ceramic baby. Easy enough, but while I was making the "baby" I decided to carve lots of details in to make the baby like Diana (Wonderwoman) which made more and more sense. One of the reasons Diana being made of mud is important is that it means she is an entirely female product, she owes nothing to any man. She is a woman without Daddy-issues.

And that's very intruiging for a young girl with abandonment issues, a woman who is unable to be abandoned. The whole idea changed to be about women without fathers, it was a wonderful project and I basically developed a whole new layer of interest and skill through doing that project. But it didn't really come from any solid idea to back it up, it made it's own idea, like a real baby.

And usually that's how it goes, but at the moment, I've been thinking. Shock horror! Because suddenly, playing with clay hasn't been the usual therapy it is and I've had to rely on more than self-analysis. So here's a massive list of images that have been helping me make some work.

Ibo bronze sculptures.

Oedipus und die Sphinx

Rossetti's Annunciation

Claire Curneen and the wonder that she is.

Abbott Handerson Thayer

Other things as well. Walking, walking past churches, the amazing Grayson Perry lecture I just went to (that desrves an entire blog all of it's own).

I have a review tomorrow, which means I should have all my work lined up for judgment, maybe I'll snap a couple of photos so you can join in with the constructive criticism.

Sunday, 13 November 2011


Last year I started making figures, and the fun I had making them was unreal. Most of the ceramicists in my year aren't all that fussed with the figure. Where the pot is like an invisible canvas that can hide and reveal as much domesticity as you like, the figure is so rooted in narrative and anatomy that it can feel passe. I love how potent the figure is, people react in a completley different way to figures than to pots.
I noticed the other day that whilst admiring someone's work I said 'Ooh, I like him!' meaning the pot. Perhaps it's my constant need to anthropomorphise things around me (I had an entire conversation with my coffee pot on Saturday morning, much in the style of Shirley Valentine) that means I love how right feeling a figure is.

And yet, some people who have transferred into the year below have started making some amazing figures, and I'll admit it, I feel sort of like they're infringing on my territory. I've been trying to make massive things, but we've not had a lot of clay and I've had to make little testers like the ones above. Yet these guys have dived in and made massive coiled figures and thrown figures and things I always fail at. I'll figure out how to do it, honest. But at the moment, I may never be able to make a life size figure, which is what I'm supposed to by the end of the year. I'm going to continue playing and toying and doing lots of other fun things. Maybe some day I'll figure out why I love the figure so much.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Living life lenslessly

Currently I don't have a camera, I'm like they're kryptonite. They break, they get lost, stolen, they start taking photos that are mostly pink. But, I have to admit, sometimes I think it's a good thing. Not now when I'm doing the bloggy thing but take last night. We won tickets to the wrestling, we had great seats, we'd smuggled tasty sweets in, Daniel wasn't feeling too hot but that seems to be the curse of the Newcastle Arena. When Mam and I went to see Eddie Izzard she was ill and last time we went to see wrestling my face mysteriously swelled up. But, point being we were set to have a good time. And we did, we saw some super moves and some great performers, lovely fun. We look out across a sea of people and what do we see?
Cameras. People snapping photos instead of cheering. Absolutely mind boggling. Same thing happened when we went to see the fireworks, I love fireworks. We were sneaking a peak at the Cleadon display and noticed a family so intent on taking pictures of each other in front of fireworks that I don't think they saw a single one.
When did this happen? When did recording being there beat actually being there? I had an amazing night both times. The cool crispy night and we had bonfire toffee (it tasted like treacle, which doesn't sound comforting, but totally was) and some breathtaking fireworks and that great smokey smell. It was great. And no, I don't have a photo to show you, but I was just as there as someone who took one.