I am moved to speak! This blog has been dormant for a bit but it occurs to me that the EU referendum debate in the UK has made everybody petrified – turned to stone. Inflexible. Afraid. I have noticed how people are more cautious to commit even on a rational level to craft courses as D-Day approaches, fueled by fear.
The ceramic process is one of transformation. We take clay, which was once stone, then we work with it and turn it back into stone, to make our lives better and more memorable. Eventually of course it returns to clay, if, that is, an archaeologist doesn’t find it first, to teach us something new about ourselves.
Culture is what nations are judged on. It is the extant objects of an age – the culture that is left when people are gone – that fascinate us enough to travel and visit other countries and that, in fact, mark them out as noteworthy. Pottery does this so well because it lasts so long. It is one of the only true constants in the history of humanity – slightly bold statement you might say, but nevertheless, one visit to the British Museum or any vibrant town museum will show you that. It works on a human level, rather than one of nationhood. This is the contribution I think it has to the referendum debate.
This is not a pitch for bums on seats for my classes, although that would give me some breathing space as a living crafts person, but it feels like the small investment that people need to make in themselves is being eroded by fear from national and international politics. Could it be that the further politics is away from people’s daily lives the better it is for them? If politics is so emotionally confrontational that we are turned to stone, then we are in trouble!
It feels that this petrification is becoming more and more acute by the day. There needs to be one step further, a push. This is the push, if we are so detached from our emotional micro-climates that we cannot navigate the referendum debate without being turned to stone, we should realise that even stone will turn to clay soon enough and begin again!
Feel free to comment 🙂
nef are a think tank that looks at economy, society and environment and looks to develop new ways of integrating economy, society and environment. The new-old word, ‘wellbeing’, has been the subject of one of their reports. The report has specifically looked at wellbeing in the workplace and is available at here but their focus is to make our working lives a fulfilling experience. Since we spend so much of our lives at work this is more important than ever! Their key points;
Improving well-being at work requires a more rounded approach that focusses on helping employees to:
- Strengthen their personal resources
- Flourish and take pride in their roles within the organisational system
- Function to the best of their abilities, both as individuals and in collaboration with their colleagues
- Have a positive overall experience of work
It’s and interesting study because attempts to measure wellbeing in a way that is relevant to us all. To what extent do you feel your your workplace encourages your own wellbeing? Let me know
“The others dealt with the subject, ’bodies’ of humans or other living beings in varied categorisations, mainly concentrating on those marginalised in our societies, which has become one of the widely held subjects of the representation in Postmodern art.”
The origin of my shape is an unguentarium: a vessel for ointment. For what purpose? The ritual object – a vessel for containing nourishing fluids and for preserving a lubricant. Wetness.
The notional lubricant – the substance that eases movement between. It is the original meaning of the unguentarium that presents me with questions. It’s function has moved from ritual utility to one of observance/contemplation; marginalised. What effect does this have on it’s ritual meaning? The lack of wetness somehow permits it to become an object of contemplation. Changed function/object again. This is not resolved and may only provoke more questions. Even more reason for it to be made. ‘culture and nature’ is next.
“William Morris (1834-1896)…pointed out that the process of making something of their own will stimulates people’s happiness. As archaeology shows, humans have been creating numerous types of art in the process of bringing out and expressing their wishes related to their well-being, to a variety of materials, thus, releasing themselves from the anxieties and insecurities they felt from their environment. One of the most frequently used was clay.”
This review of a show that focuses on terracotta in ceramic Art and Perception is really poignant for me right now. So if William Morris was ok with clay and wellbeing, who is to say it needs to be hidden away and conceptualised in a post-modern anxiety?
This takes us right back to the beginning about art and wellbeing for me. The two are so integrated for me it’s a no-brainer. It doesn’t mean there is no rigour in reflection and the endless reinvention possible with clay, a material that endures through the whole of civilisation, is foremost. To share this, how amazing!
Of course my regular visits to the British Museum lately are no coincidence to these reflections, maybe??
This is the reason for my latest hush. Revamping the website, and I am not done yet (biography and media pages will receive more information). ! But roll up roll up…the dates for my new programme of one day courses for the summer 2014 are available to book. Visit my online shop for more details, or email me if you have any questions.
I will be adding some testimonials from participants of the summer 2013 programme soon!!
The question I have really is about the relative completeness of the flower, especially on the mug. I am concerned that the flower looks too abstracted but also looks as if it is emerging from underneath the red. The red is an inglaze and the flower is a transfer that sits on top of the glaze. I also don’t know whether I like this in relation to the narrative of bringing the act of care to the surface. What do you think?
The only problem with the mug is that the flower is far too big to use whole. I could partially obscure the plate to make it similar to the mug and play with the bowl to find a similar effect.
The plate is also not conventional in that it’s centre is decorated but I don’t think I can loose the centre pattern and keep the feel of the pink strokes.
I am considering adding gold luster to this range as a simple band around the bowl and plate and down the handle of the mug.
The choice of shape is practical. As few complex curves as possible makes the application of transfers much less demanding. The choice of bone china over porcelain is personal. There could be some technical gloss put over it in terms of it’s advantages in taking on enamels and transfers, but honestly? The answer is deeply personal.
It echoes me. As close to taste as you can get in terms of sensation. It is a healing echo because it makes sense to me in it’s innate materiality. The English body, reinvented out of necessity to survive (porcelain competition from China), turns out a altogether stronger body. Good old Wedgwood. The drive forward cooked up in a recipe with intention and redefined.
This brings up all sorts of questions about being ‘made’, ‘man-made’ and to what extent we are all these things. Mine is just a really extreme example but the same questions apply to all of us in our most anxious moments. So,what you can’t answer or were never consulted about you just accept, but Wedgwood, he had a question to answer, just like I did. We both answere(d) it in our own way.
Of course the projection and echo back to me is the healing element that I hold dear and that is there for every artist who uses clay, distasteful as it may be to some of them who hide it in technical jargon. Whatever floats your boat; you can’t kid everybody all the time though. Withhold if you like. It’s a personal thing, as I said.