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 🙂
Three days of intensive of drawing in order to address the theme of different ranges in the whole collection has brought up three ranges, flow, structure and support, using three colours, blue, red and green respectively
All the colours were chosen in part for their metaphysical meaning. Blue, for communication (throat chakra), red for the mulhadara – root of all support, and green for the heart, the structure of how we enter in relationship in the world.
Flow is my range; no work from the Coventry carers come into this. Blue also because it comes from Unit 10 colour uses.
Red: support. The imagery that was explained to me by the Carers was that red represented weddings. This is a material commitment between two people to support each other over a lifetime. Therefore red.
Green: structure. The carers were heavily influenced by the natural environment in their image-making. The primary imagery that came from the workshops was gardening and the sun.
This green highly stylized flower was very striking for it’s structure and seemed to represent the formality of a garden, hence it’s association with ‘structure’.
This a question that has yet to be answered. It is something that now I am considering how to present this work must be formalised in writing. The peripateticism of my approach to my work is significant. I literally, ‘go for a walk’ and see what I find. This takes quite a leap of faith but it also always serves to re-validate itself as a means of beginning a project, and in the same breathe, of demonstration of the resourcefulness and abundance that pervades the whole of life!
There are a number of things about Coventry that are of interest to me. The industrial revolution saw it as the centre of ribbon manufacturing and Alfred Herbert founded the Herbert Gallery and Museum on the wealth of his tool-making business. Historically it is the centre of transportation in the UK. The Asian population were economic migrants in the 1950s who were attracted to the automotive industry there. It is a place of transition, therefore. It was completely re-built in post-war modernist idealism and for all it’s failings (the predominance of concrete being one) the spirit of ‘PEACE AND RECONCILIATION’ that emerged from the disaster of WWII pervades the place.
Geologically it sits on the same type of bedrock as Stoke on Trent. It is also shaped like a bowl geologically. The ring road acts as a kind of safe rim to the city; you can never really get lost. Yes, the heart is a shopping centre, dominated by concrete but there is a municipal kindness and an overwhelming sense of unity in the place that sustains it. I realise from this response that I am acutely sensitive to the heart of a place and I find fragmentation very destructive. Perhaps this is the reason for my reaction to the Kings Cross development.
The Cathedral. It is full of art. Even it’s stained glass windows were a major commission for contemporary artists. It has an international reputation for unity that is lost on the national UK population and it manages a sense of intimacy in a vast space that I cannot help but contrast with the space of the new UAL building, which is itself a whole other type of cathedral!
Comparison over, the discovery of unity and strength of purpose in the place is supported by the people I found there. It touches me because they are open and honest about their work and honesty is something I value above nearly all things. As makers we hold the tools to forward motion, towards improvement and progress. Discovery of Coventry has been a very important one in the synthesis of my learning at this stage of the degree.
I need to speak to Uma about the regional density of family carers in Coventry compared to the rest of the country as it seems like a very densely packed region for carers (45 in the one group that I am working with alone). She will know where to look I am sure.
Another bloom, but more lotus like than the others already posted. It is clear that there is a heavy emphasis on banding between borders in the visual culture that I engaged with last week. This is not something that I would say is in Western visual culture, at least not any more. There are instances in the V&A tiles that I found during my research trips and in the lead up to the workshops.
The continuity of this imagery is striking and makes for highly stylised motif.
Lots of flowers! The simplicity of the flower on red belies it’s sophistication and the fact that it is depicted in a pot compares symbolically with the pink and blue blooms of the first image, that apparently emerge from the bottom right hand corner of the page.
My intention was to generate highly textured drawings and this worked because I was careful to choose appropriate papers and media for participants to use. These particular images are of oil pastels on linen paper and have a vibrancy that will transfer well to a pot.
I had no knowledge of the experience of my participants in drawing prior to the workshop and many of them had not put pen to paper since leaving school. They were full of anxiety about the blank page and had brought many photos that they wanted to reproduce. This was UNREALISTIC both in skill levels and in the time we had available. To convey that I wanted them to express their feelings about caring for others it was necessary for me to break it down to three elements, COLOUR, SHAPE, TEXTURE.
What colour is the feeling you have when you look at this photo?
What shape is the feeling you have when you look at this photo?
What texture is the feeling you have when you look at this photo?
It is clear that we were all learning! This is the mark of a successful workshop? 🙂
Of course some of them just would not or could not do it for very good personal reasons I think. They used it as an opportunity to explore new materials and ask me lots of questions about ceramics and my story! Good all round then.
A goodly selection of colours and mediums for people to use.
Surprisingly they were reticent about making use of what was provided, even trying to pay me for the materials they used. That is something I wasn’t expecting, so perhaps I should build that into the structure of workshops for future reference.
Workshop consent form
IP lawyer very helpful, dare I say it enthusiastic for the project. The Own-It service is incredibly good. I wonder if there is an equivalent for accounting purposes at the college. Must ask.
The wording was given to me for the consent form and it was all very friendly and professional.