An Identity for Ashton Meadows

All the Contrasts of Ashton Meadows made the identity of the site very explicit to me. Up until that point I had been casting natural objects found on site. However, it was clear that the site had industrial elements as well as being misused by the public. In order to capture the full identity of the site I had to return and collect a range of objects which encompassed the site holistically – this essentially meant collecting rubbish.

I now had a wealth of organic and inorganic objects which could be cast and assembled together. And some of these objects were beautiful!

Having stacked the moulds of disposed drinks cans, graffiti spray cans and packets I cast the assembled moulds. The different elements can be stacked in varied orders. This provided me the opportunity to create individual pieces from a process commonly associated with mass production.

I have become more interested by the insides of these ‘stacks’. As discussed previously, the exteriors can be very rough. In the past I have enjoyed the contrast between rough and smooth. However, I wanted to see what the interior would look like as an exterior, so after casting the stack I poured plaster into the void. The results can be seen above. Although the results here can be debated I think there is clearly an avenue to investigate further.

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Looking to a Bristol Identity

In a further attempt to investigate a further Bristol ‘locational identity’ (Kwon, 2002), I headed back to Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. What I discovered was that Bristol was a principle city in the development of Porcelain production in the UK, before Wedgwood got his hands on the patent. Cookman (the original discoverer of a UK porcelain recipe) and Champion used Bristol’s geographical attributes to produce porcelain  – equal to Chinese – and could easily ship their wares across the UK and abroad.

Some further information is outlined in these snippets from Bristol Museum and Art Gallery:

The very clear – and not well known – link between Bristol and Porcelain got me quite excited. I headed to Central Library to discover more and was fortunate to find a text (Owen, 1873) about Champion and Bristol Porcelain. The book was largely correspondence between Champion, his family and clients. However, spaced throughout the book were these fantastic etchings (above). I got very excited at this point to see that the etchings in the book were the exact examples on display at the Museum.

These discoveries, despite providing a historical context to ceramic production in Bristol also provided me with some materials and process to consider borrowing for my own work.

Reflection for action:

  • Porcelain as an important clay in Bristol
  • Industial production
  • Designs and Patterns – relief