Ceramics for a Local Culture

I try to buy my food as local as I can. This local movement has been present for several years now and it makes sense. The carbon footprint is reduced, heritage breeds of animals become viable once again (think pigs and cows) and local businesses thrive.

With this notion I started to consider where the clay I use comes from…is it local, is it even British even? Ceramic makers like Issac Button would dig and process their own clay. Clive Bowen is an English maker and still processes his own clay as demonstrated in this video.

In a way of commenting on the local movement I think it is only right to start using my local area to make work. So what was the most simplest way of making a vessel? Clay comes from the ground and when removed or dug out a hole is created, a very simple vessel. I recently cast some holes with plaster in my garden in an attempt to discover how these forms appeared as positives.

 

My well dug soil meant that the positives were littered with undercuts, making casting an impossibility, though their forms were attractive.

The hunt begins to find a suitable, local location.

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Developing the Ceramic Tablecloth

Hella Jongerius, a Dutch designer, has united ceramic tableware and tablecloths in a piece where she knitted the two together (pictured in the following video 0.48 secs or here).

 

This gives me great encouragement for combining my own tablecloth and ceramics. When clearing out my studio space I assembled my vacuumed formed cast of preexisting molds together. The results permitted an insight as to how a whole table of objects may appear.

This reminds me of Ryan Ganders work Tell My Mother not to Worry , 2012 where made his daughters den of sheets into a permanent marble sculpture (as this Google image search aptly depicts).

ryan gander

Using fabric (in place of a tablecloth/napkin) depicts how we can make assumptions about the original object even when hidden or enveloped. As the napkin remains the one common element with all aspects of dining, creating bowls, plates etc from ceramic napkins could be a potential avenue for this project.

Update: 1st June 2016

A research trip to a Cash and Carry provided the opportunity to look at a wide variety of disposable food containers. Despite rejecting the process of slip casting these containers in Making the Disposable Indisposable, I am interested in attempting to capture the form in clay somehow.

 

By slumping clay slabs over these containers, their forms could be make into ceramics. Paper or card containers would burn off in the kiln, removing the necessity to remove the container before firing. This has been problematic in the past and several of my forms have lost their shape. The other issue is that the clay form may sag once the paper formed has burned away, distorting the shape further. However, this is process worthy of attempting.