As you know I was at Potfest in the Park a few weeks ago soaking up all the inspiration from such a prestige event. Despite the rain I had a great time immersing myself in all things clay, including muddy feet. I have since bought a couple of A3 sized sketchbooks which I am using to collect all my ideas for future series of work. The sketchbooks will also catalogue a library of other ceramicists, whose work inspires me. I will then have all my ideas in one place making my life a lot easier and helping me to prepare for the MA Ceramics course next year. It is not surprising that a lot of inspiration has involved texture and I was lucky enough to chat to a few of the ceramicists to find out how their pieces were created. I have a few tricks up my sleeve to try and create similar finishes so I cannot wait to try them out to see how success I will be.
This week I have been researching bricks! Interestingly I have used the clay called Askam Grog, used by our local brickworks factory, to make garden sculptures. It is great to work with, very textured but smooth at the same time if that’s possible and it works as a brilliant hand scrub. I love the raw state of the clay which is a rich black colour and upon firing turns into a light terracotta colour. As it is used in the brickmaking industry it is also very durable which is why it lends itself so well to garden sculptures. The house I am renovating was built in the 1920’s/30’s and used bricks from our local factory. Sadly, they stopped making the type of brick used in my house however they have supplied samples of the best matches they currently make. The renovation plans include a purpose-built ceramic studio which I can’t wait to be finished so that I can move in. It has been fun researching all the things I need to consider and asking local suppliers for their thoughts on what would make a good work space. There are lots of things to consider, some things which hadn’t occurred to me; ventilation, maximum electricity supply, drainage. Safe storage of all the chemicals used to make a piece of ceramic as well as health and safety are going to be very important especially with all the lifting of heavy raw materials, I’m not getting any younger!! But now that all the research is coming to an end, I can’t wait for the building work to start. I am certainly ready for the action to begin.
As well as planning my future dreams of my studio I am busy planning for future exhibitions and have many exciting opportunities coming up in the next 18 months. I am having to get a system in place so that I am clear what pieces are going into which exhibition so that I don’t double book myself. It is all new to me, not having done something like this before on such a scale so it is a big learning curve. With this planning comes a lot of paperwork. Most submission forms require similar information, but on some they are different so it is crucial that I understand what the curators are looking for. It is all a challenge but one which is so worth pursuing.