Friday, 27 November 2015

222 Grips for a Stone - Metamorphosis (40-47)

"stone is the only thing in nature that constantly dies" - Frances Ponge  
The solidity, reliability and impassiveness of stone is constant, yet it is continually changing, although at a greatly reduced rate compared with human life. Despite its solidity, it is worn down by atmospheric agents such as air and water, reducing large pieces of stones into pebbles, and then finally into fine particles of sand. 

#40 of 222 Grips for a Stone
Before firing

#41 of 222 Grips for a Stone
After firing
Because of this Ponge believes that stone is the only thing in nature that constantly dies (73). He then considers all forms of stone (rock, pebble, sand), all represent some stage of its evolution, exist simultaneously in the world. He relates this notion of connectedness as paradise, where all conception exists (74). 

#42 of 222 Grips for a Stone
Before firing 

#45 of 222 Grips for a Stone
After firing 

Stone is continually changing form, yet at the same time it remains true to its original composition of minerals. In some senses you could say that stone is an illusory force in nature, having the ability to continually morph itself over time. Once it is ground down into smaller particles it has the potential to be transformed into larger stones again through sedimentary processes, or melted under extreme heat in the form of lava.

#46 of 222 Grips for a StoneBefore firing  
#47 of 222 Grips for a Stone
After firing
Because of the vast difference in materiality between the unfired and the fired clay pieces, after much discussion and consideration I have started counting the before fire and after fire as different pieces in my exploration of 222 grips for a stone. 

Interestingly, the copper wire, which contains or grips the clay before being fired, acts as another grip after firing, as the melted copper sticks the ceramics together.

Ponge, F. The Voice of Things. Herder and Herder. United States 1974.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

The Thing Is - MFA Group Exhibition

NSCAD's Master of Fine Arts students are holding their annual group exhibition titled The Thing Is at the Anna Leonowens Gallery, November 17 – 28, 2015, with a public opening reception on Monday November 16 from 5:30 to 7pm.

the thing is invitation designed by Emily and Carly

This year, the group of sixteen MFA students will present work in a range of media from textiles, jewellery, ceramics, sculpture, and painting to photography and digital work. This group comprises nationalities spanning Australia, China, Estonia, Japan, and Canada, including four Nova Scotian artists.

They bring with them a variety of inspirations and ways of working, influenced both by the locality of NSCAD in Halifax and by their mother cultures. Representing a diverse range of themes, which include social engagement and working across disciplines in art and craft, the exhibition 'The Thing is' promises to be one that will engage the senses and the mind.

The Thing Is
Exhibition view looking through the window from Granville Mall

My work in the show continues to explore the concept '222 Grips for a Stone'. I have set parameters within the exploration, limiting my materials to found objects, wire and glass.

Presence of Absence Series

Whilst exploring the materiality of the objects I have also been contemplating themes that continue to surface in my work, including travel and movement, place, loss and regeneration.

Found clay object
shino glaze, wrapped with copper wire and steel handle
#36 of 222 Grips for a Stone 

The clay object (found in the clay recycling room) represents a sped up version of the natural geological occurrences in nature. It contains a sense of place, and is energised by fire and sensitised by touch.

Found clay object,
wrapped with steel wire, melted copper and glass
#37 of 222 Grips for a Stone

 Human occupation is a layering process on the landscape. The wire alludes to the impact of white settlement: roads, mapping and fences. At the same time it is reminiscent of women work, knitting and embroidery which uses line to create their own surfaces.

"The thread, or line transforms into traces, and surfaces are brought into being. At the same time the transformation of traces into threads also dissolves the surface" ~ Tim Ingold

Wire protects the stone, inhabiting the liminal space at the boundary of the object. It holds the stone together, but at the same time things are slipping through its grasp.

Found clay, railroad spike, glaze, steel wire
#38 of 222 Grips for a Stone

Glass has a materiality that under heat, or through time it will liquify which enables it to slip through the grasp of the wire. But at the same time it begins to also grasp the wire. Which embodies a continuous state of being.

Found clay object
nail and chain
#39 of 222 Grips for a Stone

The found objects have material, political and cultural resonances. 

The Presence of Absence, aligns with an extensive tradition of assemblage art that continues through to the work of Louise Bourgeois.

“To Bourgeois, assemblage is an act of ‘restoring…and rebuilding…it is a coming to terms with things…a work of love’ (it is a) a peaceful existence, not like carving, which she sees as an ‘attack on things' (Bernadac & Obrist 1998p.142-143)”

For more information on the exhibition, visit the NSCAD MFA blog

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Prints Charming at NSDCC

I am teaching an introduction to screen printing class at the Nova Scotia Centre for Craft and Design

In the first weeks we explore the quality of line using a paper cut stencil as a resist for the screen. 

Paper cut stencil by Jennifer
And we explored the effects created when mixing colour whilst printing through the screen. 

Jennifer's paper cut stencil printing with two tones in using one screen.

Melissa experimenting with the positive and negative shapes cut from her stencil
The printed effect of using both the positive and negative cut out of the stencil

Anne working through her design.
The solid colour of the cutting board helps envision the final print.
Anne printing her design

Bethany's circular design stencil

Bethany's circular design printed using a combination of yellow and green ink.

As always, the results are incredibly exciting!

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Earthenware Glaze Tests (low fire)

I have been experimenting with different low fire glazes. These glazes are for earthenware with a low firing temperature to cone 04. (1060 degrees Centigrade, or 1940 Fahrenheight)

This is partly because I have been working with found objects from the clay recycling room and these  shapes are usually made from earthenware, the clay utilised by the Introduction to Ceramics students in the studio.

I am interested in both glazes that run or form a drip, and surface texture. 

thickly applied Majolica (left) & Willing White (right) 

My first experiments were with thickly applied majolica and willing white. The test pieces were dipped 6 times and the glaze was about 1/2 centimetre thick. Whilst interesting, the results weren't quite what I was looking for.

Vardis blue over Power Black (left)
Power Black over Vardis blue (right)
Next, I experimented with double dipping of glazes, combining gloss finishes (such as power black) with textured finishes (Vardis blue).

Turquoise and Power black

It was also interesting to see how different glazes responded to being dipped first or second. Depending on this the resulting texture changed.

copper wire (left) steel wire (right)
with Vardis Blue

I then became interested in experimenting with layering different glazes combined with wrapping either copper or steel wire. 

Turquoise and Power black over steel (left)
Turquoise and Power black over copper (right)

Copper wire on bare earthenware (left)
Vardis Blue over steel (right)


Roxie Power Black - Cone 04

Frit 3134          25%
Frit 3195          15%
Frit 3249          35%
EPK                 25%
BIO                  8%
Mang. Diox     8%

Turquoise - Cone 04

Gherstly Borate  35%
Neph Sye            5%
EPK                    5%
Flint                  42%
Lithium Carb      8%
Super Copax       8%
Copper Carb       3%

Vardis Blue - Cone 04

Neph Sye          20%
EPK                  20%
Flint                  11%
Lithium Carb      5%
Barium Carb     43%
Copper Carb       7%

Willing White

Gerstley Borate   35%
Lithium Carb        8%
Neph Sye              5%
EPK                      5%
Flint                    42%
Zircopax              10%

Linda Arbuckle Maolica

Flint 3124          57.16%
EPK                     9.4%
Kona F4             14.9%
Bentonite             1.2%
Super Pax           13%
Neph Sye            5.42%
Rutile                 0.25%


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