Cornelia Parker is a very well known artist especially for her piece ‘Cold Dark Matter’ which explores the wonders of light and shadows. The blown up shed hanging from the ceiling in the middle of the room creates shadows which circulate the room and form an impact on the whole room and creates a powerful controlling influence on the audience. The importance of this piece was to expose how a safe place can be destroyed and secrets can be revealed.
For the ceramic project Parker’s work inspired me to create something with gaps and holes and abstract shapes which would project a range of shadows on the room walls. The shadows create a sense of mysterious and depth as the objects block the light. Our piece doesn’t have a theme but only to explore what shadows can be created and how by moving the object they can be distorted and rearranged.
After a long detailed induction, we were given 6kg of clay per group (those made yesterday) to start to experiment with the different techniques and begin to making the final piece for this field project.
As a group we decided to make triangles and join them together using the technique shown to us in order to create an incomplete form which could show creative shadows when a light is shown onto it. The clay was still a little too wet so it proved difficult for the piece to hold it shape. We used newspaper to support it and used a hair dryer to harden the edges as we continued to add to it. We worked quietly freely and randomly as a group because we weren’t sure how the piece would hold together and it give the exercise more excited because we weren’t sure how it was going to work out.
We rotated the piece on a plinth which meant the shadows changed creating a range of alternative shadows. The rotating of the plinth is more evident in the video below.
The field project continued on the theme of light and I started the second week of it in the ceramics department. We were placed into groups and asked to develop ideas by exploring the shadows of objects found in the art building and the outdoor surroundings. When thinking about what to make into a ceramic piece, this exercise proved to be quite difficult because we wanted to produce a creation using the distorted shadows created by the objects and the different intensities of lighting we used. We experimented with many different objects including works from the metal workshop in the first semester and basic materials found in the studio.
We decided to interpret the shadows in our own way and then all come together to combine our ideas and come up with a final maquette. We quickly sketched ideas to interpret into cardboard moquettes and combined them to form our final idea. The idea making meant we needed to think outside of the box and use our range of skills as a group to work through ways of developing our work.
Today was a day of idea developing and mind mapping the different ways of interpreting the shadows created by the objects we projected on projectors and using laps and mobile phone lights.
The day started with a detailed induction of a range of different techniques to cut, texturise and change the shape of the clay.
The techniques we were told:
- Kindering or stretching the clay by throwing it in a diagonal direction onto the table top. This allows the clay to stretch naturally and allows you to distort any groves and marks you may have made beforehand.
- You were able to cut groves into the clay and then insert some ball clay – dried white clay – which creates a marbling effect
- Cutting profiles to create shadows – we were recommended to start with subtle profiles and then add as you go along.
- Slip clay can be used create texture on the clay. We used white slip on the Terracotta (a red-orange clay). Before applying the white slip, you needed to make groves in the terracotta clay and then apply a thin layer of the white slip was to be brushed over the top of it.
- We were told how to make slabs of clay which was quicker to dry. The drying out of the clay means it will be stronger and easier to mould. The slightly dried clay would be able stand up freely. Today, we didn’t have enough time to dry the clay out so it wasn’t as sterdy as the piece used in the demonstration which had been cut the night before and left over night to dry out.
- Screfetto is a technique where you apply white slip over the terracotta clay and then scratch away at it to create groves and marks.
- The most important technique I was taught was a way of joining two pieces of clay together. You needed to key or score in a crosshatched manner, the sides of the clay that you want to stick together. Then you would use some watered down terracotta clay as glue on both sides to stick the clay together.
Jim Zuckerman is a photographer who explores many different themes and concept. I am particularly interesting in his landscape and animal work which capture the sunlight in the background. The colours and silhouettes in the images are fantastic and create magic in the photographs.
Zuckerman captures the light and atmosphere of the location and manages to create warm and welcoming into the work. They engage the audience and create a happy environment for the viewer and give a sense of adventure.
I am fascinated by the colours and tones during sunsets and how the clouds and landscape affect it. The colours can change so quickly and contain blues, purples, pinks and reds. The colours can determine the weather the following day which was used by sailors and shepherds before weather forecasting in the modern day.
In the natural environment light can change and alter how we see things and can distort nature. The light can be magical and warming on the soul.
I wanted to keep the work I produce natural and to explore the natural beauty which surrounds my home. I am so lucky to live in such a fantastic place and be able to indulge myself with my thoughts and express my creativity without the business of todays society. The lighting in the forest brought out a similar atmosphere that Jim Zuckerman’s work does.
I decided to experiment with sunsets as well as forestry views. The sunsets created vibrant colours and affects on the landscape and changed quickly during the same sunset within minutes. The landscape captured silhouettes and some of the features formed great detailed including the trees and farmland. These trees which stand out so well and remind me of Zuckerman’s work of the safari view and the umbrella thorn trees. I took the photos from my window on regular intervals to attempt to capture the change of lighting and affects created by the sunset.
This project allowed me to explore my surroundings and get in touch with them more. I was able to explore the affects natural lighting has on the environment and how it can affect us mindfully and allows me to get more in touch with my creativity by relaxing and letting the ideas and concepts flow naturally.
“Every child is born an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up”, Picasso.
The tunbridge wells artisans are a group of local artists, including my mum, who exhibit and sell their work in the old stables of a local pub. It is located in a beautiful old town with a large community of different talents and endeavours. The exhibition and shop provides the town with a great range of local art and crafts from a range of different fields. It doesn’t have much publicity but still has a steady flow for viewing everyday. The art ranges from textiles, jewellery, painting, wood work, ceramics and vintage furniture and therefore provides the public with much to choose from.
My mum’s work shows a fantastic range of skills and techniques she has developed over the years of her art career. The embroidery in her quilts and wall hangings creates an elegant beautiful sense to the work. The felting on the figure shows a smooth flow to them and the positioning of their body shows the flexibility and subtleness of a dancer. The colours in her work are inspired by the Ottoman Empire.
She interprets her character through her work and shows her kind welcoming colourful personality. I am so proud of her work and inspired to develop my skills and produce work as fantastic as hers.