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Spoon_2

October 27th, 2016

Finished spoon. There is an untouched surface at either end – handle and bowl – so it is exactly the length of the parent log.

Whittling pine

October 1st, 2016

A piece of pine, from the woodpile of Jackie and Peter Hardaker

field

October 1st, 2016

Hemmick

October 1st, 2016

Cornwall, August 16. Hemmick beach, where I learned about swash, backwash and fetch…

Raleigh in Corfu

August 9th, 2016

Reading Sons and Lovers in Acharavi, Corfu – struck by the descriptions of Nottinghamshire miners’ lives – tough, poorly paid and central to the industrial power of GB. With all that flowed from that. Visit the Folk Museum – full of pre-industrial tools and machinery, mostly to do with the production of food/drink. Then this glorious Raleigh bike. Raleigh founded in Nottingham in 1888, three years after Lawrence’s birth…

PO Enquist wandering technique

August 9th, 2016

Per Olov Enquist, interviewed by Andrew Brown
Guardian Review (30.07.16), p.11

He describes his wandering technique of writing as being like entering a forest. “For the first month you don’t know where the paths go, but after three months you realise that you can’t get lost. That’s the feeling: that the forest has many alternatives, but you can’t take the wrong path.”

I read this as a slightly more lyrical version of my own – ‘I can’t fuck it up’ – an acceptance of, a confidence in, process.

Nabokov’s care for things

August 9th, 2016

What there is, eloquently if scarcely, is a series of adumbrations of Nabokov’s care for neglected things, people and places. Like a half-built house that creates the impression of a ruin, abandoned by the life that has not yet arrived; or ‘a marvellous sunset, addressed to God knows who and by and large utterly lost’; or ‘the material melancholy’ of the custom house in Dunkirk; or ‘the gaiety of the shadows’ in South Carolina. He even has a theory about such care, developed in relation to his poem ‘The Room’, which started out as a story. The story is about, among other things, ‘how we unfairly insult things with our inattentiveness, about how touching are the moulded ceiling ornaments, which we never look at, which we never notice’.

Michael Wood, ‘Dear Poochums’, review of Letters to Véra by Vladimir Nabokov, edited and translated by Olga Voronina and Brian Boyd.

London Review of Books Vol. 36 No. 20 (23 October 2014), p. 8

artists and clay

May 14th, 2016

As with many of the British-based artists bringing ceramic into their sculptural practice, Achaintre undertook a residency at Troy Town Art Pottery, a “radical and psychedelic” ceramic workshop in east London founded by Aaron Angell at the start of 2014.

Achaintre had previously worked with clay at evening classes and community centres, but Troy Town was “the first time I was surrounded by artists working with clay, some of them for the first time. It was fascinating to see how they translated their work into clay. They were never told what to do and therefore found entirely their own way.”

While Troy Town is open for community use, there is a prohibition on the production of functional objects. Angell demurs that running an open workshop is the only way for him to sustain a ceramic studio in London, but there is also a sense of redress at play.

For artists wanting to work in art school ceramics studios or use community pottery facilities “there’s so much resistance internally from those departments, to artists ‘misusing’ the equipment or not understanding the fundamentals,” says Angell, who, as a non-potter, found it hard to find studios in which he was allowed to experiment.

Nestled upstairs in a studio arts centre in Hackney, Troy Town has hosted 62 artist residencies over the past two years as well as community workshops, and it is to move into larger premises in April…

With all the clay-centric buzz, it’s a bit of a surprise when he starts to talk knowledgably about a programme of 15th-century secular organ music that he’s putting together for Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Museum. It’s a timely reminder that for all the work he’s done in enabling ceramic art, [Aaron] Angell’s own practice stretches well beyond clay: “Material is just a means to an end.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/features/the-great-ceramics-revival-how-clay-is-oozing-back-into-contemporary-art-a6925961.html [accessed 22.04.16]

Whew, that’s OK then – he’s a proper artist. Sarcasm aside, I’m all for artists misusing equipment, or making without ceramics training – knowledge and skills can get in the way. But I couldn’t disagree more with the idea that “material is just a means to an end.” For me, it’s an art world cliché. Material is not some sort of inert, neutral matter, waiting for a human subject to come along and imbue it with meaning. Try Benjamin Buchloh’s essay, ‘Michael Asher and the Conclusion of Modernist Sculpture’ for starters.

Frome green downy hair

May 14th, 2016

The river has a fat, soft face for the smack of oars, a neck with many wrinkles, a blue skin with green downy hair. Between its arms, pressed to its heart, it holds the little Island shaped like a chrysalis. The meadow in its green gown is asleep, its head in the hollow of its shoulder and neck.

Alfred Jarry, from ‘Clinamen’, Exploits and Opinions of Doctor Faustroll, Pataphysician

Final cup

May 11th, 2015

I wrote a short catalogue text recently for The Sensorial Object. One of the artists in the exhibition was Funda Susamoglu, whom I was lucky enough to have as a student on the MA Ceramics course in Cardiff, between 2008 and 09. Her work is wonderful.

Funda lives and works in Ankara and, having given up on contacting David Abram, I thought she might be able to get me a direct contact for Nuri Bilge Ceylan – the last ‘Turkish’ cup was still ungifted. Turns out Funda did have a contact at the gallery where Nuri had an exhibition of photographs.

Having applied for a lecturing job, I’d been thinking about teaching a lot – about the creative to and fro between tutor and student. It’s never, of course, a one-way relationship and I know I learned as much from Funda as she from me. So, despite having drafted my letter to NBC, I decided to change course and give the cup to Funda instead. The world was telling me to do it and I’d have been foolish not to listen, as the response makes clear:

The Turkish cup is beautiful! I loved it! dowdy pretty and heavy, the two pinch on the handles makes it so nice to hold.