Baby

I have just finished a new work for the RWA Academician Candidate’s Exhibition which takes place alongside the Annual Open Exhibition this year from 29 Sept - 1 Dec 2019.

It’s exciting to be selected as a candidate this year, and after a long period of experimentation and development during the late Spring and Summer, I have completed a new ceramic work inspired by my first trip to Japan in 2017.

Baby (100 x 150 x 20 cm) is a ceramic wall hanging made of composite clay forms. It is a development of the style used for the Alan Turing project (hand rolled clay technique), but with a new, more three dimensional structure.

As with the Turing pieces, I was conscious of the ‘anatomy’ of the work, and the growing sense of the object as a body. I like the figurative nature of these pieces, even if it is only apparent to me in the making of it.

Baby is essentially about my experience of returning from Japan, and explores the idea of re-birth.

Fallible

The spring and early summer have been taken up with methods of unconscious-building. I am exploring a form of sensory, naive architecture based on emotional rather than functional designs. This is a development of the concept of wabi-sabi the Japanese aesthetic that influences my work. But I am also interested in the idea of human fallibility at the heart of a structure - its signature design. A recognition that the permanent must eventually shift and change.

This has been an intense phase of exploration and discovery, working through multiple ideas concurrently.

I am using ceramic composites with clay sketches and remnants, combining these with acquired mixed media such as wood, wire and string.

I am also continuing to explore objects, in particular, the Shamisen (Japanese guitar) under the working title of ‘Geisha Mix’.

Japan 2020

I am very excited to announce the confirmation of a three month residency in Shigaraki (SCCP) next year.

After two very successful one month residencies at SCCP I will be returning for a longer period from 1st February - 30 April 2020.

Although the three months will go very quickly, in practical terms, it will allow me more time to embed myself in the setting of Shigaraki, offering the potential to make site specific work.

I will be considering the options over the coming months, especially the possibility of attempting another wood firing which formed an important part of my exhibition last October.

There is also the chance that other projects will emerge in the preceding months, so I am excited about keeping a very open brief at this stage.

My return to Shigaraki for a third year signals a growing connection to Japan and Japanese culture ( I am reading about IKIGAI at the moment), but also a major development in my practice. The facilities and working environment at SCCP are world class, helping me to push the boundaries of both the conceptual and technical aspects of my work.

Thank you to everyone at SCCP for your continued support and hospitality. I look forward to seeing you again next year!

またね!

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Works in progress - Part 2

Emotional Architecture

I am in the early stages of working on a new sculpture which I hope will challenge me on a technical front, but also help me to explore my recent experiences in Japan.

The inspiration comes from one of the rare occasions when I was able to take a break from my project at Shigaraki, to visit a traditional Japanese house.

As always in Japan, I am drawn to the extraordinary use of natural materials, and the attention paid to balancing functionality, spirit and form.

This particular house, with its deep, low thatched roof, had much in common with medieval houses in Britain, and inside there was a curious sense of familiarity.

There is something very human about these dark spaces: often the inner framework is visible and feels skeletal, appearing to both support and embrace the interior.

I also like the way these structures initially appear static and solid, but later, as we imagine the movements of their previous inhabitants, start to become fluid.

I was reminded of Ronald Blythe writing about the history of his Essex farmhouse:

'Who came here? Who helped here? Whose hands raised the new beams, and the old beams from the dust'.

These were once private spaces, so crossing the threshold always feels charged, and somehow in Japan, it felt like is a sacred act.

Being allowed to go upstairs, beyond the rope, and see the autumnal landscape framed in one of the bedrooms suddenly brought vivid light and colour into the space.

It was another moment when Japan illuminated itself. I saw briefly into its soul, and less clearly, but just as powerfully, into my own.

Ronald Blythe, At the Yeoman’s House (Enitharmon Press), 2011

Early sketch using pine wood and stoneware fragments.

Early sketch using pine wood and stoneware fragments.

Moving into the studio.

Moving into the studio.

Considering colour.

Considering colour.

The house, set in the pine forests of Shiga Prefecture.

The house, set in the pine forests of Shiga Prefecture.

Spirit and Form.

Spirit and Form.

Works in progress - Part 1

Beatrice Mariagraete

After encountering the painting by Josef Eberz of dancer Beatrice Mariagraete in the current ‘Magic Realism’ exhibition at Tate Modern, I was inspired to find out more about her.

Initial online searching revealed very little - which definitely piqued my interest! - so I decided to follow up the few pieces of information I could find.

It is still early days, but it seems possible that Beatrice was Austrian not Swedish, and was born in Paris in 1903.

Her early life certainly appears to be complex, involving much travel throughout an increasingly volatile pre-war Europe. The name Mariagraete is also intriguing, as she later went by the surname Reichert.

The Mariagraete / Reichert family was both artistic and musical and Beatrice often performed with or alongside her sister Primavera.

I am waiting to hear back from archives in Sweden, France, Austria and Germany and hope to have an initial biography soon.

Thanks so far to the wonderful Marianne Seid at the archive of the Musikverket in Stockholm (images below) and an amazing selection of sources to follow up from François-Pierre Goy in the Département de la Musique at the Bibliothèque nationale de France.

This project is reminding me of a similar research journey I undertook when I discovered a medieval drawing of a cat on a postcard at Fontevraud Abbey in France, which ended up taking me to the Bodleian Library in Oxford!

With European identity at the forefront of many people’s minds in the U.K. at the moment, I wonder where the story of Beatrice Mariagraete / Reichert will lead me?

The Mariagraete Sisters. An Austrian press cutting from 1921 (Reference: Press cuttings, Dance, The Music and Theatre Library of Sweden).

The Mariagraete Sisters. An Austrian press cutting from 1921 (Reference: Press cuttings, Dance, The Music and Theatre Library of Sweden).

Beatrice (left) and her sister Primavera from a Swedish dance programme in 1919. ( Reference: Press cuttings, Dance, The Music and Theatre Library of Sweden).

Beatrice (left) and her sister Primavera from a Swedish dance programme in 1919. ( Reference: Press cuttings, Dance, The Music and Theatre Library of Sweden).

Time again

Music inspired by recent trip to Tate Modern’s Magic Realism: Art in Weimar Germany 1919 - 33. Until July 2019.

This painting made an impression.

Dancer - Beatrice Mariagraete / Tänzerin - Beatrice Mariagraete

1923

Oil on Canvas

Josef Eberz

158 × 78.5 cm 

The George Economou Collection.

Music: Amanda Chambers, January 2019.

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Aftermath

First music emerging in response to my recent experience in Japan.

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I am not here

A branch of Weeping Willow

I am grateful to the graceful Weeping Willow (Yanagi 柳) that stands next to the pond in Hanover Garden, Hiroshima.

It was a hot day on the 2 October, but it was cool under this tree. I remember the sharpness of the sun on my skin and the darkness of the foliage. Many of the fallen leaves and branches were floating on the water, and as we stood and looked, we rescued one branch for me to take to Shigaraki.

I had several motifs in my head that I knew I wanted to try and use in the final pieces.

One was the target, marking out the epicentre of the bomb - a recurring image in the military documentation at the time.

Later, someone remarked that the rings looked like tree rings - and I loved that idea - the way that work often goes beyond the maker’s intention, but is somehow still relevant.

Several challenges lay ahead for me. One, was making sure any ‘drawing’ that might emerge from firing natural material onto clay, would be visible.

The darkness occurring in the clay during wood firing would make this interesting, so I was keen to have several examples of how marks could be made.

I made the decision to fire some pieces in an electric kiln at Shigaraki, as it was the closest I could come to my own experiments in the U.K. These would complement the pieces from the Ittekoi wood kiln, which were more subtle and unpredictable.

The Yanagi survived the firing, and came through the ordeal to be positioned in the centre of the gallery for the exhibition.

It is now in the collection at Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park.

Recurring motifs - Hiroshima, before and after. (Photo US National Archives).

Recurring motifs - Hiroshima, before and after. (Photo US National Archives).

Final piece (detail) - installation in the gallery

Final piece (detail) - installation in the gallery

The light in the Shigaraki Gallery, reminded me of my morning in Hiroshima. Detail with the Ittekoi ‘Kiln God’.

The light in the Shigaraki Gallery, reminded me of my morning in Hiroshima. Detail with the Ittekoi ‘Kiln God’.

Branch of Weeping Willow from  Hibaku-Jumoku  tree by Hanover Garden, Hiroshima. 55 x 24 cm Electric kiln fired on Shigaraki clay. 2018.

Branch of Weeping Willow from Hibaku-Jumoku tree by Hanover Garden, Hiroshima. 55 x 24 cm
Electric kiln fired on Shigaraki clay. 2018.

Yabu Tsubaki 椿

One of the central pieces of the recent exhibition at Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park was made from Camelia seeds (Yabu Tsubaki 椿).

The seeds were hand-picked on Sunday 23rd September 2018 by Prof Nassrine Azimi and volunteers from Green Legacy Hiroshima who donated them to my project when I arrived on the 1st October.

Of course I didn’t know how these seeds would respond to the firing, or what kind of effect they would leave. It was one of the best aspects of this project, having an element of chance running alongside the more formal testing of clay bodies and firing techniques.

I’ll never forget as I drew back the kiln lid, the likeness the seeds had made, to the symbol for radiation.

The final work is titled: ‘For Every Bomb, There’s a Bloom’ 2018, 19 x 19 cm.

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I am not here

I have arrived back in the U.K. after an incredible experience in Japan.

I had planned ideally to deliver this project over a two month period, but thanks to the support of so many people, I was able to achieve it in the one month I was able to spend in Japan.

That said, the first three weeks were so intense, with schedules beginning very early and often ending late, that I was often conscious of floating through time.

My first stop at Hiroshima was an unforgettable way to begin. It was still very warm in Japan, so I was aware of the type of summer that might have occurred in 1945. This was very important to me.

The ring of the mountains surrounding Hiroshima are also very moving when you see them. They are so prominent in the archival images taken after the destruction when the city was obliterated - with nature left standing.

Meeting Nassrine Azimi and Kenta Matsuoka from Green Legacy Hiroshima and receiving donated leaves from the surviving trees was so emotional - I couldn’t have wished for a better introduction to the project.

It was then quickly on to Shigaraki.

The wonderful thing about Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park, especially now I know it better, is that everything is organised quietly toward helping you achieve your aims. Thank you Sugiyama San, Matsunami San, Yuki, Yoshiko and Akira for everything.

It felt a very appropriate place to come and make work about the natural world, and in between making, I was able to gather inspiration and materials from the local countryside.

I will never forget those quiet moments of solitude cycling into the mountains to find a renewal of energy and focus, sometimes just finding a space to sit and breathe.

The forest became a special place for me.

I was also able to enter the rhythm of local life: meeting people walking their dogs at the end of the day, seeing them visiting shrines, tending their vegetable and rice fields.

Of course, when I’m here I enjoy the huge privilege of seeing my friends again and on this occasion it was on a much deeper level. A major highlight toward the end of my trip was being taken to the shrine city of Ise Jingū in Mie prefecture. This place has such significance nationally for Japan, so I felt honoured to give thanks in a very traditional way. Erika, Yo-Ko and Ishihama San - thank you!

There were so many other moments, which are too numerous to mention, as well of endless gifts of kindness, that I will treasure.

The Ittekoi wood firing was a major moment, not simply for me, but as a communal event in which so many people voluntarily contributed.

What is it about the wood fire that draws people? It felt elemental. Everything I hoped it would be - and perhaps more.

I should say a special word about my fellow artists, who were, of course, unknown to me at the beginning, but who proved to be amazing companions. How lucky to come at a busy time to the studios and meet such positive and talented people. The endless hospitality and willingness to include me was appreciated so much - I am in your debt: Vanessa, Virginia, Man, Barbara, Nate, Matt, Antonio, Clark, Sayuri, Kaho, Sita, Wen Hsi, Martin, Jennifer and Kim.

The final exhibition was an exciting moment. Quickly appraising the works I had made (over 200 pieces), and selecting a small handful. Thank you to everyone who helped make the Preview event a success, and to those who came and gave me feedback during the week.

I am very happy that one of the main pieces in the exhibition has been donated to the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park Collection. A piece of me, the Hiroshima trees and the memory of the trip are bound up in this work - I am so grateful it resides in Japan.

It was with some trepidation that I returned to Japan. My 2017 experience changed my life, so I was nervous returning might dilute or alter this experience.

I now know that Shigaraki is a place I will hopefully always return to - a piece of me is there.

I have not quite returned yet.

どうもありがとうございました

また会うまで !

Using a home made camera obscura to connect with Hiroshima - 1 October 2018

Using a home made camera obscura to connect with Hiroshima - 1 October 2018

Hibaku-Jumoku  Yanagi  (Willow) - a fallen branch was collected from this pond and later fired on clay - the piece is now in the collection of Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park.

Hibaku-Jumoku Yanagi (Willow) - a fallen branch was collected from this pond and later fired on clay - the piece is now in the collection of Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park.

Shigaraki - my first evening walking back from the wood kilns to the studio - happy to be back!

Shigaraki - my first evening walking back from the wood kilns to the studio - happy to be back!

How would these materials speak to me? - a period of testing and research begins…

How would these materials speak to me? - a period of testing and research begins…

The mountains ….

The mountains ….

The forest ….

The forest ….

The shrines … connecting to Japan at a much deeper level.

The shrines … connecting to Japan at a much deeper level.

Wonderful moment - when  Yabu Tsubaki  buds (Camelia) revealed themselves from the electric kiln in ash form - how could I know they would resemble radiation symbols?

Wonderful moment - when Yabu Tsubaki buds (Camelia) revealed themselves from the electric kiln in ash form - how could I know they would resemble radiation symbols?

絵里香 ‘gift of flowers’

絵里香 ‘gift of flowers’

Loading the furnace - so much to learn …

Loading the furnace - so much to learn …

The Ittekoi firing - so many memories and perhaps the only way to enjoy sweet potatoes!

The Ittekoi firing - so many memories and perhaps the only way to enjoy sweet potatoes!

Wood kiln sculpture in the sun outside the studio - with  Yabu Tsubaki  (Camelia)   ash motif.

Wood kiln sculpture in the sun outside the studio - with Yabu Tsubaki (Camelia) ash motif.

Light relief! - pounding drums with the local Shigaraki drumming group :-)

Light relief! - pounding drums with the local Shigaraki drumming group :-)

Fellow artists - great company, great food!

Fellow artists - great company, great food!

Exhibition set up and ready for guests.

Exhibition set up and ready for guests.

Preview - 23 October, 2018.

Preview - 23 October, 2018.

Free Day - At Ise Jingū - precious memories.

Free Day - At Ise Jingū - precious memories.

My final night - made happy by Halloween!

My final night - made happy by Halloween!

Departing … made a little easier in Kawai Kanjiro’s Museum in Kyoto.

Departing … made a little easier in Kawai Kanjiro’s Museum in Kyoto.

An auspicious end? … Mount Fuji emerging above the clouds as I fly away from Japan. My first ever sight of Fuji San.

An auspicious end? … Mount Fuji emerging above the clouds as I fly away from Japan. My first ever sight of Fuji San.

Osaka to Bristol all in one day! - until next time …. またね

Osaka to Bristol all in one day! - until next time …. またね

Computing

Today was spent mostly on the computer, documenting my works and measuring in the space. I was also thinking quite hard about how to spend my few remaining days in Shigaraki...

The gallery is open each day at 10am so I had a little time to get some fresh air beforehand.

I decided to find my way to Mt Hando San where I’d been last year. It was odd retracing my steps but wonderful to be on the mountain again with no-one around except some interesting wildlife!

I had a visit in the gallery from one of the drumming group- Sashiko- so nice she made a special effort to come. 

Virginia and I visited Yoko San’s exhibition at the end of the day. So amazing to see her painting. I hope she continues to build on this success.

Finally, a huge effort was made on the food front for another delicious shared meal. Perfect way to end the day - thank you! 

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Full Moon!

Let the howling commence! 

My exhibition ‘Hibaku-Jumoku - in search of Hiroshima’s ‘Survivor Trees’ was launched yesterday at the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park. 

The event was really lovely, made special by the attendance of my fellow artists, who I was able to thank. I was also grateful so many staff who have helped me at SCCP were also able to come, including Yuki, Matsunami San and Yoshiko. Special friends Yoko and Erika made my day, with beautiful flowers and cake from Erika. Her bamboo also appears in the exhibition - so lucky.

Tomoko Konno from last year’s residency also came which was a wonderful surprise as she is here in Shigaraki for a short while. 

Sugiyama San, Chief of the Residency, was present and returned after the first visit for a second look around. I’m very honoured! 

I’m pleased with the space and Yuki helped me set up pretty much on the day itself.

A special shout goes out to Nate who provided a wonderful vessel for the flowers! 

I also wanted to mention that Martin, Wen Hsi and Barbara all contributed to the making of my small teapots - clay and under glaze powder respectively! 

I have taken some pictures of the works today but will no doubt take more. 

One week to go... ouch!

A few words... 

A few words... 

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Meeting with Tomoko again - so special. 

Meeting with Tomoko again - so special. 

Michael Jackson aka Yo-ko! 

Michael Jackson aka Yo-ko! 

Virginia - great talent and company.

Virginia - great talent and company.

Erika San - a star. 

Erika San - a star. 

With Sugiyama San. 

With Sugiyama San. 

Vanessa - so many gifts. 

Vanessa - so many gifts. 

Barbara - I’ll never forget the Ittekoi noodles! 

Barbara - I’ll never forget the Ittekoi noodles! 

With Man Yau - a super dude. 

With Man Yau - a super dude. 

Nate - top shelf Lawson! 

Nate - top shelf Lawson! 

Clark enjoying the detail.

Clark enjoying the detail.

Thank you! 

Thank you! 

Mikazuki special. 

Mikazuki special. 

Looking

Another long day starting at 7am unloading and tidying the kiln. I’m happy to say the firing was a success with all pieces surviving the trial by fire. 

The drawings from the natural fibres are much more subtle than the electric kiln and the Shigaraki style clay has really revealed itself. 

The kiln is now empty and I have left the wonderful hillside space with a sense of regret and anticipation for the selection process.

More detail will come once exhibition is launched on Tuesday.  

At the end of the day I managed a bike ride despite weariness. 

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Burning up - wood firing Part 2

Yesterday was a marathon wood firing effort.

I can’t begin to claim the credit, as I was helped by so many people completely voluntarily. 

The day passed in a haze of hot sunshine, increasingly hot wood, and endless gifts of food, drink, homemade produce, stoking time and good humour. When advice was imparted, it was very subtle and I noticed how people were drawn to the firing out of true enjoyment and a desire to participate. 

Akira San helped so much, to guide me at the beginning with a schedule and during the day; and the ever serene Matsunami San checked in on me occasionally and exuded his calm presence.

One particular highlight were the sweet potatoes from Erika San’s garden which roasted away infront of the kiln. She also spent some time stoking too after work.

Two major events occurred during the firing from a technical point of view. The first was around 600 degrees when huge plumes of black, acrid smoke billowed from the side of the kiln. I made a quick phone call to the office, swiftly followed by Yuki San arriving to re-assure me it was normal!

This took the firing back a bit and I struggled to get up to 800. Eventually making it with a little prayer to the patient Kiln God I’d made earlier, and prompted by fellow artist Wen Hsi who dropped by.

Both Antonio and Sita came and got stuck in with two very helpful sessions - Sita getting the kiln to 1200 at which point I was able to maintain the heat solo handed for 3 more hours. 

Barbara brought a delicious bowl of udon soup with Inari tofu up to keep me going and provided much appreciated help. 

Both Nate and Matt sat with me as it got late and we had a good chat about politics! 

The session ended with frozen edamame from Jennifer Lee, and finally, a celebration beer and the very chilled out and calming presence of new arrival to SCCP, Man Yau from Helsinki.

All I can say is thank you, because apart from the obvious enjoyment and challenge of my first wood firing, it was the people (and Japanese luck) that made it.

 

Akira San made the first flame. 

Akira San made the first flame. 

My little Kiln God loosely based on Kitsune the fox that guards the Shinto Shrines in Japan. The kiln was also sprinkled with sake for additional good luck and thanks. 

My little Kiln God loosely based on Kitsune the fox that guards the Shinto Shrines in Japan. The kiln was also sprinkled with sake for additional good luck and thanks. 

Starting to gradually build up the heat. 60 degrees per hour until around 250.

Starting to gradually build up the heat. 60 degrees per hour until around 250.

Surrounded by the forest as I worked. Late summer cicadas still calling, occasional crow calls, and a black kite emerged from time to time. 

Surrounded by the forest as I worked. Late summer cicadas still calling, occasional crow calls, and a black kite emerged from time to time. 

First visitors to the kiln. Barbara is here for a 6 month residency, so it’s nice to see someone enjoying the life at Shigaraki with so much potential ahead. 

First visitors to the kiln. Barbara is here for a 6 month residency, so it’s nice to see someone enjoying the life at Shigaraki with so much potential ahead. 

Antonio made a brilliant contribution to the day, coming in after my challenging moment around 800 degrees. 

Antonio made a brilliant contribution to the day, coming in after my challenging moment around 800 degrees. 

Sweet potatoes from Erika’s garden - they were perfect by 5pm. 

Sweet potatoes from Erika’s garden - they were perfect by 5pm. 

Erika and Ishihama San stoking during their lunch break!

Erika and Ishihama San stoking during their lunch break!

More stoking from Erika after work - great company. 

More stoking from Erika after work - great company. 

Holding temperature reached around 7pm. 

Holding temperature reached around 7pm. 

Thanks to incredible effort by Sita. Everyone who stoked had slightly different approaches, but the result was always in the right direction. 

Thanks to incredible effort by Sita. Everyone who stoked had slightly different approaches, but the result was always in the right direction. 

Man Lau from Helsinki witnessed the final push to 1240 after 3 hours of holding temperature. And so to bed!! 

Man Lau from Helsinki witnessed the final push to 1240 after 3 hours of holding temperature. And so to bed!! 

Loaded - Wood Firing Part 1.

It’s hard to imagine loading a kiln for a whole day but that sums up my day today! 

 

Breakfast in the studio around 7.30am.

Breakfast in the studio around 7.30am.

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Seven round trips up the mountain hand carrying my greenware. The 8th with Yoshiko!

Seven round trips up the mountain hand carrying my greenware. The 8th with Yoshiko!

The unknown - what will tomorrow’s firing bring??

The unknown - what will tomorrow’s firing bring??

Deciding and wadding. I’m happy not to be wadding for a while. This process of attaching wadding clay to the base of each piece is vital to prevent items welding to the shelves. But time consuming.

Deciding and wadding. I’m happy not to be wadding for a while. This process of attaching wadding clay to the base of each piece is vital to prevent items welding to the shelves. But time consuming.

Great to see work finally in a kiln! 

Great to see work finally in a kiln! 

Using rice straw to add depth and colour to the pieces.

Using rice straw to add depth and colour to the pieces.

Yoshiko bricking up the door for sealing tomorrow.... 

Yoshiko bricking up the door for sealing tomorrow.... 

It was lovely to have visitors on the mountain side - wood firing is a special occasion and enjoyed by all.

It was lovely to have visitors on the mountain side - wood firing is a special occasion and enjoyed by all.

Half Moon

Two firings begin this week. I have my 10kw electric kiln firing tomorrow followed by the wood kiln on Thursday. 

I’m still making! 

Tonight I need to select pieces and make sure everything is dry. 

It’s been amazing working on ideas at such an intense pace, with lots of unknowns but surrounded by the stimulating landscape of Shigaraki. 

Most days have either started or ended with cycling out to collect samples and inspiration. Without the bike this would be a much more limited experience - so I feel very fortunate that so much is within reach. 

One month is a very short space of time to realise a project like this, but I’ve used my time well, having now reached the half way point. 

Once the wood firing is completed, I’ll have a couple of days to organise the exhibition which previews on the 23rd October. 

I look forward to that day!

 

Camelia from Hiroshima on clay tile.

Camelia from Hiroshima on clay tile.

Sita’s wood fired pieces in the gallery.

Sita’s wood fired pieces in the gallery.

Deep in Spider Web Forest.

Deep in Spider Web Forest.

Visiting Nate’s firing.

Visiting Nate’s firing.

Nate’s results look impressive...

Nate’s results look impressive...

Moon rising over Heiwado!

Moon rising over Heiwado!

Grafting

I’m into the main building phase now so it’s longer days and one eye on the clock before my firing commences next week.

The work will present interesting challenges when it comes to transportation and loading the Ittekoi, so a 10kw electric firing will also take place as a back up next week.

The days are getting darker so my trip to find local bamboo was mainly in twilight. I’m trying to use as much fresh material as possible to supplement my Hiroshima samples.

I’m also taking the opportunity to make some drawings and photograms which may be considered for the exhibition - preview on the 23 October. 

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Hello!...Yes I am really here...

Hello!...Yes I am really here...

Day of Silence

Yesterday was mostly a day of silence.

The centre was closed, so the park was still with occasional bird song. 

It was a chance to prepare publicity for the exhibition including design work for the poster and supporting text. 

The day ended peacefully with friends at the mountain Onsen under the stars. 

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Thinking

Testing of clay bodies has been completed with one type (25) proving most consistent results.  

The next stage of my project involves creating pieces robust enough to withstand the wood kiln (flat and vertical) and achieve effective (and interesting) results.  

The gallery space also needs preparing, so there is much multi-tasking underway. Vanessa is also having an exhibition shortly before mine so we are working together which helps. 

The Ceramics Market is now over and has been very successful this year. Lots of visitors dropping into the studio too, so we never quite know who’s going to appear. 

Ceramic artist, Chitaru Kawasaki came to the space and met me and the other artists which was a pleasure.

Still enjoying memories from Sunday night at the fireworks and drumming event in town!

No.25 - textured clay with oxide content proving consistent.

No.25 - textured clay with oxide content proving consistent.

Occasional surprises with others (Raku mix)

Occasional surprises with others (Raku mix)

Kawasaki San with one of my tea pots.

Kawasaki San with one of my tea pots.

Wonderful festival of fireworks and drumming in the town centre on Sunday.

Wonderful festival of fireworks and drumming in the town centre on Sunday.

Late night cleaning the plinths.

Late night cleaning the plinths.

Testing

Six days in and my test firing is underway. 

Lots of interesting challenge to keep foliage from Hiroshima fresh and selecting local materials, such as sasa (bamboo), too.

The 5KW electric kiln will be ready by morning which will help me on to the next phase. 

I’m also preparing some additional work inspired by my project and the wider experience of returning to Japan. I hope to include this in the exhibition later in the month. 

It’s been fun to see two other artists from Bristol joining the residency! - Wen Hsi and Martin Harman. 

The Exhibition Hall has re-opened with another inspiring show. I may make some iPhone sketches like last year.

Now off to fireworks in the town...

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