During the Ceramics Diploma, at City Lit, last year we learned a few of the tutors’ personal mantras. This week I have been in the studio for every free moment. I am currently making work for The Great Northern Contemporary Crafts Fair and a Sculpture & Ceramics exhibition in the Royal Opera Arcade Gallery off Pall Mall, both of which are taking place next month . There is a lot to make as I want to show as many representative pieces from my post-diploma ideas as possible. All week one of the diploma mantras has been running round my head to such an extent that I think I am now saying it in my sleep.
My first hand built piece for the course was, frankly, looking back on it, an embarrassment. I think I even felt so at the time but now, two years on, it shames me. So I am doing myself a bit of cathartic good by showing it here!
If we ignore the fact that I did not know then that mixing tin oxide and chrome oxide results in a very nasty colour, I look at this piece now and hang my head – what was I thinking?
Well time has moved on. I now have two years of Annie Turner’s wise words – It’s all about the edges – running through my head. It is very true. You can get away with a multitude of sins if the eye goes straight to a good looking profile. It doesn’t matter what the edge is; it can be bevelled, flat, thik, thin, what ever you like. But if you get it wrong; uneven, thicker in some places than others, it takes away from everything else that you are trying to achieve.
I have sweated over my edges a great deal this week and I know they are not in any sense perfect. But I do believe they are coming. And I firmly believe that Annie is right – you can hide a lot if your edges look good. My latest pieces do look a million times better thanks to the edges. So now it is simply a case of getting everything else to match them. I only need to concentrate on the shape and balance of the piece, the surfaces, the glazing – all whilst not losing sight of the importance of the edges. So there is very little now to do before I start making masterpieces! Approximately another 10,000 hours should just about do it!