Oh What a Week!

I think that I can honestly say that this week I have felt more tired than in almost any week of my life!  On the other hand, I would not have missed it for the world.  Wimbledon Artist’s Open Studios is always a fantastic event.  I love meeting the people who choose to come and talk to me about my work.  It does my ego a huge amount of good (or harm depending on how you view the need or otherwise for me to have an inflated ego!).  I still remember the first time that Regina, my studio share, and I took part.  I was so nervous that I spent some hours before we opened our doors pacing around the nearby park trying to calm myself.  I commented more than once on how if one person who I did not know chose to buy one of my pieces I would be happy.

Now I feel like an old hand.

I feel like an old hand!
I feel like an old hand!

I have 5 Open Studio events under my belt.  Each one very different from the last.  This time I sold less that sometimes but the feedback which I received was so positive that my ego boost has still led to an increase in hat size!  One of the great things about the event was the number of people who voiced an interest in coming to the ceramics diploma final show, now only a few weeks away.  I have a long list of email addresses to send invitations to .  If it is not yet in your diary and you are interested, make a note now for Islington, Candid Arts Centre, the week of 1st July.  I will be posting more details as it draws nearer.

So this week has been about catching up with myself post that event; fitting in three wonderful days teaching and enjoying every minute of working with children who do not find accessing education as easy as their peers, despite their incredible intellect; getting the last of my large vessels made for the final push: they are so big that they are taking 3 weeks to dry and so I cannot keep going right up to the line; making sure that all my glaze planning is up to date; contructing the contents of my vessels –

Not thinking ceramic thoughts for a whole five minutes!
Not thinking ceramic thoughts for a whole five minutes!

I will show you what I mean in a future blog but, to whet your appetite, lets just say there is a massive contrast between strong, sturdy, reliable vessel and frail, vunerable, gossamer thin contents-  and, most necessary of all; restoring my energy levels.

It was a wonderful moment when, whilst floating on the high seas yesterday afternoon aboard my darling escape pod, Annika, that I realised I had not had a ceramic related thought for over 5 minutes!

I Went to a Marvellous Party . . .

Amazing work by Jong Jin Park
Kyra Cane’s work has a beautiful subtlety to colour and tone.

Drift Net, Annie Turner: A wonderful example of a unique style in ceramics.
Well, it was actually an exhibition: Ceramic Art London at the Royal College of Arts in Kensington.  It is one of the great annual showcases of ceramic art in London every year with eighty makers selected from across the world and it is always a fantastic place to see what is new and listen to some useful hints and tips in the various lectures taking place.  So, what is new?  I was particularly intrigued by the work of Jong Jin Park who is a relative newcomer on the scene.  He makes use of paper and clay slips, just as I do, but he works in a very different way and his work is certainly different.  I was amazed to hear that he does not create the final shapes until he cuts into the piece after having fired it to 1300C.  I cannot wait to try that! In fact, seeing Jong Jin’s work and then spending quite a while chatting to Robert Cooper about his work, other peoples work and then, rather less significantly as far as the exhibition goes, my own work might well have set me on the course for my final semester.  Thank Heavens I hear you cry, no more heart searching then!  Robert was selling well at the exhibition, which was great to see – I certainly think he deserves to!  It was also wonderful to see that another of my tutors, Annie Turner, had been presented with the Emanuel Cooper Prize.  That was a fantastic choice.  Annie’s work is certainly different; fragile, coiled pieces which are about being rooted.  It resonates with me on so many levels and it is great to see her skill being given recognition. I was also drawn to Kyra Canes wonderfully evocative work.  Once again I was touched by the generosity of the artists who I talked to.  I do not know of any other world in which the experts would be so willing to share their own special tips with a newcomer.  It never ceases to amaze me and to fill me with joy that my chosen medium is peopled with such kind and open people.  The discovery program lectures which I attended were a fine example of this with Derek Wilson telling us all kinds of experiences and pitfalls which, for a mere beginner, seemed invaluable.

All in all this was a great day and if I came away with one important message it was the need for a group of pieces to work together.  All those exhibiting had taken a considerable amount of care to present a coherent exhibition which worked in terms of colour, groupings and the level of variety.  So now I need to take that on board, throw away the rubbish and start making an exhibition rather than a bunch of experiments.  No more excuses, Macklin!