Monday, 27 April 2009


Manufacturing may be in recession but we studio designer/makers are continuing to make goods and keeping alive more traditional forms of manufacturing process and, some amongst us, industrial processes.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Knitted Strawberry pendant is on the Victoria and Albert website

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Monday, 20 April 2009

Kiln Emptying!!!!!!!!

I love emptying kilns after a glaze firing- always hoping for that 'kiln moment' when you know that somethings special is guna come out. I haven't had that for a while. don't do glaze firing so often as I work so slowly but.....alas I haven't quite achieved the animation that i was looking for woth these cups but boy are they good to drink from. They fit in the hand as though they were made for them, they bare big and wide and although the rims are wonky and handles not really functional, the material is an insulator so they don't conduct heat. They are good to hold and the glaze is just so silky its so sensual its like smoothing a piece of satin.These cups bounce when they are dropped. They have no air miles on them, they are made locally. They are not fired to full stoneware temp of 1280 nut to 1240, the porcelain matures at this temperature thus cutting down their carbon footprint. The clay is likely made from products from the southwest although its probably been up to stoke on trent and back to the distributors, the possibility of making porcelain clays in southwest is possible if the economic will would be there. We will all be potters!!!!!!!!!!! These cups focus the attention on the act of drinking.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Critical Theory and the practice of studio Ceramics

I am juxtaposing two ideas here- Critical Theory as descibied by professor Sam Smiles, Univ. Plymouth " and the The Practice of Studio Ceramics. My intention is to gain an understandings of past and present socio-cultural conditions and reflect it, if at all possible, in a craft practice. "Marx defined materialsim as "a different approach - human behaviour as moulded by the conditions in which humans live". "But the process of the division of labour led to a profound split between intellectual and physical work. In the commodity-producing society, philosophy ceased to be the business of the active man and became that of the contemplative man, - who does not change the world but observes it, reflects upon it, interprets it". A craft practice can consciously re-unite these elements. there is no division of labour in a studio ceramic practice. The contemplative, active and philosphical become one (for man read person) Functional ceramics are not purely for contemplation. "critical theory is plural and departs from traditional scientific theory in reflecting critically on its production, rather than assuming an objective viewpoint".
The practice of Studio ceramics is a reflective practice, is technically reproducible- its uses processes where multiplicity is possible- Benjamin and Cultural Reproducibility. Benjamin said that the means of production should be taken over, means of production should be reorganized. However Adorno said "As a cultural form becomes more reproduced and total, it becomes a means to control rather than a liberation".

Friday, 10 April 2009

My hanging knitted strawberries

This is a test piece/design idea for a textile show. I am going to make a similar piece out of the large strawberries.
This work will explore themes of and raises questions about sustainability, recycling, consumer issues, branding, and alternatives to mass production of clothing /textiles. My current work shows that anything textile can be made from knitting. It also references the huge world wide craft movement which uses these needle/hook based techniques to make textiles as can be seen in knitting and crochet websites/blogs. the practice of cultural resistance
They are largely women, thus gendering its practice. Knitting has been a very low status craft practice and up until recently…has been largely ignored. It has become 'chic' and 'in vogue'. My current practice is to use both hand spun/hand painted wool from Wales, and recycled fabrics sourced from boot sales, charity shops, Plymouth Scrap Store, my old clothing, friends cast offs. Nothing is bought new apart from the wool. It is very difficult to source purely eco-friendly wool which has little or no carbon footprint. Northern Europeans have used woll for 1000's of years. we know wool production is a sustainable technology. Currently, I am trying to use bigger and bigger gauge needles to produce larger pieces of work. I am going to make my own larger needles from some doweling.

Design Idea for hanging strawberries