Now that my pieces are ready to be worked with, I decided to do some sketches of how I imagine this process to go. I started to think about the scenarios I wanted to put these pieces into, and there were quite a few things I had to take into consideration. I am constantly reminding myself of the subject matter I am dealing with here. I want to be mindful of where I take my pieces to be photographed, taking into consideration the places that I approach and how they may react to my asking of photographing there, and also to be careful of the people that may be around me when I am taking these photos, and being careful not to upset anyone around me.
For these photos, I wanted think about what we do in our day-to-day lives and on our daily routines. So to do this I retraced my steps through these past few days to get to grips on how many things I personally do on my routines that I could potentially use to as settings for some photographs. So here’s what I get up to on a normal day:
Wake up, wash my face and make my bed. In the kitchen, make a cup of tea and breakfast, and have a little tidy up and make my lunch for the day. Afterwards, go back to my bedroom and get ready for the day, and pack up my backpack. Leaving for the bus or getting my belongings together in my bike basket, I head into University. There I make, draw, write and think a whole range of things. When i’m done, I head home, make dinner, do some work and then head off to sleep.
That is a normal day for me. There are plenty of situations there that I could use for scenarios for some photographs, and would like to see if I can make this happen. The reason I want to use some of these scenarios are because although this is my daily routine, it is probably rather similar to those of others. In terms of making cups of tea and breakfast, lunch and dinner, these are pretty much world-wide routines therefore people will be able to relate and connect.
I then started to think about everyone else and what people may get up to outside of their homes and establishments. Nothing too out of the ordinary, but more along the lines of meeting someone for tea or lunch, driving, waiting for a bus or train, shopping in either a supermarket or home store. These are just base ideas that I shall develop through sketches. The most important aspect to stick with through these photos is to highlight the everyday, and that sadly, cancer is always there and around us. These objects are here to be used as talking points, hoping to further develop understanding and perceptions of the subject.
Here are some sketches of the kind of photographs I am looking to take:
As you can see from the sketches, I am looking to keep my photographs rather simple and minimalist. I don’t want there to be too much happening in my photo’s, so that the viewers eye scans the image for a while before meeting the object. I want there to be enough there and enough going on to resemble the situation I am trying to portray, but not too much the the viewer is confused and flooded by a busy image, losing the point and focus.
I am also keen to include people in my images. This then helps reinforce the routines I am recreating for the photographs, but most importantly it brings it back to the human. One thing I have been conscious of throughout this project is trying to remain humane and sensitive. It’s rather easy to move away from the person with a subject matter of this sort, and focus on the science of it all, however I would like these objects to come hand in hand with the people they are put around. Something that I am paying close attention to are the people tat I could to feature in my photographs. I am trying to appeal and reach out to all audiences, not just a specific age. To avoid this, I am going to attempt to use people of all different ages groups, ethnicities and cultures. Hopefully this way I can reach out to all audiences possible. Another thing whilst taking my photos to be aware of, is not making the set up seem too staged; I would like my photos to be a natural as they can be.
Out of the sketches above, the ones that stood out to me the most and that I think will create a successful image include the two people sharing a pot of tea together, someone eating a meal, having the object in a bag/handbag and I am warming to the birds eye view of someone’s working desk. The sketch of the object being present whilst someone is sleeping on the sofa gives off strong creepy and unsettling vibes; I find this interesting as it gives these photographs a new dimension and perception of the disease. and what i’m trying to get these photos to say. The same goes for the object sitting on a shelf/bookcase/in a cupboard; the notion of opening a cupboard door to reach for something and almost brush past one of these tumours to simply close the door on it again is rather interesting. Again it has a rather sinister vibe to it- again it is almost as if it is playing a game of hide and seek, waiting to be found to jump out at you or make you jump.. depending on how hard we are looking. these are some photos that I would definitely like to attempt at capturing successfully.
The sketch of the fruit bowl leaves me a little unsure. This is because I don’t want to relate these cancerous objects to any kind of lifestyle. For example I will not be photographing my tumours in situations that involve drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes. So the same goes for the fruit bowl; I do not want to put my pieces in and amongst other pieces of fruit to avoid the viewer drawing connections with cancer and healthy lifestyle. The same could go for the shopping basket too, the ingredients and items that are collected in the basket could also cause connections to be made to lifestyle choices.
This had to be one of the most intense weeks of my time here at uni. Don’t get me wrong, the dissertation hand-in and its lead up were up there with my stress levels, but this, this is my degree show! The first kiln was ready to unload on the Friday morning, and I unloaded the second kiln on the Saturday morning. Easy to say it was one of the longest bus journeys I have endured. However, I say with the biggest smile on my face, I could NOT be happier with the results!!!
After I had all of my pieces together and out of the kilns, the next step was to get some high quality photos taken of them using the photography studio and the lights available there. This also gave me a great opportunity to experiment with the lighting and shadows, as each piece has an individual detail to them that stands out from the main body. This is something I was keen to experiment with as this will help me to get an understanding of the different narratives that my work could have. Something else I wanted to be pretty sure I captured in my studio images are the surface areas of my pieces and the textures that have formed through the process of glazing.
The most fascinating aspect of glazing that I have learnt through getting my final pieces from the kiln, is the pure essence of suspense, unpredictability and individuality that comes with the process. Of course, there have been many glaze tests throughout this project to make sure I am getting the colour I need, but there is no way of being sure of how the real thing will hold up once it’s in there. When taking my final pieces out of the kiln I found myself spending a lot of time with them, looking at them and feeling them and noticing so many little or big details about them that gave each piece such unique and individual qualities and narratives. I found this to be a crucial aspect of my work that I suppose you could say I didn’t give enough thought to before I had seen the results. This for me opened a door to bringing the work back to people, humanising it. It lead me to think about the tumours that grow inside of us, and the people themselves. Each person and their DNA are 100% unique and true to themselves. So when it comes to growing this mass inside of us, this is also our own- we made it. Of course, we don’t want it and unfortunately we don’t have that choice whether we have it or not, but by removing the negativity and the connotations that come with the disease, it is a simply just a mass, and our bodies created it. Each one will be unique to the individual; although there are many groups of cancers and they all have their own tell-tale signs to which one they are, they develop in a specific way to fight against the body they inhabit, and it is this aspect that I am trying to draw attention upon. By appreciating this aspect of the disease, you can begin to see a different side to the subject matter, a brighter side. I have wanted to draw upon this beauty since I set out with this project, and I have had a constant struggle with learning how to approach this idea in a way that in sensitive and understanding. I have also been conscious of trying not to cause any offence as I go along, as I said this is an extremely sensitive subject matter, however I have been reassured more times than not that sometimes it is okay to offend with art. (Although I’m still being very careful to not do this!) After voicing all of this, I can now relate back to my starting point for this post.. the results of the glazes. The beautiful little details that have been created solely through the process inside the kiln, that is completely out of my hands, have given a completely unpredicted and individual addition to my pieces. There are little bubbles where the glaze has reacted inside the kiln, and areas where the glazes have separated to created a wet, animated look, and the different levels of density have all created such unique finishes, all of which I could not have predetermined. This is due to applying the glaze in a different technique to when I fired my test pieces. When applying glaze to the test tiles I mostly used a brush or a sponge, however for my final pieces I mostly used the spray booth and small brushes to apply the detail.
Here are the results:
As you can see from above the colours have come out strong and vibrant just as I had been hoping all along. The test tiles were a pretty good taster for what was tome come with these pieces, but as I said before there is a huge sense of unpredictability, and you can never be too sure of how these things are going to work out. I’m ever so pleased with the results and as a group I feel they work extremely well together. The colours stand out against one another and this was something I had been wishing for from the beginning. I had been looking at opposite colours and how these can have an effect on the eye. Blues and greens work strongly against bright yellows, as they help each other to enhance the important details of the piece. Originally I had planned to use orange alongside the rest of these colours, however when I placed all of my test tiles together I didn’t feel as though the orange worked as well with the blues and greens as the yellow does, so I decided to leave it out. Another reason I kicked it to the curb is because as I went along glazing, I realised that I wanted to stick to a rather tight colour scheme to see how I could utilise these colours differently and to their full capacity over 6 different pieces. I feel as though I have achieved this goal, as each piece takes on each colour as its own, feeding off different narratives as your eyes flood over them. I found the pieces powerful when standing alone, but I wanted to see how they would work when standing together, as eventually they will be exhibited together in the degree show. Whilst in the photography studio I explored this idea:
I am really over the moon with this outcome. I have made them all big enough to sit comfortably in both hands, therefore making them big enough to handle, interact with and make a connection with, and not too big that they become intimidating and too much to handle. When pairing the pieces up for photos I was conscious of a few things. One of these being the colouring of the pieces, I wasn’t sure how well two yellow pieces would work well sitting next to one another, however there are slight different tones in each yellow, and the different details on each piece bounce off each other, and bring out the details of other pieces. Another aspect of the photos I grew conscious of are the shapes and forms. I tried to create my pieces in pairs, but varying slightly in detail as I go along. This is because I wanted to draw upon the fact that these tumours evolve as they grow inside of us, and by creating one piece in a spherical form, and then another that represents the growth of another beside it.
What I would like to do with these pieces next is to put them into context. In my show they will stand alone. However I would like to present them in another way through the use of a picture book. I would like to do this by placing my object in the everyday scenario and in and amongst everyday objects, to show the full power and use of these tumours I have created, so this is the next step. Before doing so I think I need to give some serious thought as to where I could photograph my pieces and what kind of voice I’d like my work to have.
It’s now time to get all my clay tumours glazed and coloured. Easter break is over and there’s 2 weeks until our work has to be finished, and 4 weeks until the 6th of May. Prior to this moment I had tested all my colours and made sure I have got them just how I want them, so there’s nothing left to do now other than get my tumours glazed.
I got down to the glazing studio nice and early on the Tuesday and found my space (which I consequently spent the next 4 days living in). With my objects, they all have individual details that I wish to be glazed a different colour to the main colour of the body of my object. I have been working closely with Matt these days as well, just making sure i’m getting thing correct and trying not to panic too much.
There’s two ways to protect clay from getting glazed; wax or latex resist. Wax resist is used to keep areas from getting any glazing on them, and the only way to remove wax glazing is to burn it off in the kiln. This resist is good and mostly used for the underneath of a piece of work to keep the glaze from coming into contact with the surface of the kiln shelf, as this can ruin the shelves. However, latex resist, is used for much more intricate purposes. With all 6 of my ceramic tumours, they have individual details therefore the latex resist is the best suited for my works.
The first process of the day was to first of all dust off my pieces using the air gun, and then apply the latex. The above photo’s are the first 3 of my pieces with the latex applied. As you can see on the detailed areas of my pieces, they are darker in colour compared to the rest of the surface. The latex was easy to apply, dried fast and didn’t need many layers. However the smell wasn’t something to be desired.
I have booked myself in for TWO of the Toploader kilns. As I have 6 pieces, all 6 will not fit in one kiln. Another thing, is that 2 of pieces are in Bisque firing until Thursday morning, therefore I wont be able to glaze them until they are out. So my plan for this week is as follows:
- Tuesday: Apply glaze to THREE clay pieces.
- Wednesday: Finish off applying glaze and load first kiln and set it to turn on at midnight. Begin to glaze next clay piece.
- Thursday: Watch kiln 1 throughout the day and turn off when finished. Glaze other THREE clay pieces. Load second kiln, set to turn on at midnight.
- Friday: Unload first kiln and (hopefully) be happy with results. Watch second kiln throughout the day and turn off when finished.
- Saturday: Go into uni to unload second kiln, and pray for good results.
Applying the latex was quite a long job, but once this task was out the way I could begin to glaze my objects. To apply the base glaze, which will be giving me the main colour for the body of the object, I used the spray booths. I chose to use this method of glazing as it is efficient in achieving an even spread glaze. The areas that have latex applied will not be affected by this application of glaze.
When applying the glaze, the extractor fan must be switched on, also the chemical wash which is a water system which catches all of the excess glaze coming from the gub, and washes it away. A mask must be worn during this process. Using props to hold the piece up, it must be placed in the center of the wheel. Play around with the gun and find a spray mode that is most suited to the effect you want to achieve. Before pouring your glaze into the gun, make sure it has been cleaned out correctly by the previous user in order to avoid spraying a different glaze on your work and effecting the final outcome by contamination. This is done by putting the gun in a bucket of water and spraying so that the water flows through the inside of the gun (remember to use your finger to cover the hole in the gun!).
Once all that is done and checked correctly, glazing can begin! Before doing so, colour schemes needed to be decided.As I am mostly sticking to 3 colours, and 6 pieces, I would like to be conscious of how these colours are used; equally spread across all pieces and used in the most effective way. Below are the colour schemes for each clay piece. The colour that follows the image of the piece will be the base colour, then followed by the final image which will be the colour of the detailed areas.
These are the colours schemes that I have decided on. I decided to have 3 main body glazes using the yellows, and 3 using the variations of blues and greens. The detailed areas will then be glazed with the opposite colour in order for them to stand out. The first 3 of the colour scheme list above, are the first 3 to be going in the kilns.
When it came to actually glazing my objects, I wasn’t surprised at how long and tiring the days were. Due to having to apply the latex first, this meant that it made the process quite a lot longer than usual. Then came the spray booth. This is the quickest part of the glazing process. When spraying, it’s usually best to make sure at least 3-4 layers of glaze is equally applied over each object. When spraying the gun, the other hand is used to spin the table as you spray, ensuring the even coating(and also keeping track of where you have previously sprayed of course!). Leave each layer of glaze to dry for about 40-60 seconds before applying another layer. Once this part was complete, clean up that spray booth ready for the next person and return back to the desk in order to begin applying glaze to the detail areas. Now this was the tricky part. After the last layer of the spray glaze had dried, I began to use a sharp tool with its end as thin as a pin to pick off the latex. With the detailed areas, I had to use a small brush to apply the glaze. Much like the spray glaze technique, you have to make sure you apply a good few layers of the glaze. This gets a little tricky here as when going to paint the detailed areas, such as the balls on a few of my works, you have to remember where you have already been.. if in doubt, just add some anyway!! I didn’t have too much trouble with this part of the process, mostly just being extremely cautious when applying the glaze, being sure not to get any onto the base glaze. The lucky thing with glazing is that it is all water based, so god forbid anything terrible were to happen or if I wanted to remove something I had glaze, I can simply wipe it off with a wet sponge. In some cases where I had gotten just a small drop of the other glaze onto the base, I would just use the sharp tool to scratch it off the surface, as it turns to powder once it has dried. Once all of the tumours are glazed, its extremely hard to imagine how these pieces are going to come out once they are fired, as the glaze dries a completely different colour. These are my pieces once I had applied the glazes:
The colours here are rather pasty and neutral, however when they are taken out of the kiln then will be completely different colours. So the next step now is to wait for the kilns to finish and pray that everything comes out okay.
I found this process rather tiring and exhausting. This process required a lot of detail and concentration, and my body definitely felt the brunt after this week, however I definitely feel this process was the best for the work I am creating, and the effect that I am wanting my work to have. In a tutorial with Amelia we spoke of the different ways to colour my final pieces (gently reminding myself that I am an illustrator not a ceramicist), however I have truly thought that glazing was the best way to colour my pieces from the get-go with this clay work. This is due to value- when there are items around the house that are glazed, there is a certain face value that comes with that. It makes them delicate and they are usually handled with comfort and care. There is a risk of smashing glazed pottery and to prevent this from happening, certain precautions are taken such a picking up an item gently, moving slowly, and being cautious not to drop or bash the item, and this is exactly how I wanted my clay tumours to be treated.
Another part of professional practice is to design our business cards for the upcoming degree show and most likely afterwards. Something fantastic about having Dan P as a tutor is that he gets things done and he knows his people. Each year Dan P uses the same printer for the business cards and we get them done all together. By doing this, it will make the overall cost cheaper. Dan P was extremely helpful with the designing process of the cards, and we were going to get an indesign workshop planned but we ended up being short on time with the Bristol exhibition looming. Dan offered to give us a helping hand for the people who struggle to use programs such as indesign, and simply asked us to send him some photographs or scans of our works that we wanted on our cards, and he left the rest to himself! Some people were savvy enough to be able to put something together themselves, however I was not one of these people. This year we were asked to get them done a little earlier than usual due to the Bristol exhibition, so everyone had to do this earlier in order the get them printed together. I sent my designs of to Dan and he sent back what he had put together and they were lovely!
Here’s the designs that Dan sent me back, and I replied instantly explaining how happy I was with the results. I checked all the details were correct and that was that. They took a little longer than we expected to print, and the people who were participating in the first week of the Bristol exhibition had a window of time where they were without their cards at the show, however Dan dropped them off to the gallery. Due to the cards being printed earlier than we expected, I panicked slightly at what I would be including on them. I originally told Dan that I thought I would need 2 different business cards, one for the Bristol exhibition and another for the degree show. This was because the work I decided to show in the Bristol show is completely to the work that I am making for my degree show. I spoke to Dan about this and in the end we decided to have an image of each illustration technique on both sides of the card, making it multi-functional and expressing both areas of illustrating that I am interested in and keen to work in.
Throughout this year we have been working with Dan Peterson. I’ve found it extremely helpful whenever we’ve had the chance to have tutorials with him or if he hosts lectures. We had a range of lectures last year and one of those focussed on the development of our websites. To me this was pretty daunting as I have no idea how to do much online, or even on a computer for that matter, however Dan was helpful with this. We were advised to make a separate page on wordpress and customise it that so it is more tailored to a website rather than a blog. I had heard pretty good things about a few other websites such as Cargo Collective, Weebly, Squarespace and so on, so I decided to give Cargo Collective a try.
There pricing was pretty similar to that of wordpress, around $9 a year to be able to have your own domain name. Eventually, after what seemed to be much more stressful than it maybe should have been, I eventually got my own domain. I decided to go with the name ‘Heather Kirk Illustration’. I already have a facebook page set up that enables people to search the same name and then ‘like’ it, so keeping the same name for my website keeps it continuous and easy to remember. I had a tutorial with Dan shortly after we came back after having our Christmas break, and I spoke to him of how I was struggling to find work I liked and enough work to show on my website and in my portfolio. I spoke to him of how I wasn’t very happy or keen on the work I had produced in my first 2 years studying here, and that it’s only recently in this final year that I have began to develop into the illustrator I do actually want to be. Dan highlighted the importance of only putting work into both the physical portfolio and my online website that I am happy with and also prepared to reproduce. By putting up something that I am not happy with, and then someone comes across my work and gets in touch with me asking for me to create something for them in that style, I will be reluctant to do so and a waste of time for both parties involved. So unfortunately at this moment in time there is not too much going on on my website, as there are only the most recent works that I am happy with. I have struggled to begin to build my physical portfolio for similar reasons, but another tutorial with Dan P tomorrow will sort this out.
When signing up to Cargo Collective I thought it might be easier than I thought, and there were step by step guides on how to set up. To begin with, the site took me through which themes I can use. Once I had set up my payment in order to have my own domain, more themes became available to me. I spent a good few days at first just trying to understand all the different links and tips and tricks and soon enough had to put it down before it drove me completely insane. I left it for a while and then when the Bristol exhibition began to grow closer, I got myself back into action and sorted it out. Our websites then went live on the PAPER Arts website, so anyone that read the event for the show could have clicked onto the website at any point, so I had to make sure it was running well. This also meant that I could have a look at everyone else’s websites to which gave me a much brighter view of how mine should be coming together and the correct information I should be sharing alongside my work.
My original theme seemed to be a good choice at the beginning, and then when I had a tutorial with Dan P and we looked over it together, he helped me to realise that maybe it wasn’t the best design. The title of the opening page, being Heather Kirk Illustration, was too long to spread out, so the words began to automatically cut themselves up. Along with this, the options for how the thumbnails of my work was to be first presented were slim. This gave overall bad first impressions, and thats what it’s all about right?
Anyway, I am now at a point where I am happy and confident with the appearance of my website, and I am beginning to develop a much better understanding of how on earth you work these things!! Most importantly, getting to grips with the CSS side of my website. I spent an evening just fiddling about with each detail and noting down what each change effected on my website, and then eventually figuring our how I’d like it to look and making the necessary adjustments. To begin with, I had just used the text box and wrote my name in there and had it in black. Basic. When I got to fiddling about with it, I started looking at different fonts (mostly through WORD) and tried out a few different colours, but it just didn’t feel very personal to me… it felt as though it needed a little extra pizazz. I had also been looking at Sarah Edmonds’ website for inspiration and ideas. The heading image on her website is extremely unique to her as an illustrator and I really wanted something like this for myself, but wasn’t too sure how to get it. She also included the image that she uses on her business cards, which I thought was a great idea. I currently don’t have anything like this for myself, I don’t have an illustration that illustrates me.. but maybe this is something to work on (Note To Self). She seems to have produced it digitally also, which is a grey area for me, something to talk with Dan over. Anyway, this inspired me to try and look harder for something that might reflect me as a person until I manage to come up with something a little more interesting for my head image. I remember way back in the day I used to use font generator websites online to achieve something I probably couldn’t get using WORD. I spent a good while looking through all of the fonts that were available to me, and then trying to decide which colour I wanted added a little more time onto that too. But eventually I found a few things that I liked and decided to save them and see what they look like. I tried to find fonts that were rather sketchy, fun and quite natural looking, like handwriting. Here are the ones I picked out first:
I found myself struggling to pull myself away from using pastel yellows and oranges for the colour of the header, as they’re my favourite colours. Besides, I think they work well and represent me too. I use soft colours like these throughout my work, so this seemed fitting. I warmed to these titles but they seemed to be a little too thin and delicate, and the bottom two reminded me too much of my sisters handwriting.. that’s a good reason to dislike something right? So I looked for some more:
I then found this font and really warmed to it. I really liked the lightheartedness it has about it, its fun and inviting. I thought I should maybe try out a few different colours to see what they’re like on my website (I actually uploaded them, not just as the above). I went for burgundy as it is another one of my favourite colours and another colour that crops up rather frequently in my work, however when I tried it on my website it seemed over powering of my work and just didn’t seem to fit. So I went back to mustard yellow. I really liked this and felt as though it worked well and was what I was trying to go for. I then tried to add a little extra detail. Something that has been consistent throughout my sketchbook, just little details when decorating titles or making a page just a little more exciting is adding little flicks of colour with coloured pencils. So I thought i’d try and get this onto the font. I don’t have any of the adobe software (YET) so I tried to find something I could download through my app store or use online, just something simple like Microsoft Paint so that I could add those tiny details of colour, however this happened.. not quite to plan..
As you can see by the above images that what I had hoped to achieve has been tainted by tagging. I tired out two different apps when trying to add colour and both of them added their tag and logo, therefore making them un-useable. After this happening, my patience started to run thin, so I began thinking about other ways I could make it personal. I then decided to try writing up my own heading and scanning it in and then upload it onto my website.
I thought this was rather quaint and welcoming and had a slight charm to it, however when I uploaded it to my website, the paper wasn’t white and clean enough for it to sit comfortably on my page, and I didn’t know what to do to clean it off without having photoshop. So this is another thing to speak to Dan P about in the next round of tutorials. After all that hassle I just went back to the most successful one, which is the yellow one beneath the red title. Here’s a screenshot of the start of my website, and the link to follow. I’m happy with how it is all coming together. I have changed the font of all the titles, and also when the cursor hovers over the page links (see ‘contacts’ below) the colour changes to blue. Just to make it all a little bit more fun!
An exhibition of 16 Illustrators over 2 separate weeks.
Something pretty magical has been happening over these past few months, in and amongst all this commotion, stress and trouble. (There’s some good things happening going on too, not all bad). A good amount of us illustrators decided to get together and see if we can create something magical between us, and we chose to do this in Bristol. It had been spoken of briefly at the beginning of the year, and began to materialise as we got closer to christmas. We had to began thinking about which venue we wanted to use so that we could get some dates set in stone and so that we could finally start working towards something. Eventually we found a nice range of galleries in bristol that were able to exhibit all 16 of us. Af few of us went down to Bristol and decided to check these places out and get a feel of which one will be most suitable for the exhibition we’d like to show. For the people that couldn’t make the trip down to check them out, the others took photographs in order to show the others once they get home.
In the end, we decided to go for PAPER Arts. This venue is extremely central to Bristol and right next to Cabot Circus shopping centre and car park, so it’s a great location to have an exhibition. We emailed PAPER Arts to see what a weekly package included so that we could get an understanding of how much money we will be needing for the show. For that venue, it would be £200 a week, with 0% commission on all artwork, so the artist takes 100% profit. They offer assistance during the installation of the show and free invigilating throughout the show. This is handy for us seeing as we are all in the depts of finishing up our years work, so we will gain back some of our time that we thought we would be losing. They also provide A2 gallery posters and wall stickers from the designs of the posters we make. There’s also an opportunity for a personal artist interview and social media coverage on PAPER Arts online platforms. This enables us to get a lot more coverage for our show and hopefully increase our number of viewers. If we decide to go with PAPER Arts, they give us20% discount on all fine art and printing services. Again, this will definitely benefit the vast majority of us who will want to print copies of their work to sell, or even for the exhibition work itself.
Jamie Stevenson kept on top of all of the organising for this degree show, with help from the most of us. He kept in close contact with the gallery and eventually we had 2 weeks booked in at PAPER Arts. 30th of March until the 13th of April. The thing with this venue is that it couldn’t really fit more than 7-8 people at a time (depending on the sizing of the work), so we therefore had to book two weeks, one after the other, and have two shows under the same title. This also means that we will then have 2 opening nights and 2 closing nights. When it came to paying for this adventure, we did what we do best and began making and baking. We figured out that for the 2 weeks, at £200 a week and then adding on costs for the music, alcohol, snacks and so on, we would be looking at around £700. We divided this by 16 and it came to £43, suggesting we pay that out of our own pockets to put towards the show. We decided that if we got some bake sales in there we would probably be able to cut that in half, and not be so out of pocket ourselves. We eventually managed to cut this down, and instead everyone was asked to pay £25 each instead of £43. A nice saving.
The next thing we had to do is think about themes and titles for the show. Some people already had previous completed work that they wanted to put in the show, and others were creating something new. Originally we were running with the name and theme ‘Inside / Outside’; we decided to have two titles names mixed into one separated by ‘/’ to highlight that there will be two consecutive weeks. We decided this would just be a starting point and imagined that when peoples work began to develop more and we began to see what people were creating, we would be able to better define our title. After this process, we finally came up with out title. WITHIN / WITHOUT. After deciding this, a brief described of the show was sent off to be included in their brochure:“The emphasis is on illustrative work that looks sensitively at both personal and social issues; exploring both the inner world of body and mind, and the outer world of human action and interaction.” We thought this would be an extremely good title, as it can be interpreted however; thoughts, dreams, the conscious and subconscious it taken more literally and showing in the inside and outside of something and so on. Now that we have finally got the title of our show, we began to put a poster together. Originally we were going to design it ourselves, and Sara Christova stepped forward and offered to design it. Anyhow, some time passes and Jamie asked the lovely people at PAPER Arts what we should do about the poster and they kindly offered to design it for us. They asked for a few photos of peoples work to include on the poster, so my work along with a few others were sent off. Here’s what we received back!
We were all extremely happy with the poster. One thing we were worried about was being able to make clear that there would be two separate open evenings for the beginning of each week, and that people would remember to attend the second after already attending the first. After we OK’d the poster, they got them printed and we began to distribute them about town, both Bristol and Cardiff. Something else we spoke about in our meetings (The 16 of us usually met up after the 12pm weekly meeting on Wednesdays) was producing our own leaflet. There wasn’t too many of us in the group that were particularly savvy and confident with using photoshop or indesign to make something like this, however Jake Rowles stepped up to the mark. The majority of his work is digital and he has a unique way of using these devices to create an individual style, and he managed to incorporate this into our leaflet. We decided to keep the leaflet rather simple and not overload it with information, just to have a small thumbnail image next to each persons details. These were out contact details, and most people just included their emails, blog addresses, websites and any social media sites also. Jake managed to design the leaflet in a way that clearly shows there will be two different weeks. By using a concertina design, he design one week on one side and the second week on the other. Our posters were already design by this point, so Jake took the colour scheme from this and used it for the leaflets also. Here’s what the end product looked like, and again we were all very happy:
After all these designing tasks were out the way, we began to focus on our own works. We decided who would be going in each week, and this was mostly decided on who could do what (due to it being in the easter holidays). I opted to be in the second week. For this exhibition I decided to include a piece of work that I had already completed last December. This was due to a few factors. There was the time that would be going into a piece of work for the show that I would be conscious of being spent more productively on my degree show work, so it seemed much easier to use something already finished. I also wanted to keep a sort of continuous theme and way of working throughout my exhibitions. The work that I decide to create outside of university is completely different to the work that I produce in the studio. I find this very sitting for me personally. I fully understand that the work I could have produced for this show could have also been included in my degree show work and my project work for university, however I decided to keep these two separate. Another reason is that I throughly enjoy this way of working and find it extremely therapeutic and rewarding, and I feel combined with the subject matter, they have a strong relationship and work well together. Previous tutorials with both Amelia and Anna have also proved that they aren’t keen on the techniques used, due to it being a rather common and popular way of working as an illustrator, and that I should try and keep away from it. I accepted and agreed with these comments (hence me not working in this way with my university work) so exhibitions like this one give me the chance to show another side of my illustration approach, and show the work that I can’t show in university. The work I decided to show is from the exhibition I did before this one, titled ‘-Exposure’ (see blog post). Here is the work itself:
When I exhibited this work in The Abacus last December, I didn’t use anything to hang it with other than nails. As it was part of a residency, I didn’t work to any particular size, I just cut out a piece of paper that felt big and daring enough and drew up my design. As it was for the residency, I didn’t have any plans to frame it or show it in a particular way. I wanted to keep the piece rather raw and unkept, much like the residency. We were all extremely tired and the gallery soon enough stopped looking like a gallery and more like a studio, but that was the whole point so it doesn’t really matter. To keep this rawness and originality, I simply just used nails to hang the piece up in the Abacus. I decided to use quite thick nails and left them partially sticking out. However, for this Bristol show I didn’t want the same effect. I wanted a much cleaner finish and a more professional appearance, so I decided to get a frame. I took a trip down to IKEA and tried to find a frame that would fit my image. I thought I would struggle with it but thankfully, I found a lovely white frame that only set me back £15. I didn’t actually take my image with me when buying the frame so it was a total gamble, but thankfully everything turned up roses.
When buying the frame, it came with an inner-frame/border which worked as a great stencil for where I needed to cut my original image down too. Once I had cut my image down, I got it into the frame and the job was done. I didn’t realise when buying my frame that it didn’t have a glass front, and it was in fact plastic. Once I had peeled of the protective layering the plastic was clean and clear, so I wasn’t too upset about it. Next part of the adventure was to set up the show!!
As I was in the second week our set up was later than the others. We began setting up on April 6th. As my frame measured up as just a little larger than A1, I had asked people in the group if any of them were driving down to Bristol and if I could pop my frame in their car. I was more than happy to get the train down there, but then Ayu said she would give me a lift down along with my work, so that was great! We arrived with and began to set up the second half of the exhibition as soon as everyone else had arrived. The people that were in the week before us had come along earlier that day and taken down their work for us to put up ours. Alongside showing the work, I had some prints left over from last year that I thought I could throw in to sell, and they were illustrated in the same way as the work I am exhibiting.
The initial setting up of the show went really well. It seemed to be quite a slow process and me and Ayu were the first to arrive, so we couldn’t begin setting up anything until everyone else got there so I feel as though there could have been better organisation within us all to make sure we all got there at the same time so it could have been a quicker set up, but apart from that it worked well. We got everyones work out on the floor and tried to imagine who’s would look good where, and who’s work complemented who’s the best. Our main issues were the sizing of the works and colours. There were 3 pieces in particular that were pretty colourful, and then the rest were more greyscale. We needed to find a nice balance of colour and alongside this, there were only 2 large frames pieces, mine included. So we had to make sure the work had a flow to it. Eventually we figured out a successful composition and we set it all up.
Unfortunately I couldn’t make the opening evening so I could not be there to celebrate with everyone what we had achieved, however the experience as a whole has been a lot of fun and it feels good to have an exhibition up in a different city to here in Cardiff, spreading out our wings and sharing our delicious art with the world. We managed to get a few little online responses and promotions, here are the links below:
I wanted to get more of an idea of what I am actually capable of producing through this glazing process, both through my own personal skills and what glazes I can actually produce with the clay I am using and within the time frame that is left. I have found myself being drawn into the use of opposite colours. When first researching into what cancer cells looked like under the microscope I came across one image that I have stuck by since then. Above are drawings of the image. The original image showed the cancer cell’s colours to be vibrant and strong. This is a feature that I would like to keep consistent throughout my work, for two reasons in particular. One of those reasons being that it’s rather spectacular that these colours are what can be seen under the microscope, and being so colourful is not something you would usually associate with something so closely related to agony and pain. This is something that attracted me greatly and is something that I have wanted to keep going throughout my own work. These bright and vibrant colours are strong enough to evoke emotions within the viewer, and colours such as blues, yellows and oranges are usually the ones to bring out positive emotions. So again, combining this with the subject matter is something tricky and individual, and I like it. And finally, I would like to keep some of the original details and features of the original material I had come across within my own work, to remind viewers that this is a real problem and is something that although I may be manipulating to make it own, I do not want it’s purpose to be lost and it’s importance to be forgotten.
Blue is comfortable, cool and clean. It often relates with positive qualities such as strength, wisdom, tranquility and loyalty. Sadness is also described as ‘having the blues’, and is also usually used to represent the male gender.
Colbalt is what usually makes the majority of glazes blue. Colbalt produces blues easily and will create some colours at all temperatures and in most glaze bases. It is a strong colorant and recipes often call for 1% or less. Barium and copper oxide can produce some of the most vibrant and saturated blues but leaching can be a problem in the wrong glaze (always test beforehand). Rutile can produce blues combined with tans, browns and pinks, and results in dynamic, variegated yet runny surfaces. Caledon blues are often created in a reduction atmosphere with the inclusion of small amounts (1-2%)of iron. But artists like Andy Shaw and Bryan Hopkins get lovely light blues by drawing out impurities in the clay.
Yellow can stir varied reactions. It’s the most luminous of all colours. It’s connection with the sun produces a natural warming effect and stands for cheerfulness. Yellow is related with happiness, and yellow roses signify friendship and joy. It is physically the quickest colour of the eye to process, which means it always gets attention. It is the easiest colour for many to wear, and people tend to feel unsettled in yellow spaces.
Creating yellows usually include using uranium oxide. this is a popular high temp colourant however it is radioactive. Other oxides include nickel, rutile, chrome, manganese, vanadium, and titanium, all make great yellows and are often used in combination. Many artists use stains to achieve bright yellows, including David Hicks, Matt Wedel, Chandra DeBuse and Taechoon Kim. The brightest possible yellow comes from a stain and is almost in-matchable wth oxide, as they tend to produce ‘earthy’ yellows. The exception to this is the rare earth oxide praseodymium, making a great vibrant yellow.
Orange is often characterised as warm, stimulating and happy. It represents the season of autumn and halloween. Bright orange is sometimes characterised as aggravating due to its jarring intensity. It stands out against many colours, and this is why it’s used for traffic cones, life rafts and so on. Wearing orange will get attention which explains why prison uniforms are sometimes orange.
Creating orange is not easy to create using raw glaze materials. Besides rutile, which can make muted orange in oxidisation, commercial stains and inclusion stains (encapsulated stains) are used. Some glazes that can produce several glazes move into the orange range like shino’s and high-iron glazes such as Kaki that break from black to cream and sometimes orange. The atmospheric kilns such as salt, soda and wood produce bright orange, drawing iron and other impurities from the clay and the slips. Chris Gustins’ work displays some vivid changes with shino in the wood kiln. The use of ferric chloride in low-temperature sagger firing can produce quite a range of oranges as well.
Green is the symbolic colour of the new growth, springtime and nature. It is also associated with harmony, hope and calmness. In western cultures a green shamrock means good luck, and around the world a green traffic light signals safe passage. Historically its had an interesting path. The “green man”, a symbol of fertility and growth, can be traced back to many cultures, but was banned by early Christians for its connection to pagan religions.
Creating green can be achieved with many colourants., including nickel oxide, chromium oxide (Research Clare Hedden) and iron oxide, but copper, especially copper carbonate, is a clear favourite (see Anton Rejinders). Very small amounts of iron oxide in a celadon glaze can create soft light greens (research Jeff Campana) that really show over white porcelains at high temperatures, while a variety of stains have been made to create almost any shade of green imaginable.
These are the colours that are appealing to me most at this current stage in process. I really like the yellow and blue, and orange and blue combinations. I have began to look more into opposite colours and how these can have effect on emotions also. I am now looking into creating some more colour glazes such as green and red, possibly a pink (however I do not want to stray too close to any fleshy colours) and see how these colours develop and how they work with the blues and yellows that I have already created.