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.