The field module gives students a chance to explore many different skills and projects throughout the art department. I really had the opportunity to experiment with new skills during my field modules. My first field group was figurative modelling with Natasha Mayo which was very useful for my subject brief because it gave me an awareness of different ways and techniques of figurative building. The figurative module also looked at different decorative ideas such as using casting slip as well as decorative slips. It was due to this project that I had decided to use slip decoration in my final pieces of work.
I found that during this field project we took a lot of time looking at life modelling and drawing. We used different mediums to create pieces of art referenced by our life model Pip. Mediums such as charcoal, pencil, paint and even modelling clay straight from looking at the life model in front. We were also taught about the importance of knowing where the pressure would be during 3 dimensional modelling. such as knowing where the most pressure would be placed in on area such as base, bone and any other part of the boy that would be in contact with the floor being as in a sculpture these are areas in which your clay is most likely to slump. Also the majority of our drawings were quick sketches so it was important for us to know what parts to draw to make sense of the body with out focussing too much on detail.
The second half of my field module was Urban Sketching. This whole project brief was focussed on sketching and nothing else. We had the opportunity to be set out into bristol and draw everything that captures the essence of ‘urban’ living. Bristol is such an interesting city that there was so much to look at and manipulate through drawing. Just like the life drawing in the first half of field, urban sketching was about finding the essence of the drawing with out focussing on the detail. These drawing exorcises developed our drawing skills such as drawing with out looking at the paper, drawing using only shadows and also doing one line drawings. These were all to practice be comfortable with sketching not having a perfect final result. The urban sketching course also taught us how to draw things that you would think took great detail and time in a matter of minutes so things like large crowds of people, multiple windows on buildings heavy plantation and other things you can expect to find in an urban area.
The drawing techniques I have developed through both of these field groups have helped my project planning on subject so much. Everything throughout the figurative module has been very useful to me across my whole subject experience. I have discovered so many new techniques that I could incorporate into not only the planning but also the execution of my final pieces. Urban sketching has really encouraged me to be comfortable with my work having imperfections and the figurative has given me new hand building skills as well as knowledge of the figure.
For this terms project brief ‘Iconic Living’ I have been looking at the iconic, things that stand out to me, as well as the Ken Stradling exhibit. At the start of the term our class was asked what does iconic mean to you? For me the word iconic means something that is known world wide, an idea or person to look up to. My idea of an iconic person would be someone like Oprah Winfrey, an iconic car would be a rolls royce. I took the understanding of this word with me whilst looking through the Ken Stradling collection. I wanted to find a piece that would very clearly inspire me just like the icons. There were several different objects in the collection that caught my interest but the piece that stood out the most to me was the Betty Blandino pot. I wanted to create something that I thought represented the same aura of her work. Something that was eye-catching and grabbed viewers attention but with out being a gaudy heavy piece. Something with the same calming palette but was still enough to grab attention a very iconic piece I thought.
I first focussed on the shape. I wanted to stay with my figurative theme I chose for the first term but change it a little bit. I decided to make vessels this time, vessels that were hand built and representative of the human figure, so I took some time to have a go at life drawing. Each figure I drew was just a quick sketch. I didn’t want an outcome of a perfectly drawn human figure of incredible detail. I wanted my drawings to still include the important information of the body but be relaxed as this is how I want my finished work to look. These drawings were then used as reference for my pots so would only be a loose representation of the human body. I also used the coil building technique as that gave my pots a natural organic form, rather than the perfectly precise forms of throwing. Doing this also gave me a chance to keep reworking the walls so I could get my work as thin and light as I could manage. I also looked at the surface decoration a lot, focussing on experimenting with slip application.
Although I am happy with my results I do feel like if I had managed my time better I would have been able to finish with a more thought out body of work. I didn’t have enough time to really experiment with colour like I had planned to. As a result I couldn’t fire my work up to its correct temperature as the colours would have burnt out and the slip wouldn’t have been a brilliant white. Though this issue didn’t bother me too much because my work is only for decoration so the fact that its under fired doesn’t effect the clay so much as long as its not overly handled. So with this said I would have preferred to get every thing right so next project I will need to be better aware of my time management.
As a group our whole year decided where each person is going to display there work. Here is the plan we created on a white board. We thought it would be better for the students to plan amongst themselves so it gives everyone an equal chance to get the best space needed for each persons individual display.
This is how I planned my display. I chose to have my work showcased on a simple white shelf. I didn’t want to have a plinth because I only want people to focus on the front view. Also the bases on each of these pots are quite narrow so at not the most stable. I thought it would be better for them to be up on the wall out of harms reach. Also it’s easier I find to see each pot as an individual (just like a body) when they’re displayed in a row rather than grouped together on a stand.
This is how my pots came out in the end. I’m gladly pleased with these results. I just used red iron oxide and a white vitreous slip to create this surface appearance in the after being as the cobalt oxide was far too dark and the tan stain did not come out so well. Though they still have that organic semblance I was hoping for.
They are under fired though I have done this purposefully. Due to the test tiles coming out and looking awful and the fact that my pieces are purely for decoration I decided to just let them fire to bisque temperature. I love the subtle pink that the clay body has which would turn to a rough grey colour at full temperature. Also the oxide wash had slightly burnt away leaving the fully fired tiles with less colour.
If I did have more time I would have looked into maybe using an earthen ware clay and slip. I also wish that I had tested out several more oxides colours to get a larger array of undertone colours as well as experimenting even further with how I could play with slip application.
I decided not to use black clay but crank instead. They both have very similar properties and are both stoneware but because I want to get a natural earthy colour palette I wanted to use something with a pale body colour. So I chose to work with the crank instead.
First thing I did, thinking about the surface colour, was make up a batch of white slip. I’m going to use the slip with oxides to try and mimic natural tones.
I want to find the oxides that would work best to reflect the undertones of skin colour. I’m looking for tones such as tans reds greens blues and yellows. I don’t want each colour to be extremely bright so I’m going to mix them with the slip or paint over them with slip.
Here are the test tiles I made for that:
I used red iron oxide, cobalt oxide with a white porcelain slip. I first applied them to smooth surfaced test tiles and then moved onto dome shaped test tiles with a little texture. I mixed the oxides with slip as well as scraped bits off sponged some off, drew indent lines into them and overlayed the oxide colours.
I started to look back at the time I spent in life modelling. I wanted to base my pots on the loose drawings of the model I had done.
With this piece I was looking the form of the chest and ribs. These pots are still coil built with the rough textured surface.
In this drawing I liked the way the hip bones jutted out. The vessel I made did not come out quite the same way I wanted it to but I did like the outcome.
I focussed on the shoulders with this vessel. I wasted to make a pot that had a strong physical appearance and I think using the shoulders to carry that out worked really well for me.
I couldn’t quite get the perfect body reference to create a large bellied pot as our life model isn’t so large so I decided to work off the idea I had that created this black pot. Each pot I made for this project has quite a lose open rim as I felt that a prominent neck and rim gave the pots the wrong structure I wanted to carry out an organic form.