Project Plan Proposal

Considering my experiences with my St Fagons project brief and field modules I’ve decided to create some hand built vessels with a figurative nature. I want to move away from the animal sculptures I was making during first term as I feel I was getting caught up into one way of making. I want to expand my hand building techniques. The figurative module has been able to fuel my inspiration for this.

My main focus will be to make a vessel that reflects the body. I took the idea when we visited the ken Stradling collection. There were a few pieces there that I liked but my favourite piece was the Betty Blandino pot. I liked the idea that she uses the figure to model her vessels.

I plan to take some time doing life modelling. These are going to be the base idea for however many pots I make. I also hope to experiment with surface texture and colour to see how I can find a way to mimic the natural makeup of skin.

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Experience from Field and Ken Stradling

I developed a handful of different skills during the field projects, skills that I think could be useful towards my next project brief Iconic Living. During the first half of the field experience I worked on the figurative group. During this short project I was able to practice my drawing skills with life modelling as well as my hand sculpting skills. I had the amazing opportunity to have a workshop with Claire Curneen where I was able to learn several different hand building techniques.

During the second half of my field experience I took part in the Urban Sketching project. The drawing drugging this brief taught me to be more and less precise about my sketches. Urban Sketching focussed on not how beautiful a finished drawing was but looked at how many final drawings you had. We tried a number of different techniques to practice this such as not looking at the paper as you draw, do a continuous line drawing, just look at the shading and so on. These techniques I found were quite useful in the end and could be used through out my next project.

Ken Stradling 

We had the opportunity to visit the Ken Stradling collection and during our trip we were tasked to choose an artefact that could inspire our work for the new project brief (iconic living).

The object that stood out to me was a coil built pot created by Betty Blandino.

I chose this piece because I like the raw applicationof the slip. I think that this pot looks very natural, it could resemble a wave beaten rock found by the sea with neutral colours. This piece is also very light weight which was unexpected because of its size.

Betty Blandino

My ideas for our project brief iconic living has been quite influenced by Betty Blandino’s work. I first came across this artist whilst looking around the Ken Stradling collection and found the piece very inspiring. I was drawn to the pots large body and felt the need to hold it. I was actually quite shocked to feel its weight as there was nothing to it for its size. The walls were very thin and the vessel had so much texture to its surface. I felt that the textures and colours that she chose gave the pot an organic presence and that i would like to incorporate into my own work.

 

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Elizabeth Assunta Blandino was introduced to ceramics in 1957 when she enrolled into Goldsmiths College in London. She was focussing her studies of painting during in her course but did have one day a week of ceramics where she was taught by Gordan baldwin and Ian Auld. Both very influential hand builders during the 50s and 60s.

Blandino carried on into studies at the London University Institute of Education from 1971 to 1973. It was that year where she married Dr Gwyn Jones, moved to Cowbridge Cardiff and acquired her own kiln and studio and began potting. Soon after she gained quite a lot of success. She was gifted with an award by the Welsh Art Council and was then noticed by Joan Crossley Holland who then started exhibiting her work.

“Blandino, one of the finest exponents of handbuilding techniques, developed a very different approach from the RCA and Camberwell potters. She started with a rough thick-walled bowl made with her fist from a ball of moist clay. This was then placed in a deep mould and pinched thinner and upwards until it reached the point where successive coils could be added. The resulting pots usually have paper-thin walls and a thicker base that gives the pot greater stability. Her work is almost always asymmetrical and her shapes, while massive, are deceptively light and give the impression of rising. The surface texture created by her fingers and scraping is enhanced by her decoration. Usually this is a white slip that is painted on and then rubbed off, and coloured oxides (most often blue or green), which are rubbed into the surface. While she often made small forms, she was at her best when working on a larger scale. Her pots are consistently of very high quality. She was never interested in making functional pots, preferring the tactile and sculptural possibilities of the vessel form. “Changing the soft, lumpen clay into a permanent form of dignity is the essence of my work,” she said. “Ideally I want each shape to spring up with its own unique life — a calm, poised, aloof, mysterious object.””  (The Times).

She retired from pottery in 2005 to look after her very ill husband though he passed away a year later. Betty Blandino passed away September 10th 2011 at the age of 83.