I can’t believe I’ve been here for two weeks now – I’ve been very busy, but there’s still so much I want to do before I leave. My residency culminates in a solo exhibition at Guldagergaard’s ’Apple House Gallery’ so the pressure is on to have a collection of beautifully finished and exciting pieces to fill this contemporary space.
This past week has involved a lot of testing clay bodies, coloured slips and glazes whilst my plaster moulds dry out. My way of making needs a casting slip and throwing clay with very similar shrinkages in order for the pieces not to crack or break apart in the firing - this will be particularly important for the large vessels I’m planning. The clays and slips available at Guldagerggard are different to the ones I’m used to working with at home so I need to test them thoroughly before I start work on my final forms.
I am also taking the oppurtunity to create some tests for the soda and woodfiring kilns that will be fired over the next few weeks. This is an area in which I have only a little experience so I am really looking forward to being involved.
One of the joys of Guldagergaard is being surrounded by a staggering amount of studio pottery and ceramic art. Setting the table for dinner is a pleasure – sifting through an endless variety of beautiful handmade tableware. From my bedroom window I look out over the gardens to Paul Scott’s wonderful tile installation set perfectly within the landscape. On a more modest scale I stumble across hidden pieces as I go about my work; salt glazed tiles set in amongst the stones of the path or a tiny ceramic tableau tucked into a niche, out of immediate eyeline. One full week into my residency and I am still discovering new pieces and with them, fresh inspiration.
In the studio, work continues on my large mould. After adding and turning away what seems like acres of plaster, I have reached a profile I’m happy with and the model is finished. On Monday I will pour the plaster mould and by the end of the week I hope to begin making these new, statement vessel pieces.
Welcome to my first blog post from Guldagergaard, the International Ceramics Research Center, Denmark. This blog will chart the progress of my month long residency here and the work it generates.
I arrived in Copenhagen on Sunday and travelled south to Guldagergaard through sunshine and a distinctive palette of matt blacks, sparkling whites and vivid ochres, greys and reds. These colour combinations are very striking and will make a beautiful starting point for some glaze tests later in my stay.
At the Center I am surrounded by ceramic artists from around the world, all sharing ideas and experience. It’s a wonderful atmosphere and as I arrange my favourite tools that have travelled from the UK with me, I begin to feel at home.
One of the main ambitions I have for my time here is to substantially increase the size of my hybrid vessels forms. The first stage to achieving this is creating a customised plaster mould about 65cm wide and 45cm tall to form the bottom section of my pieces. With the help of talented studio technician Harriet, we fashion a wood and plaster extension to the current whirler dimensions. Forming the large plaster model begins tomorrow – I’ll report progress in my next post.