Friday, 16 December 2011

Biennale de la Ceramique

I will be exhibiting at the Belgian ceramics biennale next year, with two of my 'Collected Animal' pieces.

Ceramics Biennale of Andenne, Belgium
May 27th - June 3rd 2012

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Alberta project continues

I've included some images of work in progress, currently under way in the studio. It shows more enclosed forms, this time plates, at different stages. These are the pieces before the decals are applied to create the final layers of images and text (the decals are shown separately before being cut out and applied). I decided to revisit the plate format for these pieces; they reference animal collections in Alberta and are in a sense commemorative plates for the different native species.

The pieces will go in for their third and final firing this week, and will be documented soon! It is a gradual process, as the surface imagery is built up on the handbuilt forms over several stages. 

Friday, 25 November 2011

Forthcoming exhibition

I will be exhibiting in a special one off event next month, along with other artists at a venue in the West End of Edinburgh. Organised by glass artist Keiko Mukaide, we have hired a space in the Caledonian Language School for a three day festive event. There will be glass, ceramics, jewellery and textiles. Everyone is welcome to visit, details below! Refreshments served on the Thursday evening preview. There will also be a raffle with a chance to win a bottle of whisky plus a hand-blown glass.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Alberta project

The development of new work continues; this draws on source material gathered in Alberta, western Canada, in the summer. Continuing with the animal collection theme, this group of pieces references a particular collection of stuffed native animals viewed in an outdoor accessories store in Calgary; Bass Pro Shops (a North American chain of stores). Like the museum collections explored in earlier work, these animals are fixed into 'appropriate' poses, carefully displayed in naturalistic dioramas. The landscape is indicated in the displays, with fake rock surfaces, trees and painted scenic back drops. However unlike the museum animals, these have not been stuffed and mounted for the purpose of informing and educating the audience; rather purely commercial reasons. Hence a dilemma is created; should the audience enjoy the display and the opportunity to see the animals up close, or should we disapprove on ethical grounds? (According to anecdotal evidence, it is likely that several animals were shot to create one authentic complete animal for display). It is this ambivalence and complexity that is of interest. Hunting is an integral aspect of the region for locals and tourists; but as an outsider how much is it appropriate to criticise or comment on particular activities? 

The work developed presents the animals, frozen into their poses, contained within the frame of the rectangular or square form. The landscape they originally came from is referenced as a scenic backdrop. The context of the stuffed animals is only slightly apparent; they are reintegrated into the scenery, reduced to silhouetted form or translucent photographic image. They appear to be an integral part of the landscape to some extent, and yet something is slightly off-kilter. Subtle visual clues refer to the backdrop of the shop and its displays. Like the earlier pieces, these are wall pieces, simple flat, hollow rectangular forms developed to contain pictorial elements. The text refers to a slogan used in the shop ('More outdoors for your money').
This work marks the beginnings of a return to tourism related subject matter, but a continuation of the animal collection theme.

Some of this work will be exhibited soon at Byard Art, Cambridge during their Christmas show. 

Biennial visit

Although my blog focuses on my own ceramic practice, after a visit to Stoke I thought I would include a few brief comments and images of the British Ceramics Biennial. Located in a variety of venues in Stoke on Trent, including the old Spode factory site, it offers a broad survey of contemporary ceramics. Particularly of interest is the breadth of objects that fall under the umbrella of 'ceramics'; within art, design, research, education, and industry. I have to admit that I have become increasingly critical of ceramic/craft exhibitions. However I felt that the Biennial really showcases the possibilities of ceramics for creative or industrial use. The Spode factory couldn't be a more appropriate context; and I would recommend a visit! Particular highlights are Philip Eglin's pieces and the Airspace Gallery's collaborative experimental project.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Beginnings of a new project

For the last few weeks I have been busy working with new source material gathered in Alberta, Canada during the summer. Continuing with the broad theme of natural history collections, the first group of work will be based on animal displays viewed in an outdoor accessories shop in Calgary. In contrast to the collection referenced in the D'Arcy Thompson Museum, Dundee, these animals have been collected and arranged into display for purely commercial purposes. The first few test pieces explore possible compositions.

As the project evolves updates will be included. The first few finished pieces are under way; like the previous work these will be fairly two dimensional in form. It is intended to continue the theme, but to investigate different contexts of the taxidermied animal. 

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Future Craft exhibition

Three pieces are currently exhibited in Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 'Future Craft'; curated by Dr Louise Valentine and Andy Rice. This follows as a result of my craft residency at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art last year.

Monday, 5 September 2011

RGS Conference

I recently attended the Royal Geographic Society Annual Conference in London, co-presenting a paper as part of the 'Travel, Tourism and Art' sessions, with Kevin Hannam from the University of Sunderland. To add something different, and compliment the usual Powerpoint presentation, I brought a small group of my work for audience discussion and interaction. Using objects in this kind of context is not that common. Although giving such presentations to a academic audience can be quite pressured, there was generally a very positive response. Most were fascinated by this chance to interact, handle the work and ask questions. 

Other talks offered a variety of new topics of interest; from Japanese book illustration to the picturesque. In particular it served as a reminder how we (as artists) often see and communicate somewhat differently, and how essential it is to communicate what (and why!) we create to non-art audiences. I found immersion in this context (as the only practicing artist) of geography and tourism researchers, architects, art historians and PhD students, to name a few, a rewarding experience. It has encouraged me to continue to research other fields of interest that can inform my work, and to continue to consider it in a much broader context. I was delighted to be selected for this prestigious event, and hope to attend next year. 

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Conference and exhibition update

After a few weeks away in Calgary, Canada, I've gathered some new source material which I'll be using over the coming weeks to instigate new work. This will relate to the previous 'Collected Animal' series. 

I have various exhibitions coming up over the next few months:
A wall piece from the series has been selected for exhibition at the 7th International Biennale of Ceramics 2011, Kapfenberg, Austria. 30th Sept - 6th Nov 2011.

New work will also be shown at the Contemporary Ceramics Centre, London from the begining of Oct for four months.

Byard Arts Christmas show will include some of the new pieces; 5th Nov -25th Dec.

Finally a small group of pieces will be shown in Halifax, Nova Scotia; in association with Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art (Dundee); details to follow!

This week I will be revisiting my research into tourism and atttending the Royal Geographical Society International Conference in London, supported by Creative Scotland. In collaboration with Professor Kevin Hannam, my research and ceramic work was selected for presentation at the Travel, Tourism and Art session. It coincides with the publication of a collaborative paper  'PRODUCING CERAMIC ART WORKS THROUGH TOURISM RESEARCH'; in the Annals of Tourism Research. This is an exciting opportunity to reach new audiences, and hopefully will generate new contacts and potential opportunities. A report on the conference will follow in a few days...

Philadelphia Salt & Pepper set 2009

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

More images

Here are some new images fresh from a photo shoot with John McKenzie. Finally the new work will be exhibited for the first time outside of the studio at Byard Art, Cambridge ( during their summer show.

'The Collected Animal'

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Forthcoming exhibitions

Details of two exhibitions I'll be in; will be exhibiting some of my earlier lidded boxes.

'Memory', Beetroot Tree Gallery, South Street, Draycot, Derbyshire DE72 3PP
30th July - 11h Sept

'HerStory', Link Gallery, Winchester 8th June - 8th July

Saturday, 30 April 2011

New pieces

Untitled 'box' forms, approx 21cm wide. Examples of the first resolved pieces in the new project, created in the studio over the last few weeks. On some the silhoutte is cut throught the front only, revealing the colour or image inside. On others, the silhoutte is cut through both front and back, offset slightly to create the illusion of a shadow.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Open Weekend at the studio

The Adam Pottery
Special weekend event

7th & 8th May 2011

11am - 6pm Saturday & 2pm - 6pm Sunday


Meet the six resident makers and have a look around the studios and gallery. A range of pieces will be on show. In addition, everyone is welcome to drop in and have a go at making ceramics themselves; handbuilding and throwing (processes will be demonstrated). If you would like to keep your work it will be glazed and fired for you at a nominal cost.  Come and feel what clay can do - you will never take ceramics for granted again! (Suitable for all ages - children must be accompanied.)

76 Henderson Row
Tel: 0131 557 3978

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Conclusion of project at Dundee

The Craft Bursary Project at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art is now finished. It's been a rewarding five months, and a unique opportunity to develop a new project. It will no doubt continue to have a positive effect on my work. The next few months will be spent using the experimental pieces, drawings and photos to create a resolved body of work back in my own studio. Source material will be added to as appropriate.
The project has served to highlight how influential such a residency or placement can be for creative development, with the time for thinking, reflecting, drawing and writing just as valuable as making itself.

Some of my previous work based on research into tourism will be exhibited at The Collins Gallery, Glasgow in 'Unite'. 16th April - 7th May.

'This Was On The Way To...' Jug, h. 20cm

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Finished pieces

Work in progress. These pieces will inform a larger group of work to be created after the residency. Each is approx 21cm wide.