Where to begin… back at the start of Practice 2? Well, I seem to have found exactly where my practice sits with myself. My own experience and my reaction to the blog post on feminism resulting in the death of femininity. I’ve gone with my instinct and begun to use clay to make my work. The army has led me to become more interested in illustrative ceramics. As well as digging my heels in and reaffirming that my broad scope of research in Practice 1 was necessary, I added artists to my research alongside keeping an eye on the necessary ongoing conversations surrounding gender and stereotyping. As I searched for artists it became apparent that it was a challenge to find illustrators that successfully challenged stereotypes beyond the surface (in my opinion). I found myself leaning towards fine artists communicating personal experience such as Louise Bourgeois and David Hockney, artists using a naive approach; Bob Traylor, Jonny Hannah, and literary creatives. Once I had decided to risk the outcome of MA and dive into the ceramic unknown, I began to source contemporary figurative ceramicists and illustrators using ceramics such as Claire Loder, Veronica Cay, Laura Bird, and Cathie Pilkington.
The plan is to continue making the Tittymama army. Ideally I will be connecting with women and collectively making the army. This could prove to be complicated. I will need to be able to afford to hire the location of the workshops and the materials, as well as secure participation. I need to research potential locations and participants and research how to run the workshops successfully. There would be a chance of engaging women from the university itself but it becomes complicated as if I were to hold the workshop it would have to take place in the ceramics room itself. I would have to get the approval of staff and also hope that people would stay late to make the figures. I need to work out exactly what I need to do.
Working with clay itself is proving challenging but satisfying. I was disappointed today to discover a piece I made last week has dried with cracks. I’m sure this is because there was too much moisture added to the slip I used for texture. I need to speak with the technician to see if I can rectify this or what I can do differently next time. I also (stupidly) knocked the head off a piece trying to ensure there was an air hole as the one I originally made shrunk as the piece dried out. It was brought to my attention that I could have made the piece without the bottom being closed. It all seems so obvious now. I’ve been told to start to make my Tittymamas hollow so they can be fired. Any moisture trapped deep inside will cause them to crack when they are fired. They do need to be put into the kiln as they are not strong enough to be transported; after every journey some part has broken off. This is taking a little extra time but not as much as I expected. I am also pressing type into the clay using stamps. I would like to tell some of the women’s stories, but not all. I want the type to be visible but not overpowering the figure.
All in all I feel that what I want to do is not viable for one year. well, six months really as I am part-time. To do one thing well would be better for my course. I need to discuss my ideas for the year with my tutor. My initial thoughts are to take the Tittymamas forward, still work on successfully making a 3D piece the has been fired and glazed so I have the knowledge and experience to take forward. I would like to work on my 2D idea to create a publication that looks like a children’s book but it is really reporting my
experience with gender and gender stereotypes. I could work on this as a break from the clay. The outcome will be postponed until after the Tittymama piece.