Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Best 3 pieces of advice...

1. When I was feeling a real lack of interest in the work I was producing, and overloaded with different advice and conflicting opinions. I was told simply to "Make what you want to make". 
And it really makes sense. Yes I would like to do well in this course and get the best marks possible, but I want that to be for my ideas and designs not for those imagined by another.
Advice is useful but you need to rely on your own judgement.

2. Another piece of advise I was given was to "remember to put these shape holder thingies in the tops of your boxes otherwise they will warp and then the lid won't fit"... and thats an issue everyone can relate too.

3. My final bit of advice is "Be excellent to each other." (Bill and Ted) because sometimes films have the best advice.

I hope these are useful you as well.

Friday, 25 April 2014

I wish I had made that...

For this blog entry I have chosen a ring by jeweller, Ruth Tomlinson from her 'Encrustations' collection.

Retailing for £750, this ring is made with a base of sterling silver and decorated with gold, peridot, aquamarine and antique beads.
This price seems very reasonable for a unique piece of jewellery made using a variety of techniques. A quick internet search for jewellery of a similar price shows a long list of far less imaginative pieces.
The amount of detail in all of Tomlinson's work is amazing, she shows an obvious affinity with the materials and talks about her passion for drawing attention to minute details, which is a theme I also find fascinating. I like how her work has the ability to appear both glamorous and natural in style.
At first it seemed that this piece had no relation to my own work, but after considering the layering of decoration, and the encrusting; embellishing and opulent style shown in the design, it becomes easy to draw a comparison, particularly in my latest work with the layers of glaze, lustres and transfers which I used to create this type of luxurious style. 
Her website is definitely worth a browse:

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Two more trinket boxes...

These have been made in fine bone china, which I thought would be really difficult to use but I feel they have turned out even nicer that my porcelain ones. These are thinner, whiter and glazed a lot better. One does have a small crack in it but that was me being impatient.

Friday, 4 April 2014

And Finally...

Here is the Wedgwood exhibition space all set up. It took a lot of time and shifting plinths around but the layout is now sorted. The banner and name card still need to go in but thats just little things.

Everyones work really came together, there is a brilliant mixture of materials and styles, its very exciting. Hopefully everyone will enjoy it.

The Exhibit

My tiles and boxes

One of my favourite tiles


Friday, 21 March 2014

Wedgwood Museum Presentation.

We had our presentation to Wedgwood, and it went really well. Normally I like to plan out the the last detail what I am going to say, but this time I tried to make it more natural. I did forget a few words but overall I think they liked what I had done, even a promise for a purchase of one of my boxes which was great.
It was a nerve-racking experience at first but everyone was really friendly and encouraging, showing plenty of interest which was invaluable.
They seemed very pleased with a lot of the work, with all my peers getting great feedback as well.
Here are some photos I took of the table with our work on.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Can a prototype be final?

Here are my final box prototypes, sample lids and tiles that I will be presenting to the Wedgwood museum tomorrow. I have managed to make up for my dodgy glazing with my lustre lids, but practice makes perfect, its all a learning curve and any other working cliche you can think of...

I've even considered the tiny details. The other two have some birds and a vase on the inside.

And my tiles have given me inspiration for my personal practice part of this module. Any excuse to use more lustre.

Connecting with Others...

As part of the wedgwood museum project we were encouraged to interview two people connected to the project and find out there view on the Museum, project an anything else we would be interested to learn.

I contacted Ms Emma Mather, Learning and Access Officer at the museum, and received some really interesting views on the Wedgwood museum as well as talking about what she has learnt whilst working there.

Here is what she had to say. 

What is your favourite piece of work, collection or designer in the

My favourite piece is a perhaps the most difficult question, I think a piece I like the best is the tray of Jasper Trials. 

Jasper Trials

As a visual piece I love the colours and the shape of the tiles, also the impressed letters at the top of each trial indicating where it had been placed in the kiln or the written numbers relating each trial to its recipe in the Josiah's experiment book. This tray of trials is one of many we have in the museum collection and of course was never meant to be viewed as a aesthetically pleasing piece in its own right. The trials were a working document.I also like them because the illustrate Josiah Wedgwood the man and his great desire to develop new bodies and glazes and his attention to detail when keeping records, also his desire to improve the pottery industry in general as well as his own products.

What first drew you to working with Wedgwood pottery?

I came to The Wedgwood Museum after working as a Education Officer at Ceramica which was a visitor experience for children in Burlslem, My background is in Contemporary Applied Arts specialising in ceramics and embroidery. After Ceramica I came to The Wedgwood Museum in 2008 as a member of the front of house staff and began to do guided tours and learn a more about the collection. I then went on maternity leave to have my son and whenI returned there was a position available in the Education Department. This is what I am doing now, it is perfect for me as it allows me to expand my knowledge of the collection and to work with people of all ages. Helping them to enjoy and appreciate the fantastic collection we have.

Who in your opinion are the most prominent designers in the Wedgwood

I guess the most prominent are the most well known and they would be the 20th century designers such as Daisy Makeig Jones and Keith Murray and people like Eric Ravilious. Keith Murray’s work was usually marked with his own back stamp as well as the Wedgwood back stamp, which is unusual in the history of Wedgwood as many designers were not allowed to sign their work. Of course as well as those people who are interested in designers to many others Wedgwood is known for 'that blue and white stuff' Jasper is a body that people either love or hate and some visitors think that is all Wedgwood made. They are often surprised by the variety of different ware on display.    

Keith Murray Vase 1935

What is the most surprising thing you have learnt about Wedgwood since
working with them?

I think the most surprising thing I have learnt is about Josiah Wedgwood himself and his attitude to women. He was very modern in his opinions and not at all what we would imagine a 18th century man to be like. He had a great relationship with his wife and considered her to be a very important part of his work both in the practical help she gave him with his experiments and in the styling and designing of the ware. He realised in a time when women were really considered second-class citizens that in fact they were the ones who were buying the ceramics to decorate their homes and therefore spending the money. The whole shopping experience he created was catered to women and how they would like to shop and he made the products they would like to buy.    

What criteria are needed for an object to be put on display, and how
often are the collections changed around?

The criteria for an object to be on display are varied really, In this museum we tell the story of Wedgwood from Josiah Wedgwood's birth in 1730 all the way through to the 20th century. We have many ceramic items on display but also pieces of supporting archive which help to tell the story.
At The moment the display is changed very little as that story would be affected. We do however use the temporary exhibition case at the exist of the gallery to host small exhibitions by different artists and designers.

How do you see ceramics developing in the future, and how do you feel the
museum will be a part of that?

I think that the ceramics produced in the future will reflect the growing desire for people to know where products have originated from, I hope this means people will start to invest in well made and well deigned English ceramics rather that cheap ceramics made abroad. This I hope will support our designers like yourself and redevelop the ceramic industry in Stoke On Trent. I hope the museum can be a part of this by running projects like the souvenir project, asking young designers to use our collection to create new work and giving them an opportunity to sell that work from our shop.
Projects like this help our collection to live on by inspiring new work.

What do you feel is the role of the ceramics industry in general?

The ceramic industry should be supporting young designers in developing careers. Creating a product that  is affordable for the general public without compromising on design and manufacturing as much as possible in the UK.

What is the next major event you will be a part of commemorating at the

We are currently working on a list of events, exhibition and film
projects and education resources to commemorate World War 1. These will explore the Wedgwood family/ factory/ workers roll in the conflict and will roll out over the next 4 years.

The Wedgwood Museum:


I also talked to one of my peers, Chloe Dymond   to find out how she was feeling about our project.

What piece or pieces did you find most inspiring in the collection?

From the museums collection I was most inspired by the black basalt pieces made by Robert Minkin.
Robert Minkin 1967

Did you find the museum engaging and well presented?

I felt the museum was very engaging and the layout had a good flow to it.

Do you feel Wedgwood still has a large influence on the ceramics industry now?

I believe this is true Wedgwood still play a major part of ceramics today. As shown within this brief, we have been given, the museum collections has inspired new collection to be made.

What are you hoping to gain from the experience of this project?

I expected to gain experience and exploration in making, marketing and selling.

Did anything in the museum surprise you?

was surprise at how different aspect of the 20th century collections look key contemporary. For instance the bright acrylic packaging box by Eduardo Paolozzi.

Eduardo Paolozzi

(Chloe's lovely blog is available here >

I would like to say thank you to both Emma and Chloe for answering my questions.