This tuesday we are attending a ceramics workshop with Kate Radford, this is to help us create pieces that will develop our FMP Projects 🙂 We are currently in the process of designing our ceramic pieces to ensure we have a plan for when we arrive tuesday morning and can make the most out of our day at the studio.
We have been shown a power point presenation of ceramic artists to inspire us, i am particularly drawn to the work of Maria Rubinke, who creates surreal ceramic sculptures featuring childlike imagery and sweet food (like my FMP) with a macabre twist. Below are some of the pieces i admired from the presentation:
Her work is disturbing but its stunning aswell, i really like the combination of contrasting emotions in her work, that i think will be of use in my FMP project because i am trying to contrast ideas of sweetness with ideas of political injustice, whereas she contrasts sweetness with images of mortality and vulnerability.
we were also shown the intricate porcelain sculptures of the Garth Clarke and Mark Del Vecchio Collection, the elaborate sculpture of a skull caught my eye:
i have also been influenced by images of elaborate blythe dolls, which are porcelain and i have decided one of my ideas will be creating a blythe doll infused with sweets, to give the macabre view that Maria Rubinke has in her work, below are some blythe dolls for inspiration:
Below are the quick designs i created for the ceramics workshop:
My idea is based around the idea of Controversial political leader Kim Jong Un and the recent news story about how he put his uncle to execution in the most inhumane cruel way ( being fed to starved dogs, whilst alive) and now it has also been revealed that all of the uncles relatives including children have been executed too. My idea is sugarcoating the horrible events, sort of as a psychological experiment to see whether once the horrible situation is coated with sugary imagery, is it still as obviously horrible. I also want to make a blythe doll face, as a little experiment to do with the idea of sugar rotting the mind and body.
Kates workshop was a huge success, i achieved all 3 of my desired outcomes and if they bake well and look good when they are glazed i will consider the idea as a possible idea for my final piece.
At Kates studio we’re allowed to use any of her materials and all over her tools which is a great chance to experiment, i ended up using just my hands and a pencil to create the faces i made and Kate had a mould of a cupcake bottom ready for casting which was a real stroke of luck!
beginning of Kim Jong Un’s face
i was pleased with the likeness i was achieving 🙂
this is the cupcake i cast using liquid clay
this is the hollow ball of clay Kate taught me to make, this is much easier and failsafe way of doing a face, because it is hollow its less likely to explode due to air bubbles whilst being baked and its easy to reshape as i please
Kim Jong Cupcake! Kate suggested liquid porcelain slip to use for the “Icing” and i mixed it very thick so it looked like icing.
the finished cake, with a cherry on top 🙂
Kim Jong’s uncle is being created below, he will look more like the real person once i have made little wire glasses to go on the sculpture after baking
Below is my blythe doll face 🙂 which i was very pleased with:
I have now had back the final fired pieces, and have found that i am a little disappointed with the outcomes not being as smooth and clean looking as i had hoped, but this leaves me open to trying new materials such as porcelain which could give a smoother finish. Below are the pieces, whilst i have been waiting for these to be fired i have progressed with other ideas that leave my original ceramics idea feeling quite unoriginal and not as exciting, but i will paint them and glaze them to gauge whether they will be any use as final piece ideas. I decided to try and keep my pieces looking bright and not too busy when painting them, so i used a candy floss pink for accents and white for the main colour, i used ceramics paint but unfortunately it did not help with the rough surface of the clay and i was not very pleased with the outcome. They have been a good experiment and i think the face of Kim Jong had a decent likeness to him, but i dont think they are good enough for a final piece idea and are far too small also to be considered for a final display.
The ceramics workshop with Kate Radford allowed me to experiment with creating some of my earliest ideas, featuring political figures combined with sweets/ cake to change the public’s immediate perspective of them. Sugar coating in its most literal form, I created the North Korean Leader whose been surrounded by an abundance of controversy since beginning his reign as leader with his head being featured on a cupcake, complete with icing and a cherry on top. This is a form of ironic humour about his appearance because he looks like a young overweight boy that enjoys sweets, and a way of sugar coating him in a literal manner the way he tries to sugar coat his horrific actions and leadership. I was drawn to creating him because he is such a strange deluded character that believes his subjects adore him, even though he is a heartless dictator and he portrays himself as a “nations sweetheart” in a manner of speaking. His most recent horrific act was the murder of his Uncle Jang Song Thaek, by feeding him alive to 120 starved dogs. Now this act is so despicable beyond belief, yet it stayed on the news for merely days and there was no intervention from any other country, whereas I believe if it were to happen somewhere like China or Russia, the world would be a buzz with anger and would take some form of action. It is this “sugar coating” that I wish to address with a final piece. Therefore I created a second ceramic piece featuring Jang Song Thaek, looking distressed in facial expression and weeping his own icing, if I were to make him again I would have him broken in half or cracked, to accentuate the incident. I enjoyed making both ceramic pieces, which were inspired by the artist Maria Rubinke who creates murderous scenes involving sweet things like ice cream cones. I think I achieved a feasible likeness, but in future I would make such pieces out of porcelain or a smoother material than clay because in the kiln the pieces became rough and less recognisable. Whilst I enjoyed creating them, I don’t think they showed my idea in a way that is identifiable or particularly shocking, so I will not be continuing with this for a final piece idea. This is also because I’d like to stay truer to my FMP Proposal and use many elements of real sugar in my final piece, but I will carry on using the horrible acts of the north Korean leader in my work because I find his lifestyle and character to be interesting and controversial. I made a third ceramic piece, based on a separate idea featuring Blythe Dolls, I have always had an interest in them and whilst they are meant to be sweet and cute dolls with the aesthetics of pretty little girls, they look quite menacing and macabre and its contradictions like these that suit my project. My project in itself is about two contradictory ideas and materials and I enjoyed created the little doll head, but I only spent the last 10 minutes of the workshop on her so she wasn’t going to feature in the final piece but I take it as good practice for ceramics techniques. I did learn new techniques from this workshop I can carry forth into other projects and I have improved my sculpting skills. I don’t think ceramics will feature heavily in my final piece but it was a useful experiment. I did enjoy painting my 2 korean cupcake pieces, but i found the colour scheme did not work as i had expected and would have looked better all white, like porcelain 🙂