My Mum's feeling much better now I'm pleased to say. It was lovely to see them and we had a busy, but nevertheless, refreshing break.
This little box, in our bedroom at my folks' place, is the first 'pot' I ever made, some twenty-eight years ago, when I was studying on an Art Foundation course at Tresham College in Kettering. The decoration was created by pressing an 'X' from a set of printing blocks, into the clay before it was assembled. It was made from red earthenware clay and glazed with some kind of pea green glaze which allowed the body colour to show through in thinner areas, but pooled and hung in the detail where thicker - much in the same way as I use slip nowadays, although back then it was much more by luck than judgement. I'm glad my first piece was made from the 'dirty red stuff'.
As we didn't go to the caravan, which had been the original plan, we went for days out instead. My parents live a relatively short train journey from London, so we spent a day in the big City, visiting the galleries. Here's Luke outside the Tate Modern.
Each seed has been individually sculpted and painted by specialists working in small-scale workshops in the Chinese city of Jingdezhen. Far from being industrially produced, they are the effort of hundreds of skilled hands. Poured into the interior of the Turbine Hall’s vast industrial space, the 100 million seeds form a seemingly infinite landscape.
Porcelain is almost synonymous with China and, to make this work, Ai Weiwei has manipulated traditional methods of crafting what has historically been one of China’s most prized exports. Sunflower Seeds invites us to look more closely at the ‘Made in China’ phenomenon and the geo-politics of cultural and economic exchange today.'
I had hoped to get to see the new ceramics gallery at the V&A, but unfortunately there wasn't enough time and I don't think Hil and the boys would have shared my excitement, so I'll go back there another day with some pottery chums.
Wandering past Central St Martin's School of Art, I glanced through the window and noticed the blue plaque that I was commissioned to make five years ago, to commemorate the first disastrous gig of the Sex Pistols. The gig had happened in 1975 in that very building. It had been moved into the foyer(previously it had hung in the room where the gig had actually occurred). It was funny to see it again and to remember the panic of trying to get the blue paint dry the night before. Here's a review of the unveiling by Glen Matlock, back in 2005.
Here's a Clive Bowen version. Clive makes some superb 'medieval' jugs, I'm lucky enough to own a good number of them. You can see a lot of Clive's work in mine, he's one of my foremost influences, as a man and a maker - I've spent many hours of my life stoking his huge kiln. I think that slipware makers in general in this country are greatly indebted to him, as he's made the 'dirty brown stuff' acceptable in the galleries, which had always in the past been dominated by stoneware pots.