I have been selected for this years Jerwood Makers Open, a prestigious commissioning award giving five makers the opportunity to freely develop new ideas central to their individual practice.
For some time I have been exploring the concept of veneration, with this opportunity I will be using large porcelain bells as a symbolic form to venerate the landscape. Pembrokeshire has some wonderful sea caves and I have been exploring these as potential locations to hang the bells. The Idea is to hang the bells and to document them using film and sound.
With the hanging of the bells I wish to venerate a natural architectural space but also an experience. I grew up on the coast of Pembrokeshire, and spent my childhood on its beaches, cliffs and in the many deep and mysterious sea caves. The transition from the outside world as you drift into a natural internal space is captivating. The change in light, temperature, atmosphere and sound also congers ones emotions. A pure white bell suspended in the entrance to a cave would be very evocative of that moment.
With the film I hope to capture the receding tide, the sound of the sea, water dripping from above, the wind and the chime of the bell as the light changes within the cave.
Over the past two month I have been making the bells, next I need to fire them and then in April/May I will be hanging and filming. The completed commissions will be presented for the first time in an exhibition at JVA at Jerwood Space, London from 10 July to 25 August 2013, before touring the UK.
I am very excited that my film ‘Earth to Earth‘ is going to be shown at an outdoor event in the centre of Buenos Aires on the 17th of May. Alongside story-telling and poetry, video art will be shown on huge LED screens ordinarily used for advertising. The aim is to create a contemplative mood on the widest avenue in the world. It will be quite a juxtaposition to have my film, which is so much about nature and the wild shown in such an urban setting. The organisers and I hope that this will have be very effective. I also like the idea that the Welsh landscape is going to be shown in the capitol of Argentina with its historic and linguistic connections to Wales. For those of you who can speak Spanish have a look at this…
For the past two months I have been working on the Earth to Earth project. This is part of my Arts Council of Wales research grant. This time I decided to document the weathering of the Jar using Time Lapse Photography. At first I thought this would be straight forward but the more I thought about it the more involved the project became. Firstly I needed a way to house the camera that was weather proof. I ended up modifying an electrical junction box. I knew from the experience of past attempts that the Jar would last anything from a few days to two weeks so I needed to power the camera for a long period. I used a 12v battery and a DC to DC power converter. Just getting this far took a lot of research and technical knowledge for which I am very grateful to Colin Gregory.
The Jar will be photographed day and night every 33 seconds until it has weathered away. Each shot will become a single frame in a film with 25 frames per second. The camera will take 109 pictures and hour which will translate to just over 4 seconds of film. For this I had to work out all the best camera settings, the interval between shots, the aperture, the shutter speed, the ISO and so on. More technical research and long conversations with my brother Greg. As a teenager I had a manual SLR camera and that foundation in understanding cameras really paid off.
Last week I did a trial run, at first I thought it wouldn’t be, but I soon realised despite all my research I still had a lot to get right. The results however from the trial are very encouraging and exciting. The changing weather, the stars at night, moon light, sun rise, rain all captured on camera.
This project has been a journey in its self and I have been contemplating for a long time how best to illustrate it. I am hopeful that this will be an interesting depiction. I have never exhibited this project in any capacity and just recently I have had interest in it from a number of places. Most excitingly I have been asked to be part of a major exhibition at Ruthin Craft Centre in January and they are particularly interested in exhibiting this piece. Lets hope it goes well.
This autumn, the V&A and Crafts Council will celebrate the role of making in our lives by presenting an eclectic selection of over 100 exquisitely crafted objects. As part of this major exhibition entitled ‘Power of Making’ people from around the world were invited to upload short films about making and a selection of the best entries will be continually screened in the exhibition. This film by Greg Rodland Buick, of me throwing a large Moon Jar was selected. It is so great to have such a talented photographer and now film maker as a brother.
Just over six weeks to make a kiln full of work for this years kiln opening, the main event at my annual Open Studio.
Over the past six weeks I have been making a set of new work primarily for the the summer exhibition at The Garden Gallery in Broughton, Hampshire. Run by Rachel Bebb it is a beautiful English garden filled with sculpture from about sixty artists, both well-established and embarking on their careers. She is also curating an exhibition at The Discovery Center, Winchester in November entitled Figure in the Landscape. A mixed exhibition that explores artist that are inspired by landscape. The exhibition will feature works by Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and Chris Drury among others including myself which I am very excited about.
Firing the kiln is a right of passage, weeks of making culminating in a metamorphic process. Once all the work has been finished you are left with blanks onto which I have to choose which glazes to apply. Powdered rocks and minerals; Quartz, Dolomite, Copper, Iron and Feldspars all mixed in exact quantities. Ten hours of fire and heat turning powder into glass. A dull matt gray surface into a singing, shining blue. It is also a time to reflect on the what I have made and what will come next. I stoke the kiln hoping that every little process involved comes together to create something magical within the chamber. Tomorrow I will find out…
After weeks of working towards the previous firing it is wonderful to sit by an open fire and reflect on my work. I have until Tuesday when the exhibition here at Court House ends to think through all my plans for the new year.