Over the last few months I’ve been slowly working on more from my current series of pieces that reflect trips to mainland Europe. Earlier in the spring I took a short visit to Paris which was an inspiring experience….museums, parks, galleries and the palace at Versaille included. The Musee de Sevres was a reminder of the rich and hugely inspiring history of ceramics. Clay connects and reflects places, cultures, social history, social and technological change and the present day.
This trip is feeding into the pieces I’ve been working on most recently. Coil built forms are based very loosely on pieces viewed in the Musee de Sevres. Surface imagery is initially abstracted, predominantly from photos taken in the gardens at Versaille, and in Paris itself. The final layer will include the photos, and may also include previous imagery from Belgium and France.
Previous work has explored research into tourism/ travel related themes, and has reflected the commemorative nature of souvenirs. This new work returns to this theme, and has been inspired by various short trips to European destinations over the last couple of years; Nice, Brussels, Ghent and Bremen.
This series of vessels uses the squared off ‘vase’ form with different variations in size and shape. The vase is arguably one of the most popular and generic ceramic forms; it usually has connections and reference to the domestic/home.
The act of being away from home and being a tourist is a way of ‘escaping’ the everyday; on holiday the everyday is far more interesting however…we are looking with much more intent; visually consuming the sights. I am interested in how these ‘sights’ may be something very ordinary and everyday, as well as the more typical attractions in most tourist destinations. I am interested in how we try to read a place, to navigate and interpret maps, brochures and signs. And so the images and marks I use on the work reflect snippets of these travel experiences, fragments glimpsed. They are collaged, layered and placed sporadically on the forms. A big part of touristic experience is trying to capture and retain the moments and temporary experiences; to pin them down and revisit them.
Photos by Alistair Clark
Over the last few months at Cyan Clayworks we have been really busy with courses and other projects. I’ve also been making new pieces- more about those in the next blog post!
One of the other projects we’ve been involved in is working with our studio neighbours Bart and Craig. They have spent quite some time observing, filming and photographing us at work in the studio, and have made a great film which you can see here….https://vimeo.com/205628020
It shows a little of behind the scenes of how and why we make what we do.
Big thanks to Craig and Bart and the ‘sound man’ Lewis!
Its certainly been a busy autumn! Have been working on a new series over the last few months which is inspired by various trips taken over the last couple of years- to Nice, Bremen, Ghent and Brussels. This new work ‘A Souvenir from Europe’ revisits previous themes and commemorates travel, being a tourist, and experiencing the new. It also has taken on a new significance since recent political events.
I will have work in the following events and galleries over the next few weeks:
Edinburgh Art Fair with Saorsa Gallery 18- 20 Nov
Saorsa Gallery, Edinburgh from 24 Nov
Roger Billcliffe Gallery, Glasgow
Contemporary Applied Arts, London
Velvet Easel Gallery, Portobello
And coming up soon – our open studio event! Everyone welcome to join us for a look around the studios and a glass of wine. For more details visit the eventbrite page here. There will be lots of artwork/design for sale; including ceramics, painting, millinery, print and jewellery. We will have lots of sale items too.
A busy few months as ever! Teaching regular classes, one off workshops, and other projects. I have a few pieces in progress, which will most likely be shown in the autumn.
The Festival season is underway in Edinburgh, and I’ll have some work on show in a couple of venues. Firstly the Union Gallery will be showcasing a group of pieces including some of my Souvenir from Medalta series.
I’ve just delivered some new pieces from the landscape series to the Saorsa Gallery, which will be on display for the next couple of months.
We will be having an open day and studio sale on the 20th August…details below. So if you’d like to take a look behind the scenes, now’s your chance! There will be older pieces for sale and we will also be having a raffle….
I’ve been fairly quiet on this blog recently, after a (well needed :)) break over Christmas its been pretty full on at Cyan Clayworks with the new years course schedule and other tuition.
However I’ve got a few more pieces under way in the landscape series, images below.
After these are finished I’ll be going back to some test pieces and maybe new forms and surfaces. I’ve been thinking about new pieces in recent weeks, and so will be focusing on reading, drawing, visiting museums and thinking about how to develop the landscape/seascape project. It can be the development time and decision making that takes the most time in a project, but is an essential part of making/creativity.
Have had a few images taken of recent work by Alistair Clark…
Landscape plate, 35cm diameter
Landscape vessel, height 36cm
Landscape vessel, height 30cm.
Tall landscape vessel, height 38cm
I’ve got a few exhibitions coming up, some of which will include my most recent work and some including work made earlier this year. Pieces from the ‘Souvenirs from Medalta’ series are in Contemporary Applied Arts, London for their show ‘Present and Collect’ which runs from Nov 19th to Dec 24th. This series of work was inspired by a residency at Medalta, Alberta, Canada in 2014.
Bottles from the ‘Souvenirs from Medalta’ series
Another group exhibition is in Devon, at the Devon Guild of Craftsmen. ‘Make 2015’ runs from Nov 14th to early Jan. I’ll have some of my new pieces not yet exhibited; the landscape inspired sculptural vessels that I’ve talked about in earlier posts. (If you scroll through earlier posts you can see the work at different stages of development.) These non functional handbuilt vessels reference Scottish land- and seascapes, and have multiple layers of colour and imagery built up through painted and printed slips and glazes. Photographic decals are applied.
I also have work at the Velvet Easel Gallery in Portobello, nr. Edinburgh for their Christmas show which opens this weekend- ‘Rock the Easel’.
There are pieces currently in Saorsa Gallery, Edinburgh. I will also be exhibiting in the Edinburgh Art Fair with the gallery 13th-15th Nov- some more of my new landscape pieces. (Which will be getting photographed this week!) . Here is an image of one of the pieces in progress a few weeks ago.
A few more images of work as its evolving through the different stages. Coil built, painted and printed with slips, glazed and then the decals applied. Have a few exhibitions coming up so will post the details soon.
Its been a busy couple of months but now have a new project underway, which is using source material a little closer to home. It will reflect aspects of the landscape, drawing on various short trips to areas in Scotland over the last few months including Pitlochry and the fringes of Edinburgh.
Cramond Island walkway, Edinburgh
Coil building forms
Trying out a couple of different forms at the moment, and have the beginnings of the surface which will later include photographic decals.
Painted form, and one in progress