Here are the results of the first part of the Cinba project where my initial aim has been to create creatures which have unappealing textures and deformed shapes. At the same time I hope that the birds intrigue the onlooker enough to persuade you to pick them up and care for them.
I felt like I still had further to go with this project therefore I decided to continue with it into the personal investigation project but to place my work into the field of contemporary crafts. I needed to consider costs, value, time keeping, marketability and appeal.
The results are below:
ABOVE: The characters of the birds change when placed within a group. They become stronger and less vulnerable. The mother carrying the baby on her back makes them appear independent and purposeful.
BELOW: The gold beaks enable the birds to get attention quickly and they have evolved into rather beautiful creatures despite the fact their surfaces and shapes are based on disease and deformity.
The gold lustre and the porcelain increases the value of the birds, I have used less surface decoration which has reduced my time spent. The pieces have also become more sculptural and abstract which provides greater interest but unwittingly also reduces time spent making. Despite the reduction in decoration, I hope I have managed to retain the exquisiteness of the birds.
I have used black thread to try to stitch the deformed and broken birds back together. This is a recent outcome and one which requires further investigating. I hope to look at the link between textiles and ceramics next term within my own project.
Exploration of the bird symbol
Animal collection, left: Air dried clay, right: Ivory Stoneware.
Since Bronze Age people were so obsessed with the sun horse and bird symbols I found it only appropriate to start exploring how I could interpret them into something special.
By looking back at images from the Heritage centre I was able to start creating animals and beads, seeing how they could be made out of Ivory Stoneware or Porcelain. I also looked at bones especially teeth, which appears to be what their culture used to decorate themselves with during that period.
Wolfs Teeth from Wiltshire Heritage Centre
Collection of clay objects part 1
Collection of clay objects part 2
Due to the price of Porcelain I chose to stick with Ivory Stoneware as it was the cheaper alternative. I crafted each piece individualy by hand using clay tools to create the appropriate detail. Next step was to use Manganese oxide on the clay, applying a heavy amount so that it gets into the cervices; the excess on the raised areas was washed away. Finally they go through a process of sanding down using three to four grades of Wet+Dry. Producing a bone like surface, that looks and feels smooth; this is as close as I can get to bone without moving onto Porcelain. All the clay pieces in my work are created through this same process.
Beads image from CINBA Image collection
Through drawing I explored how the beads might fit onto the wire, looking at order and size whilst the actual beads were getting fired. Also made a few from air drying clay to try out on some wire.
Clay beads, left: air dried, right: Ivory Stoneware.
The fired beads turned out quite interesting though they don’t make as much sound as I hoped leading me to believe that porcelain or metal is the only way to apply sound to my work. Although I have no time to do this now, it may be something to explore in the future if I wish to take that area further.
I wanted to post some images from the last group tutorial of the project period – for many ideas are starting to come to fruition and resolution is very close. Some have even chosen to continue to pursue further lines of enquiry for their next project, which is self directed. I hope they will be posting about their finished pieces and that they will reflect on the project as a whole through the Blog.
Some of April’s work and bits of Dave I think (or is it Dave’s robot clone? – I’m not sure, I can’t tell them apart!), I’m really keen to see if he solved all his issues surrounding the ‘Sun Delivery Service’ and his lack of employment – these are difficult times!….
Miriam’s neckpiece with it’s clever use of removable elements…
Vassiliki’s beautiful pewter cuttlefish castings….
Inspired by Bronze Age artefacts such as the razors and her own fictional stories that surround the objects, Vassiliki has created whole scenes and visual narratives packed with activity…
Fabian’s pins in progress…I must keep pestering him to post more as he’s finished these pieces beautifully and started a new realated project…
The variety, detail, scale and abstraction of Marie’s bird forms are fascinating….
Dominika has explored a variety of processes in ceramic inspired by Bronze Age textiles and woven surfaces…
Sadaf discovered she had an affinity with metal working processes during the course of this project, which was a surprise and delight for her and me…
I couldn’t include examples of everyone’s work in this post (mainly because I forgot to bring my camera to some of the sessions!) so I’ve tried to focus on those students that perhaps haven’t yet posted – hope the others will put up more images of their finished pieces. I’ve been delighted by the breadth of response and the commitment and enthusiasm that all the project participants have shown – it’s been a joyous teaching experience for me!
The students have been far better than me at posting regularly! It’s several weeks since we did our first casting pour, but I thought I’d show the results anyway. Our first results with the new equipment were mixed, but we’re learning all the time. With all our sophisticated kit you would imagine it would be all be very easy, fancy working all this metal technology out in the Bronze Age – amazing!
Casting grain and getting the flask out of the kiln – the flask must be hot so that the molten metal is able to be drawn by vacuum into the mould…
Pouring, quenching, retrieving….
Some of the students have pursued the process through the project, which is very exciting, I look forward to finding out more from them…
Continuing with my wax castings, I have been working with the Lost Wax Casting process. The first of these was a solid Brass elephant. It is extremely heavy and there are lots of bubbles of brass on the surface, this is from the air bubbles in the plaster.
Original Brass Elephant
I have tried working out the kinks, to continue with this process. However, I wanted to make the brass animals similar to the wax ones, I wanted to make them rattle. This meant they needed to be hollow. This is a hollow elephant, it is much lighter and there are evidently less roughness on the surface.
Hollow Brass Elephant
Unfortunatley my attempt at making hollow brass animals didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped it would. This may not have worked how I wanted it to, but I like the results. I am interested in looking into how these half animals can be turned into jewellery and I will be doing more with this is the near future.
To remedy this: Make them less hollow, let the wax dry more before releasing the excess. This will create a thicker animal, which should allow the melted metal to flow more freely through the form.
I will be continuing developing my knowledge of this process to create wearable pieces.
Examples of the brass birds I have made which I will be turning into wearables
Since my last post I have also been continuing my ceramic work:
High fired ceramic Rhino
This is the more life-like ceramic Rhino from my previous post. The colour has changed and it is a lot paler than before. I like the layers on this animal and how it is instantly recognisable, this is something that I am keen to continue developing throughout my work