ARTS THREAD was given a taste of things to come at the Ceramics & Glass work-in-progress exhibition at the Royal College of Art, London earlier this year. The exhibition promised some outstanding work and when we popped along to the 2011 degree show, we weren’t disappointed!
Adam Graddon took inspiration from familiar objects such as shoes and apples to create his mixed media ceramic sculptures. The pieces are supposed to make the viewer question “how these objects came to be, for what reasons they are composed in the manner they are” in order to challenge his or her “inner storyteller.”
DNA coding, repetition and medical apparatus informed the beautiful glass work of SAB Miller Award winner Louis Thompson.
Louis explains: “Memories of my presence and my physical actions with the material are fundamental in how I explore scale, volume and material quality. Functionality, sabotage, what is truthful and what is deceiving are key underlying themes.”
Human hearts stoke the fire while a lethal genie’s lamp emits plumes of smoke in Malene Hartmann Rasmussen’s incredible installation. Inspired by the Brothers Grimm, Malene constructed a wooden hut full of eerie and otherworldly objects.
“Initially the viewer may be drawn, mistakenly, to my figures thinking them to be toys,” explains Malene.”However, closer examination reveals their rather darker narrative. They invite you into an absurd and surreal world where things are not what they seem.”
Makiko Nakamura’s surreal collection of porcelain and lustre ceramics included a lamshade covered with ornate petals and a polka-dot clock with a rabbit face popping out of the centre.
Makiko explains: “When I listen to what objects are saying carefully, they start telling the secret stories behind themselves and bring me to the world of daydreams.”
Whilst researching the history of glass ornamentation for her final project, Sarah Wiberley identified a unifying motif used throughout several nineteenth century designs – the bird. Inspired by this image, Sarah appropriated the motif, placing the bird in new situations and environments on the surface of her blown glass vases.
Helen Moore’s wall installation featured simple ceramic shapes in a graded colour scheme while Sam Bakewell’s piece featured dozens of long clay spikes.
We were instantly drawn to the work of Katy Jennings whose ceramics were embellished with naive-style paintings of ducks, chickens and other feathered creatures.
“I am interested in the everyday relationships we have with animals,” says Katy. “The garden bird, when living in the city, is a rare sighting, becoming an almost mythical presence that exists as an amalgamation of real memories and the fantastic imaginary being.”
Melissa Gamwell created a series of stunning decorative and functional tabletop ceramics out of fine bone china, porcelain and metal.
Melissa explains: “By examining nuances within the industrial slip-casting process, a new functional and decorative language unfolds through maximising the inherent qualities of casting and pouring. The result is dually intriguing in formal material development and visual indication of anthropological, functional objects.”
Ashraf Hanna played with scale, creating large ceramic vessels. Standing at almost one metre tall, the vessels appeared in a variety of colours and unusual shapes. Finally, Paul Stopler showcased some elegant, curvaceous glass vases. Formed in a kiln, the vases are sensitive to light, changing colour in a subtle way depending on the lighting conditions.