Saturday, 29 October 2011

Ceramics class - 1st half term

Testing - rolling the damp clay in ball clay and then forming it by pressing out from the inside until the surface cracks. I'm trying to stretch it until it breaks through all the clay - to the point of destruction but not quite. Still trying to figure out how to use it. Also testing a technique of putting a thin strip of porcelain onto a stoneware body - the difference in shrinkage makes the porcelain crack in firing because it shrinks more than the stoneware. And a second wavy urn in black clay. Trying to get some pink on it but not too much - but would have liked a bit more than this. Black clay body is quite dramatic and strangely dry to work with.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011


Out of the office window in the near distance there are two men setting up scaffolding on the top of a building with a green dome topped by an elaborate weather vane. Scaffolding poles stick up all around it. The man below passes planks up to the man at the top - who almost looks to be walking on air.  Highlighted in sparkling sunshine against a dark grey sky that is showering. Behind our office there is probably a rainbow. 

Saturday, 15 October 2011

4 Exhibitions

Tate Modern
Tacita Dean - Turbine Hall - film

Billed as a love letter to film - proper film as opposed to digital - clear, strong colours, unpixilated, able to be superimposed and sliced together. Large screen, space for people to lie down in front of it, which they did. Gathered people staring up at it - huge vertical screen. Darkened around to enable it to be seen better.

Gerhard Richter - retrospective
Crowded exhibition. I don't know why but I was amazed that he did both super-realistic paintings from photos and very abstract. Really like the 70s paint swatch painting (it reminded me of my old bathroom at my parent's house - Dad and I spent an afternoon papering it with paint swatches - it made for a very colourful two walls - great for staring at during a long soak). Also the huge canvases with thick layers which were pulled across the canvas - textured, colour contasting between layers.

Tate Britain
Barry Flanagan
Very quiet. Early Flanagan (pre-hare sculptures) - lots of use of formless material (canvas, sand, rope) - large columns made of canvas filled with sand to give them structure, sticks tied together - sticks and coloured fabric. Liked the colour of rope and sand against the parquet floor. Defying physics - canvas help up against the wall like a painting using sticks. Carving in stone that follows the seams in the rock - imagery that evokes the stylised pictues used by early humans.

Apocalypse - John Martin
While Barry Flanagan was empty and therefore easy to look properly, Apocalypse was packed. The underground poster was quite striking and made me want to see the exhibition. Poplular pictures, very commercial artist - he often painting several versions of the same picture and then made an etching for further sales. This exhibition showed multiples of the same image together. He cottoned on to an idea of slightly off-centre composition based in a circular or spiral shape, backgrounds were pale, foregrounds dark. Lots of drama. But the composition was all too similar and in the end I found it too commercial. Would have preferred to see only a couple rather than several rooms full. The quantity didn't increase the drama, instead making it seem repetative and formulaic.

Friday, 7 October 2011


Tube train said 6 mins. Lady on station was muttering into her tannoy  but don't be sad there might be one sooner. Got on the walkie talkie to HQ who said one was coming in 2. 2 minutes ladies and gentlemen, don't know where it will be going though, might be high barnet, might be edgware, might be Majorca. I held onto that thought - what joy if Majorca lay at the end of the northern line. Could do with some sand, sea and sangria. 

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Unusual journeys by tube

I don't know anywhere else  on the tube network where two trains swing alarmingly close together apart from southbound at finsbury park where Victoria line and piccadilly line trains leaving the station together provide a momentary coming together and view of fellow passengers following a different route.

Circle line minutes are more drawn out (ie longer) than Victoria line minutes. Is this because it goes through west London which has a more relaxed attitude than north London? 

Fewer suits on the hammersmith and city line than Victoria line or northern line and more likely to not be wearing a necktie. More arty women and men who look like computer geeks or college lecturers. Perhaps I've travelled The bank route for too long and have become overly used to the hard city banking fraternity. These are more my people - more art school and less uptight highly strung.