*Stick-Up- the process of joining together two parts, in ceramic process.
30 September — 13 November Tuesday - Saturday 10.00am - 5.00pm Closed Mondays & SundayAirSpace Gallery and its studio artists work within a contemporary art context in different mediums. The intention is to instigate an element of risk for both the artists and curators. As both sets are removed from their individual comfort zones and work towards a challenging resolution.
Our two studio groups collaborated to make a body of works within a restricted time period. The focus of the project is the exchange between two types of working methods, skill sets and knowledge. The outcome of these unpredictable investigations developed organically over an intensive three day period leading up to the opening of the exhibition, exploring a new found relationship between Ceramics and Contemporary Art.
Artists: Zachary Eastwood-Bloom, Ellie Doney, Amy Hughes, Sun-Ae Kim, Hanne Mannheimer, Bethan Lloyd Worthington, Bejhat Omar Abdulla, David Bethell, Andrew Branscombe, Anna Francis, Janine Goldsworthy, Phil Rawle.
See www.airspacegallery.org for more detailed information on the project and exhibition.
About the Works
Reclaimed City: Janine Goldsworthy & Amy Jayne Hughes Working without vision of a final outcome the collaboration took on a playful and experimental approach. Focus was placed on the process, conversations and enjoyable combinations, using different elements to make interesting visual consequences. It was important to use materials that had a connection to the local area, borrowed largely from businesses that developed out of a derelict environment that is now in the process of regeneration. The methods of working included sharing of skills and ideas as a departure from our normal artist practices by embracing the unpredictable and pushing limitations in unplanned creative constructions. The resultant artwork welcomed the transforma- tions of material and physical values. Components kindly donated by L & M Eurotrading LTD and PVR Scrap yard, Burslem.
Reliquary: Bethan Lloyd Worthington & Anna Francis, Starting at the end. View the Project Blog. This is a reliquary constructed of engineering bricks. It was created to house relics excavated from the former ABC Cinema site next door. The relics were cleaned, examined and documented. They were then placed within the reliquary during building, in order of importance (most best to least best). Each one was marked on the exterior in chalk. The mark’s position indicates height and orientation. The first number is the number of the relic; the second is the depth, with the exception of No. 13, which was dispersed by smashing. Fairly quickly, at the beginning of this project, we identified two main areas of difference within our practices – Notions of permanency/ephemera in terms of materials and public/private processes of making. Gradually, we converged. When our conversation moved towards examining our homes and the things we surround ourselves with, rather than our work, we found common ground.
Wall of Secrets: Phil Rawle & Ellie Doney got interested in clay’s ability to preserve and immortalise gestures, moments in time, fingerprints – the hand of the maker. The conversation turned to archaeological findings, and roman objects that Phil had seen, with inscriptions on them that turned out to be curses on neighbours, or invitations to a birthday party. We recognised that some of these mysterious tablets were actually quite mundane in content, the equivalent of status updates or tweets, perhaps a shopping list. They began looking at pictogram clay tablets in Sumerian cuneiform and Egyptian hieroglyphics, secret coded messages, communicating not deep secrets at all, but business accounts.
What might people write in a coded inscription today? What are our contemporary secrets? A secret can be personal, or about someone else. A confession, something untold, something hidden, or something newly discovered. Inscribing one on a tablet in personal code may be a way of releasing it, or examining why it is a secret. Inscribing into clay realises them permanently, perhaps to be found years later. The artists want people to contribute to the piece on-site. We would like to provide an intimate space to think about what they want to represent. At the old Spode factory in Stoke, was found a simple worktable and lamp used for hand-finishing ceramics, which, when installed in the gallery, calls to mind the scribe’s bench, or the monk’s scriptorium.
Limited Edition: Hanne Mannheimer & Andrew Branscombe Taking inspiration from the industrial decay experienced in many of the former potteries around the city the work looks at processes and mass production. Inspiration was drawn from the stacks of unfinished ware, machinery and individuality found in these sites. The artists first met while installing the BCB exhibi- tion at the former Spode factory. They took the opportunity to look around the derelict areas of the factory, which helped to form the method of working as well as a wealth of raw materials. The factory sites often contain equipment and machines unique to a particular process or person. Andrew created machines using found materials, which were suggestive in appearance of existing processes and equipment. Then without instruction the equipment was given to Hanne who intuitively used the creations. Both the tools and clay became flawed, impractical and limiting to the way of working, creating a range of mass- produced failures.
Studies: David Bethell & Sun-Ae Kim Bethell and Sun-Ae’s work looks at the process in the ceramics industry particularly the value, mark-making and traditional influences used to design ceramics. The work sees the collaboration using drawing and mark making as their primary source, testing symbols and imagery used from different times, including contemporary and 18th century drawings. The initial concept for the studies was to look at courtship, romanticism, history, and the new. This resulted in a series of studies that translated these influences into mark- making and design. This later lead to the work being developed through the value of the object and questioning the current value of ceramics today, against easy and cheap materials such as paper plates and cups. The use of paper plates and cups also acted as maquettes for the potential development of the works into more refined designs.
Urban Decay: Behjat Omer Abdulla & Zacharay Eastwood-Bloom For 'Urban Decay' Zachary Eastwood-Bloom and Bahjat Omer Abdulla have made a series of urn shaped raw clay vessels, filled them up with water and filmed the resulting outcomes. This project examines the notions of dependency and erosion with a wider metaphor relating to Stoke-on-Trent and the ceramics industry. The water in the vessels is dependent on the structural integrity of the clay body to keep it contained, however it slowly weakens the material over a period of time resulting in a loss of both vessel and fluid. This process is symbolic of the decay of Stoke-on-Trent as a result of the decline in industrial ceramic production. A place once heavily dependent on clay but now feeling the loss of its core material. Watch it here