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Sunday Morning Ceramic Residency

Well here i am at Sundaymorning@ekwc in Hertogenbosch, Netherlands.  I have a great high ceilinged studio and the facilities are amazing. The other artists and all employees here are a gentle bunch of people – no super egos. All lovely and making really interesting work. The artists usually have dinner together every night so that we can chat and share information. One person cooks for the group and that way you only need to cook once a week if that and it tends to mean that people really make an effort with the food too. The other artists, whilst sadly all meat eaters, have been very accommodating about my veganism and have always prepared a vegan dish or too with dinner. At first i thought it would be a hassle for them so stressed that they really didn’t have to cook for me but they have and usually it simply means putting a bit of the main dish aside before adding meat or cheese. I suspect it has also meant that the group have eaten a lot more vegetarian meals than usual which is certainly a positive thing…and seriously delicious meals too. there are some good cooks here!

There are typically 12 artists in total undertaking the residency but the group fluctuates in number as people come and go for various reasons. The residencies are also staggered so that you do not have the same group of people the whole time. The numbers have also been effected by a nasty flu virus that hit me on my 5th day here and rendered me pretty near useless for a week. Either the flu has grown super strong in its feisty antibiotic resistance over the years or i have actually never had a flu virus before. I was as i like to say..”fully sick”.

Anyway with the sickness out of the way, I am slowly learning a bit about how to work with clay. Probably learning a lot actually as have made some mistakes and even had to remake one piece. The picture here is the remake version before firing. It was fired on Monday and taken out of the kiln today but unfortunately was not fired at the right temperature so needs to go back in again tomorrow.  Now it wont be ready until Friday evening as firing takes time and then you need to let the kiln cool down. Then i need to test glazes as this will be a coloured piece. My first ever glazed ceramic sculpture..woohoh!

Today learnt a bit about these things called “glazes” and as with all things ceramic there is a fair bit of chemistry ( and maths) involved. With a guidance and assistance of one of the technicians here, i  mixed up about 20 samples to test. Way more that i wanted to test but the clay i have used for my first small pieces is particularly unreliable when it comes to colour glazes apparently.

So onward and upward. Next pieces will be in different clay if i want to add coloured glazes. But my final project will probably have just a simple white or transparent glaze..and my even be porcelain….but more about this later. Hopefully this time next week i can post images of my first set of finished ceramic works. Have started small and now feel more confidant to move onto the bigger pieces. and you really can make huge work here as some of the kilns are massive as this pic shows.

Will post images of the finished pieces later next week as well as a few works i have made for my upcoming exhibition at Nopx gallery in Turin opening 28th of March.

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