I began with a plan to make two successful forms. Mixing the slip was a lot easier than I expected and has definitely opened up the possibility of working with different kinds of slips once I’ve got my head around this step first.
I worked on making one form really thick, and another really thin. The slip I worked with was a lot more watery than usual but this lent itself really well to creating thin walls. In future the slip will have to be thicker for consistency.
A thinner form only took ten minutes in the mold, a thicker took about 13-15minutes. Once I’m working with denser slip I’ll need to experiment more with my timings as casting will be a lot quicker.
I ended up making four forms, all of different thicknesses.
At home I took the thickest form and the thinnest and put them in small containers. The thinner form I filled with water, the thicker one I poured water around the outside.
Filling the pots with water on the inside wasn’t as interesting, due to shadows cast you couldn’t see the parts crumbling as nicely as when the water was poured around the pot. Also, when the walls of the pot eventually fell away the water spilled out into the tray, taking bits of clay with it and the water ended up milky. It felt underwhelming.
When the pots dissolved with the water around them it was much more interesting, big chunks fell away and watching it melt was really pleasing. I wanted to see each bit fall away, whereas when it was just on the inside I couldn’t see as much.
After my first lot of experiments in the kitchen I decided that fully submerging the forms in water meant they dissolved too quickly and didn’t look as exciting, so I started a new experiment with the form partly submerged in water and filmed it at short intervals with a timestamp to help me keep track of how long it took for one form to vanish. This test was done with completely bone dry greenware, the experiments I did at home were with slightly wet forms which I only realised once I felt the bone dry ones the next day.
After the first timed experiment I looked at how long it would take for a form to dissolve on top of a bed of clay from a previous form.
Pots made over the last couple of weeks: 31
During my QRS groups I’ve shown the experiments of the pots dissolving in the water and my main focus is now to continue production of as many pots as possible in order to represent the scale of the themes I’m exploring. My hope is that during the WIP show I’ll dissolve lots of pots into some kind of tank throughout the night.
Initially my idea was to include plinths inside the tank to make it more dynamic but I’ve since realised that brings all kinds of issues into play such as hierarchy associated with raising some pots above others or generally in relation to other things.
I’ve settled on placing the pots in the bottom and letting all the sediment build up to raise the pots gradually naturally, rather than placing them on their own plinths.
Once the tank arrived I placed the original forms inside to work out if there was enough space between them for each one to dissolve. I didn’t want the tank to be too cramped, but having too much room around them wouldn’t have been appropriate either. Thankfully I’d picked the right sized tank and was happy with the amount of room around each form.
I placed the forms inside the tank and wasn’t too happy with how regimented they looked but I didn’t want them to be randomly placed in the bottom as I felt that would speak too much of other themes. I needed to keep the formation simple and considered. I thought back to my time in South Korea at the House of Sharing and of my time in The Place of Requiem and remembered the memorials for the women who first publicly testified of their experiences at the hands of the Japanese Army:
‘Remains’ of Friday’s formative assessment display.
– Initially, I overfilled the tank. This was partly because I wasn’t concentrating and because I was doubting the water’s capability if it was shallow. It turns out even in very very shallow water the pieces dissolve a lot more effectively than in deeper water because it takes longer for the pieces to be saturated.
– The tank gets cloudy in the studio because the heating is so high, condensation forms on the inside of the tank. I’m not 100% sure on how to resolve this for the long term; short term the tank can be cleaned carefully with tissue/blue roll but I need to be careful to not leave smear marks on the glass.
Notes & Feedback:
The response to my work at the WIP Show during this month’s Night School was overwhelming and really encouraging. I definitely need more in the way of prompts to further inform the viewer – conversations with people around the work were enjoyable. However, obviously that would mean I’d need to be there for every single viewer and that’s neither ideal or practical.
Before the show began I decided to include my title on the front of my table, this was a really interesting talking point while I was explaining the ideas behind my work. Additionally, the formation of the pots in the water was discussed and well received once I explained how they mimicked the formation of monuments between the House of Sharing and The Museum of Sexual Slavery in South Korea.
All of the conversations around the work helped me gain further insight into what I’d need to do moving forward. I’d like to try and implement these new ideas in terms of display and context at another Night School event.
Total pots dissolved during the formative assessment and Work in Progress show combined: 54
The last run of pots ended up being one short as I’d done my maths wrong – initially I’d planned to use six pots per run but I realised just before our Formative Assessment deadline that the monuments in South Korea were actually of five women, not six. As I’d made more pots than I needed for several runs of six I thought that I’d be fine if I removed one and made the new formation, but it meant on the last run I was one short. I’ll need to make sure that doesn’t happen again!
So after thinking more about how I can progress with my piece I decided I’d speak with Steve about giving the work a temporary home somewhere in the building, where I can add to the work over a period of time and keep it going. I didn’t like the idea of it stopping just because the public show had ended.
We discussed various locations, I decided I’d want it somewhere fairly prominent with a decent amount of light. Steve offered the concourse but I always feel like that space is visually very busy and can sometimes be a bit dark. We discussed placing it near another memorial – I remembered that I’d seen a war memorial in the school and Steve agreed it would work there.
I assessed what I’d need to include in a risk assessment since it was a public area and spoke with Steve and Christina to make sure I’d not missed anything.
With Beth’s help I moved the work over to it’s new location. Currently it’s sat on a dark wooden table, but I feel I may adjust this as it is very dark. I like the size of the table, and the fact that it has no corners as this eliminated some of the risks of the tank being knocked. Moving the tank meant that the sediment at the bottom moved around a lot and the water went really cloudy, next time I move it I’ll try and use something with wheels.
I’m considering moving the tank to this small ledge by the library, as it’s well lit and doesn’t have fire evacuation procedure posters behind it but I’ll trial it by the MA office first.
-Work on some form of publication to give the work more context
-Make title signage
-Remove bits of paint from the table 🙁
-Make more pots to add to the work every Wednesday at noon (this joins the Wednesday Demonstrations)