I arrived at the Lens Based Media Studio with half an hour to begin setting up before Luke could formally induct me into the studio space. I worked with Stuart to get my framing perfect and we discussed what kind of layout would work best considering I was using a plastic container with a harsh edge where the wall joined with the base of the tray.
Initially I was worried that having any lines in the shot would distract from the pots, however once I adjusted the composition of the pots I found the line worked to break up frame and helped establish a horizon so the pots had more depth in their arrangement. I set my aperture at f5.6 to help soften the seam in the background enough so that it wasn’t cutting a sharp line through the frame.
I worked with Luke to establish the most suitable lighting. I didn’t want harsh shadows and I wanted to avoid criss crossing any shadows I did have as the frame would have looked too busy so I opted for a stronger light on the left which gave me shadows on the right that I then offset with a slightly dimmer light on that side. I then added in some big screens to diffuse the light.
I began filming at 17.45, expecting I’d be waiting about 45 minutes until the pots dissolved and was surprised to find they took over 2 hours. I had the studio booked for 16.30-20.00 and I needed to leave half an hour at the end to transfer my files, but because the pots took so long to dissolve I had to return the equipment at 20.00 and come back the following day to retrieve my data.
While I was discussing my work with Ana Rutter she shared her own experiences with clay and suggested that because I’d left the pots to dry for a lot longer than I did for the Work in Progress show that their water content was a lot lower. Once water was introduced to the unfired clay that it took longer to absorb. She suggested spraying the pots with a water spray bottle of some kind in order to help them along a little, then waiting for them to be dry to the touch and then using them for filming as they’ll likely fall apart a lot quicker.
I think in my next round of pot making I’ll work out a system where I can keep track of which pots are older and therefore drier and which are freshly made so I don’t end up with inconsistency as well as long dissolving time.