Fragmented Landscapes

This project focuses on the interesting and beautiful landscapes of broken ceramic created by an explosion in a bisqueware kiln. The original form has shattered and birthed a collection of small to tiny shards, each with its own individual surface texture. In my study of these shards I have mapped their landscapes and geology in magnification resulting in a series of studies in varying detail, precision and energy. My intention for this project is to challenge perceptions of broken work and brokenness. Ceramics comes with the pressure of making correctly, without cracks or imperfections. Broken work is often discarded or recycled, however, I feel that appreciating the surfaces made in the process of breaking can bring tranquillity and an acceptance of the uncontrollable to the viewer and the artist. The surfaces of the shards are mountainous and cliff like, reminiscent of the landscapes and earth the clay is from. The dramatic surfaces of the shards would be unknown without the artists study, its beauty unseen without looking.

Adobe Capture and why Sketching is good enough

Using adobe capture I took these images of the ceramic shards, to me they are very interesting to see observations of their surface texture. My intention was to take these images to the laser cutter and engrave their design onto acrylic sheets which would have been back lit. However, after much procrastination I have come to realise that i am forcing myself into new materials with which I am uncomfortable with at the moment. I like the idea of showing digital images this way but my realisation is that I need to accept myself as a sketch based artist before I head into new materials and 3D work.

Acceptance of my sketch based practice has been a hard task for me as I feel I should be pushing myself into 3D making due to the nature of this course. However, I believe that I have a 3D mind, able to conceive 3D ideas and understand the 3D but am unsure and falter when I make in the 3D.

My sketch work is strong, I have skill amd talent and this is what i need to focuss on for my practice sake. To develop my practice I need ro hone the skills that I do have before gaining new ones. The duration of my degree I have used sketch work in my projects but I never focussed on developing the skills that I had. My sketching consisted of graphic style drawing and continuous line, rhis term I feel that I have really grown my skill in realistic drawing of objects.

Focussing on my sketching has been quite a task as I still feel the niggle in my mi d saying that I should be making 3D things. I find this is due to tge pressure that I put on myself to fit in and succeed in combination with my classmates work ever present in 3D. Surrounded by ceramicist and furniture makers I do feel often that my work doesn’tfit in and that as a sketch based artist my work is inferior in comparison.

I am also influenced by my visits to Museums and Galleries, throughout my visits to these locations in my life I have never experienced sketch work being held up to the standards of works of paint and sculpture. With the exeption of Da Vinci, as his work is held in such high esteem, and the odd few famous artists I have never seen a show of sketch work. I feel that this has influenced my subconscious in telling me that my medium is worth less than paint, wood and ceramics.

This has effected me throughout my degree, I have had low self esteem in relation to my work due to not knowing what to focuss on. Throughout my tine in university I have made bronze medals, failed ceramics, hand made paper, etching prints and a proposition for public art. Untill now I have not focussed on my talent due to the negative feeling I have felt towards sketchwork as in my eyes I saw it as backup work.

Having decided to pursue sketching as my main form of communication within my practice I have accepted the reality that I do not feel this way towards sketching bit this is what I have learned form others. I gave decided to focuss on myself and my skill in my practice and to develop my sketching and drawing technique, pushing my skill and talent. I will no longer listen to those who tell me that sketch isnt good enough and I will only proceed to other mediums when I feel I have gained sufficient skill and technique in my current media.

What am I doing?

What is my work?

My work consists of observational sketches that map the fragments of a ceramic piece.

Why do I do this?

1. I want to bring attention to the interesting which is overlooked and often discarded. Consumerism is currently embedded in our society, this is problematic for many reasons including it’s outcome which is our throwaway culture. Single use items and broken items are often thrown away or recycled, instead of being used further, fixed or re-purposed. I often feel that as a community we should refer to the British war motto of ‘make do and mend’ and find further life in damaged goods. My intention of applying this attitude to making art is not to add value to rubbish and just call it art but to encourage a more conscious practice and change attitudes of broken work, especially in the ceramic field. Broken ceramic work is often discarded or used as rubble, in my work I show the beautiful, geological landscapes that have been made by the unintentional destruction of a ceramic piece. Our intentions for work are often interrupted by accidents or mistakes, embracing them we can find new techniques, observations or fields of study. An openness

2. I want to show the public interesting surfaces, in this case the broken, as a form of distraction from their busy lives and stress with visually interesting work. A rise in cases of depression, anxiety, unemployment and poverty causes a lot of stress within the general public, especially due to the insecurity of Brexit. Making visual art which can cause intrigue and pleasure within the viewer is distracting, taking attention from the public’s personal lives, even just for a few moments.

3. I want to bring reassurance to the public that brokenness doesn’t equate to trash by showing that broken things can be as interesting or more so than the unbroken. Our obsession with perfection weather in appearance or in theory is can lead to a pursuit of insanity. I believe that the appreciation of the imperfect and the broken can be healing for the mind and reassure the self that attaining perfection requires dismissing the quirks, the interesting and the undiscovered. This is also present in personal lives as well as in the making of work, I hope for my work to show the viewers that perfection is often dismissive and not inclusive, acceptance and discovery is often a less damaging personal journey.

Technique development

In my process of sketching the tiny fragments of ceramic I have developed my technique in shading and portrayal of the 3D in 2D. Using shading pencils I have taught myself this new style of drawing which is near hyper realistic but yet is still evident that my intention is to capture surface texture. My sketches do not offer perspective, they are purely the recreation of existing surface textures.

By using pencils ranging from 8B to 6H I have captured in great detail what I see when I look at the fragmented landscapes of the ceramic shards. I am offering my view of these objects to my audience. Elements of personal style have been used in areas of difficulty in the texture, I have taken creative licence and used my newfound style of capturing what I can see when there isnt much to see. On occasion I have used magnification in areas of great difficulty, such as when there is so much information visually but I physically cannot make marks so small and in large quantities enough to depict those areas, instead I have magnified aspects of those areas so that the viewer may understand the visual information I am passing on to them.

Recurring shapes

Throughout my work there are recurring shapes which have now become noticeable to me.

Consider these three different works from separate projects:

(Art and the Conscious Mind)

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(Bowl Project)

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(Fragmented Landscapes)

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All three of these works have similar ragged and rough shapes within their imagery. This is proof that I am drawn to these sorts of shapes. I theorized last year in my Art and the Conscious Mind module that my consciousness is a space filled with these shapes. I feel as if these shapes are mine or are of me, which is slightly confusing yet too coincidental. Through my work am I studying my surroundings and myself at the same time?

Abstracted Mapping

Alongside my realistic drawing i jave developed a style and interesting in abstracting and making my subject ambiguous. I have really enjoyed this form of mapping as it has freed up my hand and opened my eyes to see patterns and characteristics within each fragment.

This style of drawing gives more character to the subject, showing its individualism and uniqueness. Although I really like these outcomes I have decided not to show them as a final outcome as I do not think they are as beautiful as my other drawings.

As my intention for this project is to show the beauty within the unobserved I really want the work that I show to be the most visually beautiful. As the abstracted drawings are fairly simple I feel that they aren’t as striking as the others. I want to grab the attention of my viewer and show them where the beauty lies, within the fragmented landscapes.

My 5 Words

Emotive. Textural. Value. Reflective.Process.

These are the five words I chose in September that I felt were intrinsic to my practice. They are all still very much relevant to my work.

Emotive

I always intend for my work to spark a feeling within the viewer, in this project my intention is to cause intrigue. I want to entice my audience in with beautiful sketches and show them the source of my inspiration, by doing this I hope to make them feel in awe of the fragments. I want for the viewer to see great outcomes form a broken source and feel intrigued or their curiosity piqued. I hope to suggest the beauty within the brokenness.

Value

Value has always been something I struggle with within my own work, however, I am always fast to see value in objects beyond me. As a slight hoarder I see value within things many others don’t and when my ceramic piece blew up I instantly saw value within the many fragments. They offer an escape, a new landscape to travel. Their surface texture was so appealing to me that it was just something I had to study and share.

Textural

As already mentioned, the texture of the shards really drew my attention, texture is something which fascinates me as textures are often felt with the touch of a hand, yet I believe that texture is also seen. I really enjoy the idea of abstracting texture into just a seen thing, how does that make us feel? Introduced to the idea of Ocularcentism last academic year, I have become very aware of the eyes role within perception. I am working with the idea of purely visualising in sketch things which are 3D which would have the capacity to be held or seen from multiple angels. I am not intending to make people uncomfortable or gain a reaction form this but it is something interested in for future works.

Reflective

Being sketch based requires a reflection within a practice, reflecting on the object or subject as well as skills and techniques to be used. Critically reflecting on sketches helps to develop composition, effectiveness of style and skill, without which progression will not come into fruition.

Process

As mentioned in previous blog posts I am focusing in my process of observation and documentation. I am developing my skills in sketching and drawing to further my ability in depicting my intentions. The more skill that I have the more options that I can peruse. Through process I can hone my style and gain confidence.