Research Photography: Explore; Public Kiln & Shengli Porcelain Factory

Research Photography: Explore; Bottle Factory

In December I participated in a Crafting Futures residency in Jingdezhen China, organised by The British Council to research the cities intangible craft heritage and create an intercultural exchange between east and west. During my time in China I curated a collaborative project, working with a group of young local artists, focusing on material experimentation and sustainable materiality, inspired by the city's ancient porcelain history. During a week-long workshop, we collaboratively made a series of 66 new ceramic glazes. Made of locally sourced organic matter, foraged minerals and waste from industrial ceramic manufacture. The glazes were fired at a local public kiln; a huge family run, gas fired kiln a stones throw from our studio. Each experiment held a local identity, making the collaboration as a whole unique to Jingdezhen. I wanted to investigate the value of cooperation at the very beginning of a project but also create a social environment, so that I could learn about ceramics, the city, its history and culture, through people who called it home. 

My travels to China have been invaluable for defining and inspiring my practice. I returned with a new archive of making skills and a refined perception upon craft philosophy defined by the Eastern culture I had been immersed in. I have always been drawn to craft because of the intangible relationship between maker and material and the value in that connection. Visiting Jingdezhen was no different, but I found the Chinese ideals and culture enhanced it. Making ceramics was like a spiritual romanticism; anchored in ancient history and community, the local practices constantly reflected on the past as a way of preserving and honouring the country's ceramic legacy. Moreover I admired the philosophy the city's material culture brought into everyday life. I feel that there is much to learn from the east that has been lost in western craft practices. I felt humbled by the affinity and agency found in their devotion to ceramics.

Research Photography: Forage; Silica & Iron slurry, New Shengli Porcelain Factory

Research Photography: Forage; Rice husk ash burning 

Research Photography: Experiment; Jingdezhen glaze development 

Research Photography: Experiment; Jingdezhen glaze collection 

During the final week of my residency, in reflection on the narratives, materials, and techniques that had been developed collaboratively within the group. I worked with local 'Masters' to create a collection of large medicine bottles. 

Inspired by the Bottle Factory 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Left 2 Right:

Bottle 2/8 Clay body; porcelain glazed with foraged feldspar & kaolin 

Top 12/20 Clay body; porcelain glazed with foraged feldspar & red clay

Bottle 5/8 Clay body; waste porcelain glazed with foraged red clay

Top 3/20 Clay body; waste porcelain glazed with bone ash & banana tree skin ash

Bottle 7/8 Clay body; foraged red clay glazed with foraged waste refined iron slurry

Top 17/20 Clay body; porcelain glazed with foraged red clay

Bottle 3/8 Clay body; waste porcelain glazed with bone ash & banana tree skin ash

Top 9/20 Clay body; porcelain glazed with rice husk ash

From Left 2 Right:

Bottle 6/8 Clay body; foraged red clay, glazed with banana tree skin ash. 

Top 10/20 Clay body; foraged red clay, glazed with freshwater mollusk shell

Bottle 8/8 Clay body; foraged red clay, glazed with Boehmeria Nivea grass & kaolin 

Top 1/20 Porcelain body; glazed with red clay & freshwater mollusk shell