I went to Craft in the Bay which is situated behind The Red Dragon Centre, it’s a small building packed with all sorts interesting pieces.
The Main Space
Bev Bell Hughes
The first object that I took interest in was this ceramic piece below. I found it hard to believe that it was made by hand and not taken out the bottom of the ocean. This object was made by Bev Bell Hughes, she explores the relationship between natural forms and clay.
Bev constructs these objects by pinching slabs of clay together and uses a volcanic/lava glaze to finish them with the texture that makes it look like it really came from the sea.
Again what I found most interesting with these is how these pieces didn’t look like ceramics to me, they looked like marble. I loved how there were these two contrasting textures, the very rough top parts of the pieces that look like craters and the very smooth stone like bottom part.
I learned that the way that Gittins gets this effect with saggar firing, which is almost like a method of drawing with fire. You can put put things like horse hair and feathers on the object before firing and they’ll leave marks on the surface and then burn up so you’re only left with the final result.
The thing that I loved about the piece in the photo below was mostly the finish in the middle of it. I really liked the way it looked like a kind of burnt metal, I just thought the detail in the middle was very appealing somehow.
David Frith is another ceramicist that I really liked in Craft in the Bay. I mostly liked his work for the colouration and calligraphic qualities rather than the forms. I found out that Frith uses a copper glaze to get the earthy deep red that he gets on his work and fires them by reduction firing where oxygen in the kiln is very limited, the copper glaze seen on the plate is commonly used in reduction firing.
Sasha Kingston is a paper and textile artist. I was drawn to her work because of the organic, aquatic shapes featured in the work. These pieces particularly remind me of jelly fish or some kind of microscopic creatures.
Helly Powell is an artist who does fauxidermy which is fake taxidermy. Powell uses various textiles to create her woodland animal heads. I really appreciate these pieces because I don’t like taxidermy that much because I find it kind of sad. However I find these textile creations to be a lot of fun because they have a realistic and strong sense of taxidermy without being nearly as morbid. I also find that these pieces are without the connotations that taxidermy has for me, I think it’s because they aren’t real animals and have a warmer feel to them. I’ve always been slightly disgusted by taxidermy being displayed in houses because I feel as though it’s almost like bragging about killing animals or like it’s asserting a weird power that people have gained over other animals in a way that makes me uneasy.
These were things that caught my eye in the main space, they were mostly things that spoke to me of organic and unusual forms. I really enjoyed looking at this space because it opened my eyes to new ways to use materials that I have been looking at for so many years, so I think it has really excited and inspired me to look at materials in refreshed ways and to really have courage to try odd things with them.