In 2009 and occasionally since that time, I started my first steps exploring taking “the working of clay – in a group context – to a different level. It brought an exciting element to the workshop in Yeoville. I haven’t seen it buzz like this for a very long time…. It’s quite interesting – in fact, it’s more than quite interesting – it’s wonderful – it’s got me working late into the night – and phoning all sorts of clay suppliers – and chemists all over the country – to come up with new clay samples – It’s got the students in the Thursday class – and the “Travelers” from the first Clay Journey of the Year: “Form Function and Alchemy” running around the country looking for sand samples from riverbeds in the middle of the Karoo – to bringing containers of sea-sand from all sorts of oceans and beaches. And mixing and blending their finds into magical vessels. There is a fervour which is tangible and a profound privilege to be part of. It has made me very clear that this direction that I have decided to take – in my daily meanderings with clay, and with other makers, who have been working with me, it has been the right choice and what is being made, dreamt about, and constructed on a daily basis is evidence that it is rubbing off on all sorts of hands, in a multitude of ways it is turning glass artists and painters and other creative spirits into “dancer’s of clay,” exploring their thoughts and their musings, in different colours and textures and materials.
Looking at gritty-ness, granules, and rocks, in a new way learning to paint with these samples of the earth’s crust grinding them up into pigments for applying to the walls and surfaces of vessels and then putting them into kilns or “flames”, and seeing what happens, when the clay spirits meet fire, all quite magical, to put it very mildly.
This is another series of workshops that I occasionally explore with students.
As a group, but individually, we each explore objects that hold a special appeal to us. We examine why they are designed in the way they are. For these 12 weeks – we explore the History of the Shape of the object that inspires us – It’s journey through history – and how we can make and construct in a way that we resonate with personally. How we go about designing and creating shapes that inspire and define our lives and the way we live them.
Objects that are Personal and Ceremonial
The difference between the two, and
How we distinguish between them.
We will continue with our research – and testing of alternative materials – and how they function in the clay we have chosen to work with. We will continue to explore and push the boundaries of red, white, buff and black clays. We will continue with our research and testing of found materials….
It is our chance to explore different clays red – white – black and brown clays – translucent and opaque surfaces –
being fired at different temperatures…
…. how they resonate with each other –
and with our own creative spirits –
how we choose what “Clay-Bodies” to work with –
We become the Alchemists…
We Play, We Dance, We make Magic with
The clay that holds water… that is moist –
the water that carries memories…
of the rivers that it has once been –
What makes it transform –
once again – into another Shape…
Another process…….. another Form