A SELECTION OF COMMISSIONS, PROJECTS AND ONE OFF PIECES
THE MARKET WOMAN'S STORY 2022
HISTORY AT THE DINNER TABLE 2021
'As a little girl growing up on the island of Jamaica, Jacqueline Bishop’s grandmother had a large mahogany cabinet where she kept some of her most prized possessions: her bone china crockery. These delicate pieces were painted with bright, cheerful images of palaces and carriages and were only used on special occasions.
As beautiful as these china dishes were, they often hid a violent history of slavery and colonialism by European countries. In ‘History at the Dinner Table’, Jacqueline changes the story by showing the legacy of slavery on the dishes instead. Despite their violent history, Bishop is also seduced and charmed by the delicacy and beauty of bone chinaware and she has sought to produce dishes equally as beautiful as the ones made by major European centres of bone china production. The work is exhibited in mahogany cabinets as mahogany was once a major luxury import from Jamaica to England.'
FOUNDATIONS PROJECT 2020
GENERATION PROJECT 2020
Jacqueline approached me about turning collages she had created into a series of bone china plates. We worked together to ensure all the details were kept as I digitised the collages and had them printed as transfers. These were then applied to plates made in local factory, Duchess China. I then applied the gold banding and re-fired them.
These were exhibited in the British Ceramics Biennial 2021 and are now owned by the Fitzwilliam Museum, in Cambridge.
Foundations is built on children’s curiosity in materials. It starts from their questions; Where does clay come from? Why is it cracking? How does it harden? The answers come from digging in our local areas and explore the clay beneath their feet.
Myself and Artist Joanna Hejmej, coordinate this project, which has worked with children all over Stoke-on-Trent.
Highlights from the project include, working with St Thomas More Catholic Academy, Stoke, in a series of after school workshops which helped them uncover the science behind clay through their own investigations, which they then shared with peers. This culminated in a visit to St Ives, Cornwall, where they explored Cornwall's pottery links with Stoke-on-Trent. This included visits to Bernard Leech Pottery, Tate St. Ives and the Barbara Hepworth Museum.
We’re partnered with local charity, The Hubb Foundation, to work with children across Stoke-on-Trent in open-ended and play-based sessions. All sessions are child-led and centred around discovery and fun. During school holidays we have been digging up clay and processing it, making clay boats, building bridges and lots of other experiments which tested the different properties of clay.
Foundations is kindly supported via ‘Curiosity’, a collaboration between BBC Children in Need and Wellcome Trust. ‘Curiosity‘ provides funding for organisations who want to run exciting and engaging science activities aimed at disadvantaged children and young people.
I was approached by Artist Jacqueline Bishop to produce a second series of plates. These plates pay homage to the market woman.
This series featured in British Art Studies, Issue 23, an extract from the article is below:
'On one hand, the market woman/huckster is the most ubiquitous figure to emerge from plantation Jamaica. Yet, as pervasive as the figure of the market woman is in Jamaican and Caribbean art and visual culture, she remains critically overlooked.'
'In this set of fifteen dishes, I am both paying homage to the market woman—centering her importance to Caribbean society from the period of slavery onwards—and placing her within a critical context. In particular, I place the market woman within a long tradition of female labor depicted in diverse imagery that I have sourced online, including early Jamaican postcards, paintings of enslaved women from Brazil, the colonial paintings of the Italian Agostino Brunias, and present-day photographs, which I collage alongside floral and abolitionist imagery.'
For the full article visit:
Jacqueline Bishop, "The Market Woman’s Story", British Art Studies, Issue 23
The Generation project seeks to answer the questions; What does the ceramics heritage of Stoke-on-Trent mean to young people in the city? What parts do they feel are important and want to celebrate?
Generation project works with young people to explore the depth and range of ceramics heritage in the city through a range of workshops, sessions, and visits to heritage venues.
MALVERN GARDEN BUILDINGS 2020
Early in the year I was approached by Malvern Garden Buildings who offer a premium collection of garden buildings, including thatched gazebos, greenhouses, garden offices & studios. They commissioned me to make 100 mini planters designed to represent some of the buildings in their portfolio. (Photos adjacent)
These would go on to be displayed and given away at the Garden Press Event 2020, in London, as a publicity stunt, where they were a huge hit with the press, journalists and magazine writers.
"We also wanted to say thank you again for all the hard work you put into making our mini garden buildings! As you may have been able to tell from Instagram last night – they were very well received and will hopefully be sitting on lots of very important people’s desks today."
EVOLUTIONARY ROBOTICS 2019
This installation was commissioned by Keele University as part of the Stoking Curiosity Festival (Link below). The project involved linking various areas of science with different artists, in order to produce an artistic outcome, which would engage a new audience with science. In my particular case Evolutionary Robotics was linked with Ceramics. I worked with Adam Stanton, Lecturer from Keele University, who specialises in Evolutionary Robotics and taught me about some of the processes and the theories behind this area of science. Although i'm sure I barely scratched the surface, I picked out some key elements to take forward and turn into art.
For the installation I took the designs of some of the computer generated robots and translated them into 3D ceramic forms. Then displayed each piece in a hierarchical rising form, with more 'evolved' robots rising to the top and the 'unevolved' robots scattered at the bottom of the hierarchy.
The finished piece is due to be on display at Keele University, but it was put on hold due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
GASLIGHT AND WASTERS 2018
Gaslight & Wasters was a collaboration between myself and Fine Artist Andrew Cliff, who is based at the ACAVA Spode studios.
Inspired by both the history and the exciting changes in the re-purposing of the site, the exhibition combined pieces produced during our first two years at Spode.
Gaslight refers to the histories of the site. The artwork is an interpretation of these histories; the traces left, the stories and atmospheres these spaces retain. Use has been made of the footprint textures, colours and sensations, and inspiration was found in exploring and engaging with the architecture and remains of the old factory.
Wasters is an industry term, referring to discarded pieces of unwanted pottery. An allusion to the closure of the working factory, the site’s history moves forward, preserved through an imaginative reclamation of its past.
Our perception of heritage and its transition into the modern domain holds alternative options for expression. My body of work centred around a vision of the current state of heritage and the importance of preserving its ‘wasters’, presenting them in a way which enabled us to recognise and reconnect with our past. The desire to grow, develop and create new things does not make our heritage inconsequential, it provides a structure from which to build and reflect on how it has brought us to our current state of being. The collective pieces represent the journey from the ruined state, its reclamation and the materialisation of heritages sanctuary.
STOKE SKYLINE 2016
This is a piece which went on to inspire a series of artworks for an exhibition at Centre Space Gallery, in the Spode Museum Trust Heritage Centre, in December 2018.
The piece visually represents the landscape of the potteries and celebrates the history of the bottle kilns which were once abundant.
The glazed surface explores the array of colours seen in the landscape, from the slate blue tiles to the red bricks obscured by the smoky atmosphere generated by the kilns.
The young people choose stories and skills of the people of the industry to explore. They capture the untold aspects of heritage that can only be found through the people that worked there and get hands-on finding out about traditional skills and ways of making.