Year 3 – Field PDP

First I would like to express my appreciation to the classmates who volunteered themselves to organise fund raising activities, print catalogues and all other marketing work to ensure a successful up-coming exhibition. Without their effort the exhibition would not have happened.  As I discovered that whether a solo exhibition or a group exhibition, to work with people in a group or team is essential. I am very appreciative of the team spirit that they passed to their fellow classmates.

The aim of my work emphasises the beauty of form and quality of the material which can be delivered whilst integrating both the use of traditional skills and contemporary concept. In this regard, the way I displayed the objects retained its simplicity in order to accentuate all the elements and avoid artificial and vibrant colours. Choosing colour for the background also had a certain degree of difficulty to contrast the colour between the objects and shelves. A rich dark chocolate colour was chosen because I found the hint of brown was echoed in the wood and at the same time highlighted the whiteness of the objects.

In this project I came across a lot of problems and a huge amount of work, I enjoyed every part of it. The only thing I did not consider enough of was setting up the shelves. It actually involved a lot of hard work and manual labour which I did not mind doing but I felt embarrassed that I needed to involve Caroline, Matt and Jemma as well.

Although the idea of displaying the objects on a plinth had been developed in the early stage, I was in fact not positive whether this arrangement would be the best way to show the objects since the decoration on the objects are related to my personal experiences and I would like to emphasise their importance. It is probably a little weak to express the message I would like to convey if only several objects are alined on a long narrow plinth. At a late stage of the project, I found new inspiration (refer to post : Change the perception by the quantity), I changed my idea of displaying the objects from a plinth to hanging them on the wall and increased the number of the objects which included needing to make more wooden shelves. The sudden change led my schedule to become more intense and significantly increased the amount of work needed to be done in a short period of time. Even though time was tight, I kept communicating with technicians and asked for advice from tutors before taking any more steps.

Another thing that I did not realize in advance which was the object’s surface became smooth and sleek after it was glazed so it slid on the sanded wooden shelves easily. To remedy the issue, I have to put museum glue underneath the object to secure it in place. Therefore, the object cannot be moved in order to view a different angle for audiences to enjoy the narrative painting on the surface.

Unlike individual creation which is a work and an idea that only exists behind the scenes whereas the exhibition is for us to introduce, through the work, ourselves as an artist and designer to the public. In fact, it also involves a different area of how to introduce ourselves to the public such as using business cards, post cards and setting up websites. Since I hoped I could fully develop my idea before ordering the business cards and setting up websites, I kept delaying the progress. That caused me a little stress at the end as it nearly led to the press pack not being finished. In fact, the aim of introducing ourselves in various ways is not only for completing the project but also to ready us for starting our practice.

An ending is just a new beginning and a new journey is waiting ahead for every student. Even though I have gone through three years of study, there are still a lot of areas I would like to explore. To fulfil my goal, I need to find a studio or work space to start with, so I am applying first for INC Space and Firework will be my second attempt. If the application is successful, I will endeavour to make full use of this opportunity and all the facilities the scheme or workshop offers to continue my professional development.

The residency in Jingdezhen was inspiring. Other than my knowledge in ceramics, my skills and techniques have improved and I also met some local artists and students who share the same approach as me, that is, we also admire and value our tradition but at the same time long for innovation and change. They appreciate and are interested in Western art and in particular its concept, but for various reasons their learning opportunities are restricted. Every year many artists around the world visit Jingdezhen to take up residency or to learn the traditional skills and techniques. The local authorities take this opportunity to invite those artists to run lectures or exhibitions, so that the local and foreign artists can exchange ideas and knowledge. What I was delighted to see and witness was the mutual learning and artistic exchange and I believe that it is a good sign which impacts on ceramic art no matter whether it is the East or the West.

I really hope that not too long in the future I can visit Jingdezhen again to continue to develop and learn new skills and techniques and at the same time to share and exchange ideas with local Chinese artists, likewise, I will share this knowledge in this country.

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inseparable relationship

Conventional porcelain which is exquisitely decorated and the way they are displayed give a sense that they are fragile and not to be touched. Using wood gives a sense of warmth that is just right to balance the contrast with the porcelain. The idea of using wood in displaying porcelain in traditional Chinese ceramics is solely for auxiliary purpose. To increase the whole aesthetic value to the piece, it is important to enhance the relationship between these two materials. In my work the curved bottom of the object cannot stand by itself and the shelf is only an empty shelf without any meaning if the object did not exist.

To give the wooden shelves a final touch, I laser etched my Chinese name onto them on which the decorated objects would be placed.

 

Exhibition set up – 3

Although my business card has been printed, I was aiming to leave the audiences with a more memorable impression so a postcard is ideal. I designed three postcards about the objects which were developed at different stages – without decoration, the illustration only and the blue and white decoration. The image on the postcard revealed only half of the object. The intention is to emphases the beauty of the form even on a 2D image and the attention will not only be drawn to the decoration. Then on the back of the postcard contact information was laser etched. The laser etching gives a nice tactile quality to the card.

Untitled-1

Exhibition set up – 2

I lined up the objects and shelves to measure the most appropriate space between each of the objects then started to draw out grid lines on the board.

Following the grid lines, I marked out the position of the wooden shelves and numbered each shelf as well as recorded their numbers on their position marks on the board. It was important to keep the middle row, where the decorated objects would be placed, at about eye level.

The next step was to carefully place masking tape by following the position marks and then measuring the pilot holes for drilling. The board is now ready for painting.

After the board was painted the masking tape could be removed and position marks were revealed. Next the shelves were installed which was the hardest job of the whole process and needed two people to hold the MDF and shelf in place on one side and another person to drill through the MDF and shelf from the other side.

In the end, the process took about three hours to finish and the panel could be put up. The result was more than satisfactory and no miscalculated measurements were made.

Even though the background board and shelves have been put up, there were marks and dust left on the board during installation and needed to be tidied up.

Exhibition set up – 1

The layout of the degree show has finally been released. I believe every student has been allocated sufficient space for displaying their work.

While feeling excited about it, there is a lot of measurement and props needed to be made.

Since I have changed my initial idea of displaying the objects from using plinth to display them on floating shelves, there will be quite a few of floating shelves needed to be fixed to the wall. In terms of using the space appropriately, I need to know how much space will be taken up by the objects. So I have lined up two pieces of MDF, which are the same size of the wall that I am going to use, on the floor then arranged the wooden shelves I made and the objects to simulate the installation. Then I can measure up the approximate size of the space to be used and also I can cut out another piece of timber to make a panel which will be painted as a background to my pieces.

The way I display the objects is to make a panel of certain thickness attached to the wall. Again this idea is inspired by the European style which was of displaying porcelain on wall panelling. Instead of using fancy borders to form a panel, I made a panel that came out from the wall with appropriate background colour to show up the pieces. That I believe it will highlight the pieces better. Choosing the background colour was a little difficult due to the wood and the objects containing dark and light tones respectively. So I need to choose a colour that can emphasis the whiteness of the objects. A darker tone is preferred but it is essential not to disturb the natural beauty of the wood. I will consider a very dark colour which can highlight both the objects and wooden shelves or a colour lighter than the wood but dark enough to show up the objects.

mock installation

Change the perception by the quantity

In conventional Chinese art methodology, the idea of using wood in displaying porcelain is solely for ancillary purpose. More often than not discarded it plays an unimportant part of the display. The aim of my work is to enhance the relationship between these two materials reinforcing the whole aesthetic value of the piece.

In this regard, I took the European idea of the display of porcelain pieces as a reference. Here is another inspiration (see picture below) which is a sequence of small eighteenth-century vases from the Nanking Cargo (salvaged in 1984) on one of the two panels flanking a fireplace at Glamis Castle. The brackets were designed by Melissa Wydham.

Although the vases are not large in size, they were systematically lined up and grouped together and that immediately became the focus point in the room, while the specially designed brackets echo the shapes of the vases that emphasise the delicacy and decorative effect of the vases.

Rather than displaying the objects on plinths, I have adopted this method of wall hanging. Further the objects are given a better perspective by the inversion of the wooden stands.

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blue and white mounted on wall

 

Timeline Development

For full information of the graduation work and exhibition. Please click the following links.

Subject 

https://florencefung.wordpress.com/2016/01/15/graduation-project/

Field (Exhibition)

https://florencefung.wordpress.com/category/field/

 

* * * * * * * ** * * * * * * ** * * * * * * *

Ideas

September to October 2015

  • Developed initial idea of the graduation work

October 2015

  • Initial idea had changed from tension to calmness expression

November 2015

  • Continue to develop ideas in terms of how to decorate the objects

graduation project

From the end of December to the beginning of February 

  • Due to focus on finishing the dissertation, the project was put on hold.

March

  • Inspired by Jaime Hayon, I took traditional blue and white porcelain then reassembled to form a new pattern

April 2016  

  • using my personal memories as well as these three years of studying to developed a series of illustration.
  • took a traditional technique called kai-guang, which was used by artisans in Jingdezhen since the Ming Dynasty, to create my illustration
  • changed to display the objects from plinth to hang them on the wall. The idea was inspired by the European displaying method

May 2016

  • mock installation of the objects

Context

October 2015 – 

  • Started to conduct research, including eastern and western artists who have the same cultural background or the same creative ideas like mine such as Ai WeiWei, Ah Xian  Faig Ahmed, Wang Shu and Lu Wen Yu
  • conducting research about chinese ceramics and in particular blue and white porcelain
  • Positioning Practicelecture ran by Cath Davis

From the end of December to the beginning of February 

  • Due to focus on finishing the dissertation, the project was put on hold.
  • took the advice of the external examiner – experiment on decorating the wooden stand

From the end of January –

  • Conducted research about the exhibition in particular of how porcelain was displayed by the West and East.
  • Corridor exhibition curation
  • research – “Emulsion” exhibition by Amy Smith and Simon Levin
  • created a post for recording artists work which gave me inspiration

February

  • finished the exhibition proposal and continue the research for ideas for the exhibition.

 

Skills

September to October 2015

  • Learning traditional skills in Jingdezhen, China. Including carving, onglaze and underglaze painting.

End of October 2015

  • carried glaze tests including different types of cobalt and other underglaze colours

November

  • Focus on practicing blue and white painting

December

  • Re-made another mold which is 15% larger than the first mold

From the end of December to the beginning of February 

  • Due to focus on finishing the dissertation, the project was put on hold.

January

  • Refine the porcelain objects by using sandpaper of various grit in order to deliver a skin-smooth-liked texture.

February

  • Carried other glaze tests of which I would like to achieve an effect which is similar to Chinese ink painting to create my blue and white decoration on the object.
  • Used laser etching to decorate the wooden stand

Early March 2016

  • The porcelain did not turn white instead it was a dull greyish colour. After discussing and consulting the problems with TDs, Anne Gibbs, Claire and fellow students I carried out tests of different clay bodies and firing temperatures hoping to address the issue.

photo

  • attened screen printing induction and finished a series of new patterns which were takern from traditional blue and white porcelain then reassembled to form a new pattern

Mid of March 2016

  • attended wood lathe turning induction

End of March 2016

  • Due to the fire temperatue had been changed the glazes I used are no longer suitable for the work. Another series of glazes test were commenced.
  • Tried to find the most appropriate temperature for firing the cobalt so that the cobalt blue can be shown at a low temperature

April 2016  

  • Developed illustration and paint it with cobalt onto the objects

End of April 

  • Making the wood stands / shelves

May

  • exhibition setting up – measure out the shelves position, paint the background colour and put the shelves up