It seems like a long journey has come to an end but actually a new journey is beginning for all of us. I believe it will be even more exciting and challenging.
In retrospect, it seems that the first two years were my introduction course and the third year was when I really felt that I had found my direction in that for the future I would like to focus on ceramics.
I felt I benefited a lot from the education system of the university. In my first year, I did not fully recognise the value of the modules as I felt that we were sidetracked into too many areas which detracted from my main subject. However, I am learning to appreciate it and have found that doing research is essential before starting a project. I feel I am very fortunate as I have been provided with nutritional ground for my growth. I can get valuable advice from professional tutors, technicans and lecturers as they make time to advise us when we need them as well as the college providing the materials, facilities and library. Really, I do not know how to express my appreciation in words.
Regarding my graduation work, I thought I had planned everything well beforehand however I realised you can prepare as long as you like, but things never go according to plan, one example was the clay body which has given me a huge headache, on top of that the glazes and cobalt did not come out how I expected due to the temperature change that led to my schedule falling behind. However, this meant I learned more than I expected. I got advice from fellow students, technicians and tutors. Although the experiment has not yet finished, I will continue with the tests and believe that it will benefit my next projects.
The hardest thing about doing this project was to continue developing the idea, but a lot of decisions needed to be made before it was fully realised. For example, printing the catalogue, designing my business card and writing the artist’s statement.
Painting the object with blue and white also pushed me out of my comfort zone. Even though I had practiced using cobalt, it was only on a small scale. Covering a much bigger and curved surface with painting has a certain degree of difficulty and at the same time I needed to make my own drawings which was also a new challenge. I am quite satisfied with the outcome of this challenge. Perhaps, this is how to push the boundaries. If we do not take one step further, we will never know what result we will get.
Compared with my first year, my knowledge in using materials such as different clay bodies, glazing and firing techniques have not improved as much as I expected and I need to continue to strengthen these areas. In the process of creating the graduation work, I encountered the problems of using the porcelain and glazes as mentioned above. That took me quite a long time to overcome these issues and especially those of the clay body. I am still not very certain what caused the porcelain to turn a greyish colour. It may have originated from the clay body or something went wrong in the process. Due to the time issue, in the end I had to make the compromise of lowering the firing temperature to keep the whiteness which I wanted. However, the problems led me to understand how to use the material better.
Ceramics, brought me back to my culture, interest and self-awareness that I think is the fundamental element and root of creation. Furthermore, ceramics has lead me to other various interests such as the use of technologies to assist in the creation and different materials other than ceramics. These three years of studying have given me a clear perception about my direction in art and design. I will continue to solidify my knowledge in ceramics and in particular onglaze and underglaze painting. Meanwhile I will attempt to extend the area of study into different fields such as jewellery, using different materials and in particular employing the use of technology in my creations. Undoubtedly, technologies open up the horizon of creation. At the moment, I am focusing on using Photoshop and Illustration. Later on I would like to learn to use Rhino.
Finally, I recognize that my lack of enthusiasm in participating in activities is a weakness. That caused my involvement to diminish in certain areas. The passing away of my dearest mentor, changed the way I was. I hope I can continue to keep her optimistic and positive spirit alive and pass it on to other people. I am looking forward to finding a mentor in my area of ceramics or even another area, someone who I am able to look up to and will continue to give me advice, ideas and inspiration.