Scaling the heights of folly. Today’s test drawings with cobalt onto clay, getting ready for Newport Live ChARTism on the Hill project this spring. Looking forward to seeing these turned blue in the kiln of Chepstow-based ceramicist Ned Heywood.
As part of a group of commissioned public interventions in 2017, Parry & Glynn affirm Newport’s offer to international democracy, stepping inside the Chartist rising of 1839. In making ‘In their footsteps: legacy and contribution’ we explore how static commemorative forms (paving stones, 3D work on plinths, handmade clay shoes, inscriptions) can be re-purposed as a call to creative imagination, action and journeys.
These domestic test statements scratch the elbow of a political ceramics tradition which was prominent in the early 19th century. It was fun to draw out visual associations from direct contact with the materials: the cup handle becomes a tunnel, the idea of Tunnel Visions leads to Kenneth Budd’s Newport Chartist mural of 1978-2013, now in fragments and memory. The idea of moving forward together – not everyone’s cup of tea.
‘Thou greybeard, old Wisdom! may boast of thy treasures;
Give me with young Folly to live;
I grant thee thy calm-blooded, time-settled pleasures,
But Folly has raptures to give.’
– Robert Burns, The Raptures of Folly (1793)
Update 4 Feb 2017:
Announcing the Glazed Expressions™ range of ceramic mementoes. As expected, finer detail lost in the firing but I like the slightly blurred quality and how that expresses faulty recollection. A series of Vague Memories will be fun to make. Next stop: experimenting with transfers for the ‘Parry & Glynn Boots’ (St. Woolos) and Lady Rhondda’s shoes for Downing Street in March.
Souvenir of Now (2017) Cobalt glaze test piece.
‘I got into a spot of bother’ (2017) Cobalt glaze test.
Meanwhile: questions of agency and authority; trying to square the following:
1. “It’s amazing what you can get away with.” – director’s response to my self-initiated experiments with charcoal animation in studio downtime.
2. “Art is what you can get away with.” – Andy Warhol
3. The idea that European law is based on what is right, while English law is based on what is possible (a.k.a. what you can get away with) See: Brexit, David Hockney’s Sun masthead…
Update 18 March
Newport unveiling postponed to May means a bit of extra time to develop images to apply to the working man’s size 15 boots for St Woolo’s and Lady Rhondda’s shoes, which Ned Heywood Studios have fired and glazed: