Today I went on a small adventure in search for clay that is naturally sourced. I found a block of red clay , somewhat, ironically mixed in with the soil at Wedgwood’s car park. But I had learnt that there were quarries such as Knutton. On the outside Knutton quarry welcomes visitors but I knew when I saw the barbed wire and metal fencing it wasn’t for explorers, explorers are clay thieves around here. The security is probably for insurance purposes as well, because of large vehicles and the height of the mount of soil, clay and mineral. I naively thought that there would be a way around this, as the council won’t allow the extension of the quarry, therefore the other side of the quarry shouldn’t be prohibited. However the whole island was secured.
With the clay that I picked up from outside Wedgwood I intend to make the rest of the baby heads , in relation to the solid plaster casted heads and the shell-like plaster heads. I have over sixty plaster heads 75 to be exact. In relation to the 2,000 -2,200 kilns that Stoke-on-Trent had thrived with to its now 74. I have worked out the ratio of clay heads to plaster in reflection to this percentage above, having three clay heads. Unfired so that they can return back to the earth. I intend to use the unfired clay baby heads accompanied by the plaster heads in a performance piece. That relates to the current divide over the aspect of a regeneration program here and how the money is being spent on the wrong (?) things. Within the performances I intend to swim through the baby heads and reflect on how I had incorporated the props within the performance.
Whilst driving past I noticed a recycling place Biddulf who look at the more construction side of recycling, I thought, there, just might be clay here. I spoke with the land owner, he mentioned that the clay was/is stokes, and that I could take a bag full for free. As he was closing for the day, I didn’t stop to take pictures. But funnily enough the clay and blue bag form , looking at their own properties make an interesting sculptural work.
Picture to follow…
Image of an open but shut door. The photograph isn’t great in itself but I kept the reminder for later, as food for thought.
Although I have been baptised, I wouldn’t regard myself as being religious. But, honestly, my heart sank in a way that wasn’t teary but strangely gutting – similar to when I was 9 years of age and the classroom assistant at St Laurence stamped on some caterpillars, that she claimed were maggots. When adventuring into the city this evening I noticed St Johns Church. I previously looked up the building online and was intrigued by the thought, that even if I couldn’t get into the building, that the outside might spark off a few thoughts for me. I noticed how the supermarket strived, golden. And that they had navigated the supermarket around the dying church. I noticed how ironic ‘Kingdom Security’ felt. I noticed how concrete blocks had smash up grave stones, I the thought of bones underneath, and the relation these bones had with fired discarded clay, and the sinking economy in stoke and the privately owned ‘clay farms’ that were specialised for brick making. Bricks for what? more buildings? for cheaper made ceramics to fill. In this one instant the world seemed to fall ontop of me. I thought of Wedgwood once more. I thought about this as I took the snaps, I circulated the thought. What is a gravestone? A reminder of a person once lived? a stone in which to remember someone by? A final head rest? the finishing post? As much as I tried to demean the stones as just objects that sell on death. I couldn’t detach the sacred element from these stones. Maybe these were the caterpillars that had got away. I could look past the commodity of these resting places. For me unless there is great cause to move a stone, it should not be moved, as it is essentially a burial site surely even if there is nothing underneath. And then I thought of America. If I ever believed in anything it would be the spirit of things, Tonga being the treasure or gift, maori being the spirit and hau being that of the returned spirit. I have no doubt that the restaurant will be built on bad grounds, just like I had no doubt that those caterpillars were green. The very soul will be gutted in order to fit the wants of the market.
The sighting did propose the idea of such cleansing rituals within the space of the ‘wasteland’ , but this ritual it would seem could be done anywhere here. Stoke seems to speak of a land that fits between the gift , the commodity, the church and the supermarket. The gift dwindling by it’s seams.
The idea of baptisms especially arose with my plans of the bath being that of a portal within my intended film.
The journey continued I was after some footage that incorporates fleeting beauty, I only seem to see it when I have either lost battery on my camera equipment, or with the intention of just popping out the studio to get a drink. So today I thought I’d wear my head cam all day, and have the other battery fully charged.
my aim was to walk as or further than my legs would take me, and when and if the camera ran out of space to write or draw my sightings. I witnessed a few pigeons it was the order and placement of the birds that generated a feed . I thought about my previous footage regarding people and the order in which they navigate within the frames of the architects and the council. Coerced into walking certain ways, doing certain things, reading generic quotes carved in stone as an attempt to gain a stronger form of unity in Hanley. These quotes I found to be dreadfully undermining. These quotes are coherently placed from stone benches to pathways.
What interested me about these birds is the positioning, the ritualised stance, the way they gradually shifted from the space, one by one. However as I was filming a car pulled up a man asked why I was filming pigeons, which added nothing to the scene.