I am undertaking a residency at Guldagergaard Ceramic Research Centre in Denmark to make new work that will be exhibited at The Ceramic House in May 2014, setting the context for the exhibition Fantastic Tales: Danish Contemporary Ceramics with 15 leading Danish ceramists. My piece will be subsequently exhibited at European Ceramic Context 2014 in Bornholm (Denmark). Funded by ACE and Danish Embassy. Brighton University is hosting artists talks.
Here ends my Denmark-Brighton ceramics project of 2014. I have accomplished everything I set out to do and much more.
I have just sent off my final report to the Arts Council of England, who generously funded the project, without which it would never have been possible.
Thank you a-n for hosting my blog and providing this marvellous resource called Artists Talking where artists from every walk of life can document, comment, express views, share ideas, inspire, communicate and collaborate!
In the creation of my new work, I have:
– undertaken a residency at a state-of-the-art international ceramics studio and created the first major body of my own work (i.e. not for a commission) in 19 years of working as a professional artist
– pushed my work in a new direction, creating a brand new way of creating my ceramics slip casting porcelain
– undertaken my first soda wood firing with astonishing results
– created 3 new pieces of work compared to the one I planned to make
– exhibited my new work in 3 formats in 3 exhibitions
– participated in my first international ceramic biennial
– driven 5,500 miles to Denmark and back twice
At The Ceramic House, I have
– curated an acclaimed exhibition of Danish ceramics (Fantastic Tales) at The Ceramic House with 16 renowned ceramic artists
– worked with a filmmaker to create 3 new films about The Ceramic House
– worked with 3 photographers, a graphic designer, an editor and a writer to create a beautiful catalogue documenting the Fantastic Tales exhibition
– led a team of students from Brighton University and volunteers in my studio and helping with all aspects of running the show at The Ceramic House
– as an afterthought, ran a series of drop-in tile-making workshops during the Open Days of the exhibition
– established what I hope will become a lasting, fruitful relationship with the ceramics department of Brighton University
– received support from the Embassy of Denmark
Press and publicity:
– Fantastic Tales attracted printed previews and features in Ceramic Review, Crafts, Pretty Nostalgic and Glazed Expressions (TACS) magazine, Absolute Magazine, The Latest magazine
– Online articles in: Arterritory, Culture 24, Culture Nordic, and many more
– TV feature on Latest TV
Youtube link here:
– received 5527 (real) visitors to the exhibitions in Brighton plus approximately 10,000 visitors to European Ceramic Context in Bornholm
– received 67,145 (virtual) visitors online
– in total 82,769 people involved in this project
– created 14 new products/commissions
– 22 artists and 75 participants directly involved in the project
– The Ceramic house website has had 8973 visitors with 32,000 views over last 12 months; current all time views (since March 2012) – over 76,000 visits now compared to 50,000 a year ago, therefore interest has increased 50% in one year.
– The Ceramic House Facebook page reached over 45,000 people in last 12 months with 3057 fans now compared to 751 a year ago.
Keep an eye on my new Artists Talking blog “In A Shetland Landscape”, a collaboration with Joseph Young, which will follow our ceramics and sound residency at Scalloway Booth in August 2015 leading to an exhibition at Shetland Museum and Archives in April 2016…
Here is a selection of my pick of photographs from all the other exhibitions I visited that took place on the island of Bornholm that, combined, formed European Ceramic Context 2014. I didn’t manage to see all of them but the opening weekend itself was a whirlwind of criss-crossing the island attending one opening event after another, meeting friends, artists, curators, directors, collectors and students over and again. A hive of talent, excitement, activity and buzz!
While we were back on Bornholm, we paid a visit to Bornholm Art Museum, which is a real treat. A fabulous architectural gem set in a location with a stunning view over the Baltic. It is soon to be extended with a wing built especially to house a very recent gift of 300 sculptures from Denmark’s most famous living sculptor, Jorgen Haugen Sørensen, which we were privileged to see on the first day of opening.
While back there, I paid another visit to the European Ceramic Context 2014 Ceramic Art exhibition, this time in peace, in stark contrast to the opening event when there were hundreds of artists, curators and collectors milling around… this is my pick of the highlights of both exhibitions.
While I was in Copenhagen visiting artists and exhibitions, Joseph Young (my partner), artist activist and air council member, arrived to spend the last couple of weeks with me. He thought he was coming for a holiday but in actual fact ended up supporting me through a lot of driving and hard work! Such is the lot of 3D-artists’ partners I fear! Anyway we did have a few lovely stays in gorgeous places along the way.
First stop was a smallholding in the forest in Småland, south Sweden. The house was a treasure, albeit extremely rustic (no bathroom, no running water, compost loo). But I can see why these artist friends of mine moved there. Katja’s studio is a barn right in the middle of the woods with doors that bring the forest in and the inside out. One of the most beautiful lakes ever just an amble through the trees…
A few days later we crossed the Baltic Sea and arrived back on Bornholm for a brief stay to take the installation down from Rønne Library, hard work because I had gone for extra precautions in keeping the ceramics on the wall, i.e. several different adhesives, all of which worked very well! But get it off we did, however not without a few breakages. Next time I will be slightly less cautious perhaps!
Off on another ferry to Zealand and we spent one night at Guldagergård Ceramic Research Centre. The following day was spent packing up the hundreds of soda wood fired pieces that came out of the kiln. Unfortunately I didn’t even have time to absorb them, but a quick glance revealed that they came out even better than last time with more texture and colours and beautiful effects. It was an ambitious thing to fit in, doing a wood firing in the middle of having an exhibition, but I guess ambition and workaholism a successful artist make (correction: or attempt to make). Anyway it all got packed into the trusty artmobile up to the rafters again (so much for getting rid of 10 boxes of Danish ceramics).
And off we drove across the Storbælt, the bridge linking Zealand and Fynen and across the Lillebælt to Jutland ending up in Århus, Denmark’s second city. Lone Borgen, one of the artists in Fantastic Tales, had invited us to stay in her Koloniehave, another particularly Danish concept. This one was founded around the ideal of giving city dwellers a garden, so anyone who does not have a summerhouse (a very popular thing in Scandinavia) is eligible to have a koloniehave. A very good friend of mine in Copenhagen is lucky enough to have one and introduced the concept to me. It is a bit like allotments but rather than grow vegetables everyone has a chalet/cabin in a garden and many actually live there all summer in a wonderful communal environment. Very special. So I was excited about the prospect of Lone’s koloniehave and I was not disappointed. Very charming, as was Lone’s studio, a 3 story centuries-old former laundry, bang in the centre of Århus. She gave us a tour and we made sure we didn’t miss ARoS, Århus Art Museum, famous for Olafur Eliasson’s rainbow panorama, a sensory feast for the eyes.
From there we forged the furthest north I have ever been in Denmark, my first visit to Ålborg, to visit an old friend who was happily borrowing a Hansel and Gretel house in the woods. Yet again, wow! What a place! We lived a couple of days of enchantment there before heading south and out of Denmark, destination Berlin.
We spent a few days visiting friends and doing a bit of business and busy-ness (not much art or fun to be had this time unfortunately, but laying plans to start spending a lot more time in this wonderful city) before heading for the final stop of Amsterdam, where I managed to badly sprain my ankle within hours of arriving, completely scuppering my longed-for 3 days of “pure holiday” before hitting the ferry home. And it’s still not healed 3 weeks later. But hey, at least it didn’t happen at the beginning of my 6 week Scandinavian odyssey!