Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Quiet On The Set

The first video shoot  revolved primarily around the making of a delft puzzle jug which I described preparations for in an earlier post. In addition we filmed the beginnings of making an 18th century agateware pectin shell teapot literally from start to finish. Those who are familiar with my 'experimental archeology' may know the article in Ceramics in America 2003 Rob Hunter and I coauthored that features my work on the rediscovery of this technique.  The example I chose from the V&A collection I exhibit alongside an 8th-century Chinese agate wine cup to illustrate's Rob's observations that the 18th-century Staffordshire technique was clearly derived from Chinese antiquity. Leave it to the V&A to have more than one example of each of these objects to make the point!

While on the subject of my cases I want to acknowledge the highly professional label installation that took place about a week after the installation of the objects. Clearly Phil Collett and Keith Hartnell take their jobs very seriously ( no really they do) and for me it really was kind of a big deal - well done!

The puzzle jug video went semi well -excellent actually- the videographer Jurriaan Booij has been amazing and I love when the caliber of work that has gone into the preparation and making is matched or exceeded with the artistry in filming and/or photography. I have had the pleasure of that experience many times doing photo shoots for CIA with Gavin Ashworth who also shoots my contemporary work.
We did have some drama when at a critical moment the pot fly's off the wheel, pretty funny but made the last bit a little tricky. The sacrificial puzzle jug can be seen on the table a 'bit' worse for wear.
Jurriaan Booij the videographer, the sacrificial puzzle jug is in the background
The first part of the agate video begins at the beginning so I found myself unexpectedly charged with needing to create original models for the teapot, spout, lid and finial to cary out a start to finish approach  . Meanwhile all the various metallic oxides, dry clay formulas (which are hard to come by) had to be found ordered and delivered and then made into the varied clays of iron, manganese, and cobalt then tested and reformulated and tested again fortunately I got it in 2 attempts. The blue ball clay available here made a nice addition and the red iron oxide seems much better that what I get in the US.
Of course a glaze formula had to be made- enter in the last 5 kg of gerstley borate in the country from Bath and I needed to replace a very stable but low temperature frit I use in the US that there is no direct equivalent for here. Challenges abound but again what I could do much more directly in the studio provided me with new insight into the ceramic materials industry here and how the vast historical footprint of potteries in Britain is clearly evidenced in the approach to manufacturing raw materials which always influences the approach to making.

This image is a hint into the eureka moment we had while filming which I will 'unpack' in an upcoming post.
The lovely agate teapot from the V&A's collection in my case.

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