Friday, May 29, 2009

Gilding the weapon; Lustre application.

Lustre application to the Rats.
The final touches to the pairs of rats. Applying gold and silver lustre to the weapon like over sized tails of the the apposing rats. Clothed in their respective symbolic floral outfits while branding their tattooed insignia; they will embody the conflicting views of respective groupings in the plaque of intolerance prevalent in our society today. More of the symbolism, the expressive function and references once the pieces are completed and professionally photographed.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Ceramic Transfer and Decal Application Techniques

Ceramic Decal and or Transfer application.
My intent is to utilize existing ceramic transfers in a new an exciting way; enhancing and accentuating the existing ceramic form, whilst adding meaning to the piece, as explained in a previous post entry - exploring surface development options. The ceramic decals and or transfers are cut and applied to the ceramic rat forms in an unconventional way. Normally the transfer takes centre stage and are positioned in the centre of the piece (conventional approach in tea cups and teapots). Closer observation will reveal the opposite - often the design is cut in half and placed in the cavity of the form to accentuate the three dimensionality of the animated ceramic rat forms ( shown in the examples above and below). I have also cut the conventional ceramic transfers into heart shapes, placed strategically, to enhance the butt of the ceramic rats, their tales protruding in weapon like fashion.

Applying Ceramic Transfers.
The development of ceramic surfaces incorporating ceramic transfers and or decals are very exciting. They are a very immediate and direct way of applying decoration, that embraces an old ceramic design tradition, associated with mainly industrial ware. However more recently the printed image has been utilized in a variety of ways; extending one's perception of decoration far beyond the obvious, in both an exciting and dynamic way - often changing the meaning and significance of the piece (challenging our preconceptions of ceramic surface decoration and or development). The work of Paul Scott (UK), Robert Dawson (UK) Marcel Wanders (Droog Design) Hella Jongerius and Tord Boontje are some of the most significant. Often the printed image is manipulated on the computer and transferred to the ceramic products and or plates to challenge the interface of the decoration in relation to the form and shape of the ceramic products. This is achieved by extending the decorative function of the decals to a level of ceramic expression, until recently unexplored. The designers applying their trade to ceramics have led the way and came up with design solutions breaking the mould of ceramic surface development in every way possible.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Rats on Mass; batch production slipcasting.

Studio shot.

Batch Production and refinement of surfaces.
Extending the sgraffito surface development options - derived from an integration of the symbols and insignia to give meaning to the batch production installation.

Brat Pack.
Rats reminiscing - some glazed ready to be fired; others vitrified, showcasing the diverse range of animated configurations and surface development options (brown and black Amaco velvet colours as mentioned before).

Brats production casting in studio.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

@ it with a shuttlecock

Spectacular Mountain views @ Kogmanskloof, Montagu South Africa.
I represented our province at the SA Masters Badminton Championships, held at Robertson in the Robertson Valley on route 60 - two hours from Cape Town. Playing badminton (one of my many hobbies), with a church affiliation such as Anglican, a fine artist with a degree from UCT, whilst living in the town of Parow (located in the Western Cape South Africa); especially during the Afrikaans dominated apartheid era, you were considered a faggot. This was compounded by the fact that I went to an Afrikaans school - kids were forced to play rugby and pursue a career anything else but art. Now I am a ceramist, still playing Badminton and free to express myself - how fortunate we are as a nation (it could have been so different). This should be seen in the context (in solidarity) of the violent breakup of the gay-pride rally held in Russia yesterday. By the way, I was voted Mr Masters (Bum Awards).

Gap through the mountain.

View of Kogmanskloof
Site seeing on the final day of the tournament - a drive to Montagu (30 km from Robertson), located on the famous route 62. The image above is the breathtaking view from the fort situated above the road - driving through Kogmanskloof.

Hannepoot Huisies @ Wederom - Robertson Valley.
Our accommodation was the perfectly maintained and located Hannepoot Huisies (houses) on the farm Wederom, 5.6 km outside Robertson, a town on route 60 towards Worcester - one and a half hours from Cape Town; one of many famous South African wine routes. A group of Italian prisoners of war lived and worked on the farm between 1942-1946. Amongst them were Giovanni Salvadori, who recorded their experiences in recently restored murals. The farm produced a wine in his honour and to promote and salute their legacy. For more details contact Philip and Almien du Toit (082 335 0219) or visit the website

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Of Love & Hate; Hearts at odds.

Alternative surface options.
Whilst processing the manufacture and delivery of transfers, I decided to experiment with some alternative surface options. I decided to apply an old technique used on vases 10 years ago. Sgrafitto, using Amaco under-glaze Velvet colours, incised and fired to vitrified temperatures. The three rats above are painted in brown and black Amaco - the brown rat in the middle already fired (vitrified), whilst the two rats below have been incised, drying to be fired. I will then apply gold transfers to the vitrified surface.

Alternative surfaces - incising through under glaze colours.