Tuesday, 8 December 2009

A Slice Of Christmas Action...

I’ve just had a busy weekend at the first Joseph Chamberlain Sixth Form Art Department Christmas Fair. I’ve really enjoyed myself amongst all the great regional artists that we managed to get on board to take part. These included friends such as leading ceramicists Craig Underhill, Simon Hancox, Emma Spence, and Serge Sanghera. Serge is an interesting artist whose ceramic practise revolves around his interest in the relationship between the martial art aikido and the circular movement of the clay vessel on the wheel. After some meditation Serge slices the revolving vessel with a samurai sword. His demonstrations in his martial art gear had everyone spellbound.
The vessels themselves are simple forms that when sliced create incredibly beautiful new forms from the momentum of the action as it strikes the moving clay. I loved the process of his art, the fact that they were created ‘in the moment’, with very little interference later, just a stroke of painted glaze. They had a poetic quality that really moved me. I treated myself to one of them as an early Chrimbo present (to myself!) Here’s a link to his website:

Craig Underhill

I also managed to acquire one of Craig’s vessels, which I’ve long admired but can never select one, until this weekend. We exchanged a piece for one of my recent etchings. Above is an example similar to the one I obtained. I also sold one of these etchings to photographer (and fellow Bob Dylan nut!) Tony Lawlor. We exchanged money to the sound of Bob’s wonderful ‘Christmas In The Heart’ CD tinkling in the background. It was a nice surprise to sell something. It made me feel a bit more relaxed about buying one of Serge’s vessels. My etchings received lots of good feedback, which was encouraging.

It was great chatting to all the visitors and artists over the weekend, which also included painters, clock makers, jewellers, and wood turners, and make a few new contacts. I think the students also got a lot out of meeting the artists too. We could have done with a few more visitors, but it was the department’s first event of this kind. I personally hope to see it grow. It certainly inspired me…

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