Learning Agreement 2012

Barry Snelson

Learning Agreement Jan 2012

From the initial thoughts about ceramic sculpture and the relationship of my own industrial sculpting experience, the design route, through investigation has taken my journey into abstract art.

With the abstraction of the gorilla’s face, there were numerous avenues of design offered, my development of form is an ambiguity of size and minimalist features. What I mean by this, is that the recent sculptures/ forms I have worked on can be translated into much larger installations.

Take stage 6 for example, the sculpture goes through a number of changes and developments, without intentionally trying to create a desired objective or form.

During the process of design, without it sounding ridiculous, I have let the process of making and creation speak to me.

The recent introduction of porcelain now give’s me the opportunity to handle a new material which is proving to have its own characteristics compared to clay and modelling clay, it’s an art form in itself.

I do wonder whether the artists control of porcelain is recognition of his/her own ability to adapt to a new and challenging materials. As I can imagine many potters being put off working with it. However, the latest sculpture now takes the development of form into a new, and to me, an unknown area.

I decided to use the original slip cast of the gorillas face to mould the porcelain. Allowing the natural curves to create shape . I’m happy to use this method as personally I like to see the relationship of the stages of art work, yet ironically the porcelain forms made don’t instantly shout out any relationship to the original sculpture.

The recent sculptures in porcelain are designed to be free standing, without a recognisable foot/base, to be mounted on either natural stone or black basalt. As yet I haven’t got that far as working on the 3 porcelain pieces has taken a tremendous amount of time which I’m for ever conscious about. It’s something I’m trying to ignore and just work on the pieces without feeling pressured by quantity expectations.

A recent idea I had, having seen some work exhibited at the Hanley Museum, was to have some of my final work presented purely in clay form. Not only does the clay appear aesthetically pleasing, a natural body of material, it embodies a life of its own. As we know, the firing process changes the natural appearance ready for the next stage of glazing or what ever the potter/ sculpture so desires.

However, in every stage of making the gorilla’s face and subsequent forms I would have to say that the clay body truly reflects my desire to model, master the material, face the challenges of manipulation, and the pleasure of succeeding. The metamorphosis of wet to dry would allow the viewer to experience first hand the transition of the clay and direct participation of the making process.

It is, however, just an idea at this stage and one I need to discuss with Dave.

Nether-the-less I envisage a number of fired porcelain pieces being made over the next few weeks.

It’s still my intention to use some of the smaller pieces as a basis of design and inspiration. Some of the cut up pieces resemble vessels and free standing abstract art. Along side the current porcelain pieces I intend to make a number of large free standing sculptures. The example of Stage 6 demonstrates the potential of making a large installation.

The contrast of the recent porcelain model and Stage 6, one minimalist, refined, without texture and the other enhancing the properties of the clay, again allows me to have the option of either direction. I would have to say, I would be happy with both examples being included in my final


To-date I intend to pursue the model making using the porcelain, to final completion, the introduction of black basalt or natural stone. Increase the size of some the sculptures, as like the stage 6 piece. Develop some vessels based on the original marquette‘s, most likely in porcelain, both small and large.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s