Sunday, 23 October 2011


There's alot of learning and teaching going on. I'm learning how to teach by remembering how to learn. She's learning how to learn by forgetting how she was taught. The other one's being taught how to learn stuff she was never taught before. He's learning that living is about using what you've been taught and learning to make that work for you. I'm very proud of everyone in this family...but we all know waht pride comes before (Peggey Mitchell)......there's still room to celebrate how hard everyone is working to get where they want to's always been that way i isuppose but you have to stop and notice in the Autumn...before it's too cold to think.
Craftmanship is being mourned by some and teahing it poses a number of potential problems...opportunity, taste, dexterity, diversity. Why don't young people do pottery? At teaching school we think its because they don't like to get thier clothes dirty. it may seem ridiculous but it's a real promblem. Culturally, we have too much to lose by messing up our Abercrombie and Fitch Tees...our G-Stars....My son alwys complained as a youth that he didn't have the 'right' clothes....all very socially uncomfortable.....but he's an artist because he never had anyting to protect. No reputation, no 'style' no educational lecgacy....he was diverse already.....he got in there with a sewing machine and a pot of paint.

Monday, 21 March 2011

I know it's not very professional to use offensive language whilst blogging but i dont think i can spell anyway and when i try to edit myself it doesnt seem honest. I believe Mark Zuckerberg describd his girlfreind as a bitch when she dumped him for being a boring arsehole. Andrea Dunbar didnt cosider possible offence i'm sure when she wrote The Arbor or Rita, Sue and Bob Too. Then there was the Sex Pistols. It's hard to self censor when you grew up to lyrics like thiers. Swearing and cussing and offensive language is a professional hazard in a live setting, i do, of course, understand and respect sensitivity and i save my tactless verbosity for those situations i feel comfortable about, well at least i thought i did. But what about the blogspot? Comfort zone or proffesional liability? Drunken naked pictures on Facebook. . a bad advert for prospective employers? We're all crossing the lines between work and play. We bring work home. we take home to work. I work for myself I make the rules. if i'm late i give myself a brief mild warning then make a little joke to diffuse the tension, i take a long lunch, many tea breaks and frequently finish early to catch the shop before my favorate Spelt loaf is sold out. I rarely take annual leave because i can't afford the air fare and anyway i have two cats who get upset easily. This will all change soon when i have to join the judgemental world of Duran Duran fans and Classics graduates who can blaspheme in Greek or call me a stupid fat slag in Latin. . .must look that up.. . . .oh well I know how to act and how to avoid offence-my grandmother was a Victorian. She once discovered a reporter's notebook of mine filled with expletives and vulgar aspertions about her when i was staying at her cramped, overheated, coundil flat in Carpenders Park, my Dad was called and i was sent home in disgrace to my joy. . . back to my Buzzcocks records and smoking den in the barley fields of Herefordshire. It wa just a phase. . . or was it? I wasn't in the Brownies but i did fancy the yellow bandana. I have made mistakes and once called someone twisted which caused offence because they associated it with 'sick' but i just meant complicated and and interesting, i think he forgave me. Sychophancy is one of my greatest bugbears and i am not guilty that's for sure. Professonalism is important and i do expect it in other people but i also expect honesty and acceptance of individuality. . so to all you struggling third year aritsts out there . . a faggot is a round meaty dumpling in gravy often served with mash potato and peas, and a term of endearment i frequently use.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Saturdays are for babysitting and eating chips. It seems a long time since i was earning any money for doing stuff. Living costs alot and London costs an extra amount for the privilige of feeling like life has some kind of cultural connectivity. someone asked me today why i dont move to the country for a while mostly for inspiration. . . .i was horrified. . .what do you think i am going to make fucking pottery frogs? My work thrives on popular culture and my junk tv addiction syndrome drives my creative force. . . trees and flowers are for retirement plans and wheelchair bound moments . . they are sure to come and i will be the first to get out me watercolours and 00 paint brushes to record in fine detail the lesser spotted letch. until then, i think i will take my chances waiting for a natural moment that the overwhelming need to say something about something forces my creative hand. Being a potter hasnt really been able to adapt to an impromptu urban existance. . .well not if you live in a council flat in Camden Town and have no realistic income. No doubt if i lived in the Home Coaunties and had a few succesful property developments under my casually slackened macrame belt i could fire up a decent soda kiln in the converted garage and be very convincing. saturdays are also for catching up on American idol and Jersey shore although the latter might just force me to consider moving to the country where they cant get a tv signal and no one minds the smell of smoke and dangers of sodium choride and other toxic fumes.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Mums the Word- Will’s mum casts her applied eye over the world of student art

I’m working on the Archive for the ceramics department. In 2009 the university withdrew the course to newcomers and it will close next year as the final few students graduate in what will probably be a right old send off in a private gallery with sushi and champagne (I think we have a bit of a reputation for fancy degree show catering . . .could be making up for something lacking elsewhere- I don’t know). Anyway, the closure will also coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of Harrow Ceramics- a kind of bastion of pottery that had it’s hey day back in the seventies when potters were potty and artists were arty and no one had to write a fucking thing about any of it. So what the department is left with to do with as they see fit is decade’s worth of ceramic artefacts which have been dusted down and photographed. I make them look a bit more uniform as a collection and they will be posted on Facebook to either return them to their owners or discover who owns them. I’m thinking of copying Eduardo Savarin’s algorithm for Harvard a right left preference selection to see which piece comes out as most attractive, either that or compare them to farm animals – should be quite possible in some cases.

One thing that has arisen from this strange catalogue is how really awful most of the work is. Now that may sound a bit harsh and I don’t want to appear disrespectful to the craft I have studied and practiced for the last twenty five years, but I have to say I am fairly upset just how much crap we produce as students. I mentioned this to a curator friend and showed a few examples to qualify my point, which I would love to share but feel it may be considered rude to single out some particularly hideous work then she said ‘But these works are only the beginning of their careers’. I had two thoughts. Firstly omg if that’s how it was at the beginning, then they definitely never went any further. And secondly I was reminded how I was emotionally caught up in dreadful anxiety about my degree show and how I felt it was possibly my finest hour. a culmination of three years of work on which I would be judged as an artist and of course how I would secretly be spotted by a prestigious gallery who would recognise my already stunning contribution to breaking down the barriers between fine and applied arts . . . i was going to be the next Grayson Perry, make a million and go on the talking circuit slaging off the very craft that I made a name for myself with.

Let me just ramble a bit in that middle aged mum way. In our house we have grown up with applied art and fine art existing together-not equally- but observing the overlapping issues and understanding material relationships. Some of you young whippersnappers may not have ever given the applied arts the same levels of regard as conceptualism. A plank of wood leaning up against a wall. . . an engraved plank of wood etc. But material concerns are clearly something to understand. A craftsman is married to his materials, a long suffering unbreachable love affair that endures no matter what pretty young digital thing comes his way, he will nurture and protect that discipline even if it means putting up with things when the going gets tough, no more courses to do, no more investment, no more teaching opportunities, no more commercial viability because IKEA do it so much nicer and so much cheaper. A mixed media artist will flit in and out of scenes, dating with a view to maybe getting involved, using materials like prostitutes going where the good times are to be had, oh I’ll see how this looks in PVC? Neither is correct, neither is wrong, its just different and that difference is what makes for such a curious set of artists as yourselves, all so different in material use and all so different in what you are trying to communicate.

So if you are on Facebook watch out for the ceramic object comparison contest and if you are preparing for your degree show remember Mums words of crafty wisdom ‘don’t be such a faggot all your life’ oh alright then. . Bob Dylan’s poetic words of wisdom ‘you know what you must do, so do it well’. Good luck, I look forward to casting my applied eye over your planks.


Monday, 7 February 2011

i cant believe how difficult it is to blog when life is going on around you . . . .at the moment i am working on the Harrow Ceamics Archive in a very minor role editing photos.. .. .it is an incredible opportunity to see the variety of expressions and techniques possible.. . . .i recognise some styles
or phases that i have been through and some others not so much and then in amongst the hundreds of images are my colleagues and my own. .. . we stand up nicely against the years of making. . . . there are some very funy sights though. . and i know some sad stories as well. . . .o well i am thinking of changing my name to Joan Holloway/Harris. . . . ..
also sad to here about Gary Moore. one of favourate guitarists . ..
Saw Susan Hiller today loved the girls with telekenisis. . . .and the little water bottles in the wall case. Sarah Pucil was standing next to me while i looked at it. . . quite interesting
also enjoyed the Orozco. ... .. especialy teh empty shoe box on the floor. . not! maybe the tyres. . .coz i like the smell of rubber. . . . .
Happy New Rabbit/Cat Year
which reminds me. . . .one so rarely gets the opportunity to sing Year of the Cat without guilt. . . .
does this mean i can only play it over the lunar new year. . or perhaps right up till the Dragon?
anyway shouldnt it be the year of the Metal Cat?