Continuing to make plates as quickly as I can as the end of term looms. In twelve weeks time the kiln will be taken off me, the school will close and the project, or this phase of it, will be over and I will be in the writing up phase. This is my chance to make as much work as I can and to explore the ideas of the project as thoroughly as I can through the making of work.

I have become obsessed to a degree with the making of plates. I have often thought that this was one of the things that the artist teacher should be modelling in the classroom – obsession. Not an easy thing to prescribe or encourage and it has a potentially negative connotation. But as far as art is concerned how else does a big pile of sunflower paintings get done or a whale skeleton covered in graphite markings if not by obsession? Perhaps there’s a better word I should use.

One of the things I am showing in the classroom here is extreme focus and enthusiasm for a narrow range of ideas. I am clearly working my way through something at the back of the classroom. I have delegated the rolling out of clay to Shirley, my technician. I have got year seven involved in the making of sprigs. This afternoon we made plastecine name plates and I poured my fourth big mould with them. There was also a couple of plastic toys, some lego and a toy car under there. After Easter we will be having a go at making these into plates.

Today I worked on a big plate in one of the three moulds I am now using. I made a new one from an Oxfam plate and I have a broken bowl one we bought. Today I was using a camera mould that I made a couple of weeks ago. I poured one half of it and then David Sturman suggested that I make a slip mould of it so I completely encased the camera. I put off taking it apart but in the event it came apart quite easily so today I used the front half as a press mould for the first time.

I was setting off to make the plate I had decided on some time ago to commemorate the carrying of a sketchbook and a camera since the age of fourteen but I got distracted. Shirley has been clearing out the cupboards with me in readiness for the end of days at Gisleham and she found some perspex relief images of plugs that I made with year eight at Kirkley Middle School many years ago. These things were ground out with a computer controlled milling machine in Great Yarmouth when sending some control files through the email was an innovative activity. I had been the only art teacher on a DT project and had made a ‘stained glass’ window about plugs as part of a Pop Art project.

I tried to get an impression off these perspex plates and ended up using vegetable oil as a release agent to get the clay off. This worked quite well. Then I started on the flexible rubber prints from some long lost science lab that I sometimes print from. These are left over from the days before photocopies and are a rubber relief print on a flexible metal base. Presumably these fitted into some printing machine for duplication back in the Fifties. I got a couple of good impressions off of a heart diagram and a fly, again using the veg oil as a release.

So the circumstances and the finding of things had distracted me from my initial aim and had led me astray. The plate was going to be called A History of Art and it still is that, only in a different way to the original idea i sketched. It has an archaeological feel to it and it still is a history of art. The original intention has not been abandoned and it is still buried in the plate. It is less obvious though. Interesting effect. The central tile is based on a recently rediscovered woodcut from the Artpost years of mail and postal art.

Biting the clay custard cream was a mistake though.