One of the themes of the work seems to be destruction and damage. It is bound to be. Seeing as this is be conducted in a closing school. Ceramics has an interesting connection with breakage. Shards exist as things and the British Museum is full of shards. Quite a lot of the ‘complete’ things in the BM are made of shards found. I have had some success with a couple of plates that burst in the biscuit stage and I have been able to get them to stay together with glaze which looks fantastic. But the kiln isn’t behaving itself so well this week and I have had a few plates crack in awkward ways that I haven’t been able to live with. I think the kiln is getting too hot at the top and some of the plates are bursting. I have been trying slightly higher temperatures to try to get the glazes to melt thoroughly and this hasn’t helped. I used to think that if I could get the things out of a biscuit fire then the glaze fire was pretty much a formality but recently I have been getting them to crack in the glaze fire too.

This week I put in a fantastic plate with a self portrait in the manner of Guston incised into a layer of purple haze glaze. I don’t think it was thoroughly dry as I was firing it from green. The result was a completely dissolved plate with just a few purple shards in the middle. I’ll have to reconstruct it as it was a cracker. Most of the other plates survived apart from the two very plain terracotta plates I was planning to gold leaf. They both cracked badly. The ‘experimental outcome’ plate with a very fragile edge hanging on in another clay came out fine. I just fired once this week as Shirley hasn’t been in and I haven’t been able to do as much without her help. I made up four plates with bag ends of clay. I drew on gas masks and military hats from the Norfolk military museum with oxide in linseed oil as a sort of ceramic ink. They worked well. So far.

I was using the red sketchbook and using some of the drawings and ideas from that to recycle old ideas as a form of reflection in the work. A reprocessing. I also had some fun with monoprinting using some of the plastic sheets we have found in cupboards in the art and DT room. I riffed on the military hats idea and they came out well. It was nice to work at a different scale and when they are done they are done. I didn’t have to wait to see if I had blown them up with clumsy kiln firing.

Thursday I did a bit of gilding and went round the degree shows at NUCA. It’s a good show, better than last year and some interesting stuff. Huge amounts of effort and work by all involved. The commitment and creativity is incredible really. The illustration was interesting and the visual studies were good. The edges of things were more interesting. And painting looks like a very difficult thing to do. The least interesting things were paintings.