Learning Agreement 3



Name David Finnegan
MA Course Title MA Ceramics
Status (F/T or P/T) P/T
Date 23/02/2015
Version No.: 3
Brief explanation/ outline of project
I am attracted by the ethereal beauty of translucent porcelain. I intend to explore what is known about the aesthetic aspects of the material, how to maximise this property, how to use it to enhance the appearance of made objects and how to understand responses to it. I am curious about the combination of translucent porcelain with other materials such as oxides and glazes, glass and metals and also in developing printing on the clay sheets, which are so thin that they can almost be considered as paper. I want to develop an area of practice related to and learning from that of others, taking inspiration from natural processes and resulting in a variety of different sorts of objects. These may be vessels, structures, sculptures, lighting, ornaments or personal decoration. I want to explore how to maintain the structural integrity of extremely thin objects when fired to high temperatures. I recognise the need to develop my own individual style of formation and decoration.
Context / Rationale
The translucency of porcelain has been well explored in the studio pottery tradition. Less well explored have been the reasons why potters choose to use translucency as an aesthetic expression and what it means to them personally. I would like to survey as many as possible of those who use translucency to explore this aspect of their work. Whilst doing so it would be useful and interesting to gather their practical knowledge of controlling thin structures. I would like to carry out such a survey and to synthesize its outcomes with my own experiments in the development of my work.
Key areas of Research / Key Activities
a)   Review of the literature, both material science and artistic

b)   Create database of main ceramic artists working with translucent porcelain.

c)   Contact with them, through interview, discussion +/- survey. Statistical discussion suggests the outcomes will be best reviewed impressionistically rather than mathematically, in view of the relatively small numbers involved.

d)   Exploration of aesthetic and practical commonalities and differences and summary of findings.

e)   This will take more than a semester and will be in 2 stages – the first for the second assignment and the second for curiosity and possible publication.

f)   Develop the techniques I use in my own work with rolled porcelain paper clay (ppc) and the combination of ppc slip and fibreglass. Consider use of pure porcelain, parian or bone china slips. Explore circumstances in which particular slips might be chosen.

g)   Explore printing techniques and combinations with oxides, glazes, metal and glass.

h)   Explore methods of display and illumination.


Intended outcomes of project tended outcomes of project
1.     Synthesis of research information from published work2.     Synthesis of information collected directly from ceramic artists3.     Development of my knowledge base and skills in relation to the production of translucent porcelain work4.     Work will include ceramics alone, plain and decorated, and in combination with other materials in relation to colour, shape, display and illumination. 



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