Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Ceramic Journal pages (Year 12 Coursework & Exam - Year 13 Coursework)


For my Year 12 Coursework Unit, I decided to investigate movement.  Cats have always been my favourite creature and I have always marveled at their flexibility and agility.  I therefore focused on this aspect for my project.

Here is one of the pages of my coursework journal.  It shows observational drawings of two photos of my cats and three cats I found on the internet.  I have used charcoal, HB pencils, colour pencils and fineliner pen.  The observational drawings were useful in that they helped me better understand structure and movement of the animal. 

This is a continuation of my observational drawings.  I used watercolour pencils, acrylic paint and fineliner pens.  The grey cat is watercolour pencils.  I attempted not to use the colour black when drawing and instead replaced the black with chocolate brown, so the black did not dominant the page.  The acrylic painting of the cat below the grey cat shows that acrylic is one of the strongest medias that I work well with.  The four cats on the next page, I have combined acrylic and fineliner pen. 

These two pages show inspirations from other ceramicists which I have used to adapt into my designs for my final project.  I was particularly interested in Edweard Muybridge, and heavily influenced by his stop motion photography.

This is one of my favourite and best pages of my coursework journal.  The anatomical sketches are all done in HB pencil.  Drawing these skeletal parts of the cat has developed my understanding of the cat's flexibility and structure, and it's similarities and differences from a human's skeleton.

These two pages show the first clay work and it's process during Ceramics class.  I originally intended to do a cat huddled up, but it was hard to see the limbs.  I decided to sculpt my own cat, "Doufu" instead, in the position where he is rolling over.  The clay material I used was Y Material.  Y Material is a good clay for sculpting as it contains molochite which helps prevent the clay from exploding in the kiln when being fired by reducing thermal shock.  A wide range of colours can be applied when it comes to glazing. 

This is another sculpture I did using a clay called Craft Crank.  Craft Crank is similar to Y Material, except that the colour scheme is extremely limited due to a higher iron content in the clay.  Again, this page shows my process of sculpting this cat.

During the school term, I went on a school trip to the V&A Museum to gain inspiration from other ceramicists.  This is one of my favourite pages of the museum trip.  I was able to incorporate the works of the ceramicists and sculptors to come up with ideas related to my theme of cats for my final coursework piece. 

This was one of the best ceramic pieces I have done during my coursework.  Having had been inspired by the V&A ceramic ware, I decided to respond to a several vessels that I saw and liked at the V&A museum.  I slip casted a milk jug out of Porcelain slip.  I was really intrigued by the idea of protruding objects from vessels and the idea of cats scrambling into a milk pitcher came up in my mind while I was making this piece.  I used Porcelain clay to sculpt the miniature cats.  Porcelain is a delicate and fragile material which can distort easily in the kiln due to plastic memory.

This is the milk jug which I cast out of porcelain slip.  I sculpted two porcelain cats playfully scrambling into the pitch of the jug, then glazed it using celadon blue.  I was inspired by vases with protruding objects from the V&A Museum I visited for a Ceramics trip.  I have playfully imagined vivacious and adorable cats trying to scramble into the pitcher to get at whatever liquid that is stored in the jug.

This is another one of my favourite pieces in Ceramics.  In response to my little jug, I made a teapot, also slip cast using Porcelain slip and sculpted cats scrambling all over the surface.  Making this was pretty challenging as I placed some of my cats directly on the vertical sides of the teapot.  There was great potential that they would break off when being fired in the kiln.

This is my final piece for my coursework, the Falling Cats.  I was inspired by cinematic photographer, Edweard Muybridge who captured moving objects at different stages.  I used Y Material as it is durable when being fired in the kiln, it has molochite to prevent it from cracking and breaking.  This was one of the most challenging pieces I have ever done as I managed to sculpt five cats towards the end of the first term.  Each cat had to be the exact same size and the hole drilled in each cat had to correspond with it's appropriate rolling position to generate the illusion of falling cat righting itself in midair.


For the Year 12 exam unit, we were given various themes to choose from, one of the themes was Nursery Rhymes, which I chose.

Here is one of the first pages of my ceramic journal.  The tiger drawings at the top of the first page were inspired by the Chinese version of Frère Jacques, but the story is about two tigers who are running away and each are missing a limb or facial features.  The second on the bottom of the first page is a sculpture depicting the Cat with the Fiddle, one of my childhood favourite rhymes.  The second page shows a vessel depicting the rhyme of Jack and Jill, and below, The Five Little Pigs.  I decided to solidify my final piece based on Cat with the Fiddle.

After deciding to focus on Cat with the Fiddle, I did observational drawings of dogs and cats.  I practiced drawing a standing cat as the cat is standing while playing the fiddle.  I also drew a laughing dog, which is rolling over and this helped me decide how to position it when making the final piece.

This is my favourite page of my exam journal.  I was inspired by the portrayal of animals in my childhood favourite author and watercolour artist, Beatrix Potter, who is well known for her children's books, The Tale of Peter Rabbit.  I was thinking of portraying my cat using her depiction of one of my favourite characters, Tom Kitten.  On the next page of Beatrix Potter, I have done watercolour responses to her characters, Tom Kitten and his sister, Moppet.  Watercolour has always been my strongest media.

Here is a page of ideas of how I want to display my final piece.  I chose the ring design where I would sculpt miniature figures of the characters in the rhyme in each ring.

This the final product of my exam unit.  I managed to finish all my figures within the five hours of the exam.  During the limited exam period of five hours, it was necessary to work quickly and I would have liked to refine the piece to a greater degree, although I feel the final piece fulfilled my project's conclusion.


For my Year 13 Coursework Unit, I decided to investigate movement within change in shape and form.  This is in response to my Year 12 Coursework Unit, which was movement involving Cats, based on their agility and flexibility.  I solidified my decision in challenging myself to use the aspect of Metamorphosis within my Ceramic coursework.

Here is one of the pages of my coursework journal.  It shows observational drawings of mammals and amphibians which involves Metamorphosis.  The most common ones are frogs and butterflies.  I have drawn the images from photos from the internet.  The media that I have used are graphite pencils, watercolour pencils, fineliner pen and colour pastel pencils.  I have improved on my fineliner drawings and I am more confident now with colour combination.

These are further studies into the theme of Metamorphosis.  I decided to investigate fantasy stories involving characters changing shape and form.  I found the Ugly Duckling, who starts off as  a cygnet who grows into a beautiful swan, The Wild Swans, where twelve princes are cursed to turn into swans by day, and humans by night, The Hungry Caterpillar, where the caterpillar changes into a butterfly after eating so many food, and Disney's Fantasia 2000, a spring sprite who is like a blanket of water creating spring.

 I also studied Greek myths involving Metamorphosis, mainly the stories from Ovid's Metamorphoses.  The stories I looked into were Daphne & Apollo, where a forest nymph named Daphne is transformed into a laurel tree to escape from Apollo, Echo & Narcissus, a forest nymph who was cursed to repeat the last words and became the air due to an unrequited love from a vain shepherd named Narcissus, and Arachne, a boastful weaver who was turned into a spider by the goddess Athena.  I also took an interest in a figure sculptor named Claire Curneen for the way she elongates and distorts her figures.  I also used the Ovid's Metamorphoses stories to create designs in respondent to Curneen.

Here is another sculptor which I also investigated called Simon Griffiths, who is well known for his bird sculptures.  His work reminded me of The Wild Swans story, and also made me think of another Greek myth, Icarus & Dadelus, where an inventor named Dadelus crafted wings constructed of birds feathers stuck together with wax for himself and his son, Icarus to escape an evil King.  Icarus flew too close to the sun causing his wings to deteriorate and plummets to his death into the sea.  The inserted page contains ideas inspired by the story of Icarus & Dadelus, symbolizing 'death'.

I decided to work on human figures for my Metamorphosis theme.  The first page shows sketches of a huddled bronze figure I sketched using graphite pencils and the idea of having wings sprouting from the back.  The next page shows skeletal sketches of the human body, and my idea of replacing the arms with wings.  In the inserted pages, is about another human sculptor named Rodin.  I have studied Rodin in History of Art and used that knowledge to influence elements of my sculpture, especially when sculpting the torsos.  The crouching figure gave me the idea of humans with wings hatching out of eggs symbolizing 'birth'.

These pages show the process of a swan vessel I made within this coursework assignment.  I used a type of clay called White Stoneware.  White stoneware is stronger than earthenware, when fired to high temperatures and has wide range of firing and glaze colours.  I was inspired by The Ugly Duckling story, as I was focused on how a cygnet changes in colour, shape and form as it grows into a swan.

This is my completed swan vessel, in response to a Japanese ceramicist named Keiko Masumoto, who was a Ceramic Resident at the V&A Museum.  The vessel has not been glazed yet as I am still debating on how to colour the swan.  I am pleased with the outcome so far as the wings and the neck did not break when it was fired in the kiln. 

This year, I went on a Ceramics Trip to the Horniman Museum to gain inspiration for our coursework.  The Horniman Museum displayed stuffed animals, their skeletons and some that were dissected.  I was particularly fascinated by the stuffed birds on display and their skeletal structure.  This is one of my favourite pages from the trip.  I really enjoyed painting the wings of the stuffed pigeons.  I combined watercolour and acrylic to create the patterns on the wings.

This is my planning for the final outcome of this coursework unit.  I have decided to create winged figures, having had been inspired by The Wild Swans story and the Greek mythology of Icarus & Dadelus.  I wanted to work with the aspects of the life cycle from birth to death.  I find it dramatic and expressive thinking of winged human figures hatching, rising and falling.  My sculpture represents this swift transition through life, the wings emphasizing this quick and rapid passage.

These pages show the process of my final outcome.  I made three winged figures with Y Material as the clay is durable when being fired in the kiln.  I combined the techniques of the human sculptors, Rodin and Curneen when making the human figures.  The structure of the body is proportioned based on Rodin's techniques, while the legs, head and facial features are modeled after Curneen's.  The wings are sculpted in the style of Simon Griffith's birds.  I originally intended to place my figures in eggs made of Porcelain slip, but changed my mind when I decided to represent the life cycle with my figures.  I have finished my figures and am in the process of creating an agateware base to display them on.

This is the first figure of my final coursework.  He is in a huddled position with his back about to curl up.  This is 'birth'.  I originally intended to display him in a cracked egg to emphasize the idea of 'birth', but decided to scatter the bits of egg shell around him instead, as the egg broke easily.

This is the third figure of my final coursework.  He is sprawled on his back with his wings levitating slightly off the ground.  This is 'death'.  This is in response to Icarus, who ruined his wings by flying too close to the sun, thus causing him to plummet to his death in the sea.  The ends of the wings have been slightly separated to emphasize the fact that he has fallen and died.  Before having them fired, I placed the figure on a kiln shelf to prevent it from moving or breaking when being lifted into the kiln.

This is the second figure of my final coursework.  He rising with his wings spread out.  This is 'life'.  I also wanted to display him rising out of an egg to emphasize the beginning of life, but changed my mind.  The figure was particularly challenging as the wings were quite fragile, despite being a strong material.  The ends of the wings are also separated to give movement when being suspended.  Before adding the wings, I had to place my figure on two kiln boards, in a cross shape, so the wings could be supported and to prevent it from breaking when being placed in the kiln.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

A-Level Art & Design (Yr 12-13)

This is my first response I did during my first week at St. Leonards-Mayfield in Art.  The picture above is a mixed media response using watercolour, HB pencils and fineliner pen.  These are the types of media which I work very well with.  The two photos of bunches of garlic below are manipulated using photoshop.  I adjusted the brightness and contrast, played with the filters and colour tonality.  The photo on the right I enhanced the colours to a warm filter so that the garlics would stand out against the steel scratched table.  The photo on the left is total opposite from the right.  I made the colours to a cool filter, used the pencil sketch filter to play with detail and adjusted the shadow.

This is a photography response to whom I refer as the Fleur photographer.  I took a photo of a flesh coloured rose against a black backdrop.  I then photoshop manipulated the photo by adjusting the hue and saturation, brightness and contrast, and the colour tonality.  I also darkened the backdrop so that the rose would stand out more.  I liked the tint of blue at the bottom of the rose and how it blends with its flesh colour.

These are more photoshop manipulated photos of the same flesh coloured roses, but some are in different shapes and sizes.

This is a response to flower and landscape artist, Georgia O'Keefe.  The media I used was coloured powder which I mixed with water to get a watery paint.  This didn't really turn out well as I didn't get the colours I wanted and it was hard to paint with this type of media.

This is the same painting by Georgia O'Keefe that I responded to with the powder paint (right).  I tried again this time using watercolour.  I found it so much easier as I was able to mix and produce the colours that I wanted according to the original.  The painting on the left is a zoom in of a section of O'Keefe's work.  I was interested in the contours and flow within the photo and the contrast between the dark and light colours.

This is another Georgia O'Keefe painting which I responded to using acrylic paint.  Acrylic paint is another media which I work well with.  I like the way how she uses bright and vibrant colours to create such curves and misty swirls.  My response on the right is a zoom in section of the branches and parts of the misty background.  There is a contrast between the warm and cool colours creating balance within the piece.

This is a coloured pencil response to another photograph from the Fleur photographer.  This is one of my best responses as I was able to use a variety of different shades of purple, pink and red to create the colour of the petals.  The drawing is on the top with the original photo on the bottom.  The original has a lot of shadows casted on the stems of the flowers and the green stem with a tint of red.

This is another response to the Fleur photographer.  This time, I combined the coloured pencils with fineliner pen.  The fineliner pen outlines the dark and vast shadows which the flower itself casts.  The bright vibrant colours also stand out along with the fineliner pens.  I used the cross-hatching technique to give the flower more curved shapes and to make it more 3-Dimensional.

This is a plan for manipulating layers from scraps of newspaper clippings, bits of old map, and two of my earlier works.  I chose to use the Fleur photographer's orchid drawing as my base.

Here is the finished piece of the layer manipulation of my orchid.  I sent the picture four times through the printer and printed the four photos one on top of the other.  I drew a template of the orchid study on tracing paper, placed it over the layer manipulation and used a sewing machine to cut out the shape.  I stuck the orchids on a plain white piece of paper and added strips of the remaining layer manipulation as the borders.

These are my developement of my final coursework piece.  I have used a background which I have worked on in my earlier coursework and layered it with some of my roses which I have manipulated using photoshop earlier.  The background and the roses have been photoshop manipulated.  I adjusted the opacity of the roses so that the background can also share the spotlight of the picture.

This is my further planning of my final coursework piece.  The top photo shows my photoshop manipulation of my earlier and recent drawings.  The photos below show my selected images, the watercolour response to Georgia O'Keefe, a charcoal thistle drawing, a photoshop manipulated rose and a colour pencil drawing using warm colours of a rose head.


This is an acrylic paint response to one of my photoshop manipulated photos.  I selected an area and zoomed into the photo and painted it from that section.  I have balanced out the warm and cool colours within the painting.

I made a series of photoshop manipulated photos and arranged them into a grid format.  I have repeated some of the photos to create a sequence.

 More photoshop manipulated images of roses.

More photoshop manipulated images of roses

The three photos above are my final coursework outcome.  They were my top three favourite out of all the photo manipulations that I have done.  I was able to control the balance between the brightness and contrast, and the warm and cool colours.


For my Year 12 Exam Unit, the titular theme was Covert & Obscure.  This was a theme which I particularly liked as mystery and secrecy is what I enjoy most.  I chose to focus on graveyards for my exam project as I was intrigued by the fact that the dead are left forgotten and the gravestones to mark where the person is buried erodes away as though it it turning into ruins.

I started off by going to Highgate Cemetery where I took photos of various gravestones and dead plants surrounding it.  The weathering, eroding and aging of the gravestones were great inspiration for surface and texture.  Thick vines, roots and dead organisms cluttering up obscures the mark of the dead person as they are left unattended.

This is a primary drawing in fineliner pen of a rotting branch.  I liked the way how the branch entwines itself around each other and the frightening impact as they look like claws reaching out to grab you.  I used the cross-hatching method to make the branches more three dimensional and bold.

This is a secondary drawing also in fineliner pen of a study of a bunch of seeds or fruits.  I photocopied the drawing and coloured the copy in colours using watercolour.  The coloured drawing is more sharp and noticeable than the plain black and white drawing.

This is a planning to my final exam piece.  I divided an A4 size paper into fours and used cool colours such as purple, pink, blue and grey.  I was responding to a background on a mixed media artist, Ann Baldwin who likes to distress her surfaces when painting.  For some of the rectangles, I used acetate, fineliner pen drawing and colour pencil drawing to see what media works best on distressed surfaces.

This is a direct response to one of Ann Baldwin's works.  I used mainly cool colours with tints of warm colours.  I added acetate text to see what effect it would have on the piece itself.  I also did two fineliner pen drawings of two rotting leaves.  The leaf above the leaf at the bottom is incomplete as if I were to finish it, there would be too much commotion going on within the piece.  I left a large section of the painting black so I would have balance between light and dark colours.

These are calligraphy secondary drawings of a wilting rose, one in black and white and the other in colour.  I enjoy showing off my draftsmanship with such intricate and fine details.  These are also one of the best drawings I that I have done within this exam unit.  

This is my final piece for my exam unit.  The background is distressed and collaged just like Ann Baldwin with eroding lettering from a gravestone, an angel, a gothic archway, and a group of gravestones from Highgate cemetery and a wilted rose drooping it's head with grief and sorrow.  I also added several lines from a ballad by Emily Dickinson, Because I Could Not Stop for Death, which I wrote in calligraphy in gothic lettering.  This is one of the best pieces I have ever done in Art and was happy and content when it was completed.


For this year, I have decided to do something rather dark, frightening and gothic.  I chose to do broken dolls and antiquity as I like the idea of expressing abandonment, aging, horror, disfiguring, discomfort and fear.

This is a charcoal secondary drawing of a broken doll I found on a site called Pinterest.  Charcoal is also one of the medias that I work well with and I think that I have improved a bit while drawing this doll.  I enjoy playing with contrast as the blackness engulfs most of the doll's face.

This is another secondary drawing of a doll, also from Pinterest.  I collaged a background and painted it with acrylic, distressing it's surface.  That time, I had realized that I was very good at collaging.  I painted the doll's face using acrylic.  The text emerging from the collage creates an obscure feeling within the painting.

This is a photographic response to a photographer, Isadore Seltzer.  He took several pictures of dolls against black backdrops and manipulated the photos using a dark room.  I have responded to this by taking photos of dolls against a black backdrop in a dark room with a lamp shining on their faces, then photoshop manipulated them to create a spooky atmosphere.

These four photos are my top favourite out of my Isadore Seltzer response.  I really like the way I have accomplished the contrast of the doll's face being engulfed by the shadows.

This is a photographic response to another photographer, Christian Boltanski.  Using the photos I have manipulated for Isadore Seltzer, I selected sixteen photos and changed their filter to a dark sepia and deducted 10% off each photo I manipulated.

This is a direct response to a collage and mixed media artist, Sabrina Ward Harrison.  I incorporated one of my dolls into the collage, in place of the child in Sabrina Ward Harrison's original painting.  I liked the sense of abandonment and distress within the painting.

These are collages which I have done earlier within my coursework and distressed them using acrylic paint.  I made several collages in response of an Unknown artist and later added acrylic paint to make it more atmospheric and emotional.

This is one of my original drawings of a doll I selected from my Isadore Seltzer responses.  I created a collaged background and distressed it with extremely dark and gothic colours such as black, red, pink, purple and blue.  I then painted the doll's face straight on top of the collage.  This was one of the most dramatic and achieving pieces I have done within this coursework.

I decided to add skulls into my doll theme as if I were to continue doing dolls within this progressing coursework, it would eventually get boring.  I did primary drawings of a bird's skull using coloured pencils for the first one and fineliner pen for the second.  I like showing off my draftsmanship skills with these kinds of medias as they are my strongest.

I did more distressing with surfaces.  I created a coffee and white emulsion background which created a mysterious atmospheric mood.  I used HB pencils and did direct secondary drawings of skulls from photos I took, one facing sideways and the other propped up against a white backdrop.

I got interested in the idea of dollhouses on a hill, having been inspired by some of Tim Burton's gothic films such as Coraline and The Corpse Bride.  I placed a minature dollhouse on a plinth and projected dolls using a projector on screen and zooming into their faces.  This gave it a more frightening and disturbing feeling, for as you zoom in, their faces get distorted as it moves upwards and downwards like a jigsaw puzzle. 

I photoshop manipulated the photos in the style of old gothic films such as Frankenstein.  I filtered the photo to black and white and added brown tint to change the atmosphere and mood of the photo.  I then filtered the photo more by using film grain effect to make it look like an old movie.  I also made a copy and cropped out the dollhouse and the plinth, making the photo even creepier.

This is an idea to which I am starting to develop into my final piece.  I was recently intrigued by the dollhouse and how I could leave it in an abandoned or scary state.  I scanned a frame from a canvas, blanked out some squares and painted over them, distressing several with my collages and doing some writing using gothic calligraphy.  The words are quotes from Frankenstein by Mary Shelley describing the horror and disturbing image of the monster Frankenstein.  The other boxes include doll's eyes, a mysterious box and a skull.

What I plan to do for my final coursework...

I am in the process of planning how to represent the theme of broken dolls, antiquity gothic.  So far, I am thinking of creating a plinth with collages and drawings of dolls from my coursework unit and frames filled with dollhouse and doll related items, and at the very top of the plinth, is a cut out of a dollhouse to project a silhouette...