Friday 25 January 2013

WESCA "Encounters" at Dorset County Museum

I am busy putting the finishing touches to my entry in the WESCA exhibition "Encounters" at the Dorset County Museum in Dorchester.
I have having some wierd flashbacks to "Artyfacts", an exhibition I helped the RAFT Dorset group curate at the Museum on 2004, which explored similar themes of artists responding to objects found in the Museum.
Encounters runs from mid February until mid June 2013 and features work from a group of contemporary artists called the WESCA group
I am very excited about mingling with "proper artists" (rather than mere craftworking potters!).

Replica neolithic axe
I hope my entry "The Rough with the Smooth" will be well received. It is based on the Neolithic Jadeite Axes and Grooved Ware pottery, which the museum has some splendid examples of. I gaze admiringly at them through the glass and wish I could touch them, so for my piece I am putting one of my replica axes and shard of grooved pottery into a hidden space, where they can be felt, but not seen.
This is an image of the clay axe in the making, it was carved from a block of clay, then smoothed and polished while damp, with several layers of very fine ball clay slip applied between burnishings. After firing in an electric kiln, it was smoked in burning sawdust to give it some interesting cloudy colour (not actually needed in this display, but nice all the same!). After a thin coat of beeswax polish it is ready to face the world - but a clay axe is in the same league as a chocolate knife!
The other item I am using is a broken shard of a pot that was hand-made and fired in a bonfire, it has a lovely gritty feel with added texture from the grooves made on the surface.
All I've got to do now is finish off the display plinth, which will have a cloth bag "nailed" to it in which the objects are placed, so that hands can reach in, but the items cannot be extracted into the light.
The Preview is on Friday 15th February - contact me if you want an official invitation!

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