As I may have mentioned, we hosted a little pop-up show in the vast china hall of the old Spode Factory last Thursday. We crossed our fingers and stacked everything we held dear into the kiln, which dutifully went haywire, set off an alarm and over-fired our pieces. I have a way with technology.
But by Thursday, we had convinced the kiln into a first firing of re-worked Spode press-moulded plates, a full dinner service of hand-inked transfer firings, my two pots of poetry decals and one perfect plate by Sun Ae Kim.
To the left here is our transfer firing, with my poems starting to sweat a little on the top shelf.
An adventurous excursion to the top of the mountain resulted in the discovery of some discarded kiln shelf dividers, enormous glass plates, hundreds of Spode plate moulds and the near-mythologised hoard of handmade bone china flowers. We are aware that the BCB has great plans for this ghostly garden but they were kind enough to let Dave integrate a huge handful into his test for concrete canvas sculptures.
Sun Ae, Dave and I set about press-moulding Spode plates, using a liberal mixture of bone china and poetic narrative. What grew from this was Dave’s series of disintegrating plates, Sun Ae’s delicate chrysanthemum bowls and my own rerouting/rerooting of a leaf-pattern.
To accompany our strange service, I wrote a tiny triptych of poems. When it came to arranging the show, my texts unavoidably sat amongst the ceramic pieces as both gallery label and work. I had to find objects to ‘hold’ the text – both as place holders and frames.
I hurried back to the store room where we had found the shelf dividers and glass plates. Transferring the text onto clear plastic, I arranged the poems under these glass portholes. When the show opened, I enjoyed watching people lean in to read them under glass.
Here they are, side dishes to their their ceramic plates.
Poem for Sun Ae Kim’s bowls