Right about now I should be showing you the results of an exciting period of research and development that I undertook using VACMA funding from Creative Scotland in partnership with Falkirk Community Trust awarded at the beginning of the year. They gave me a bursary to invest in materials and equipment to explore the technique of plaster turning to create models for casting, allowing me to expand on the shapes I use on my work, and up the scale a bit. My work takes inspiration from the all aspects of the confectionary industry, not just the tantalisingly tasty end results, but also the industrial processes behind the production. I have a life-long fascination with process videos and factory production lines, and in the studio I like to play with the miniaturisation of these processes for the production of repeatable but still individually handmade treasures. The plan was to take inspiration from my favourite retro sweeties (obvs!) and recreate their forms on a larger scale (think GIANT swizzel lollies and over sized refreshers). I have a visions ranging from totally over the top colourful necklaces and fun little tablewares, to pointless but pleasing objects. I did some research, bought myself a mini wheel to convert into a plaster turner, and then …. well, you know….the curse of 2020! So I didn’t get much further.
The purpose of this project though was to get me inspired to get the new studio into shape and get back in there after December’s traumatic house/studio/life move (read about that HERE). And what with this, that and the other, I don’t think there’s ever been a better time than now to kickstart the creative process. So I’ve set myself a mini challenge to section off a bit of time in the studio whenever I can, and to make a start on the exploration of shapes using my new toy. I will pick a different confectionary to focus on for each micro-project, and make a mini-collection inspired by it’s shape and colour.
First up is Parma Violets, because they are my all time favourite! I’ve begun this week by casting tiny purple ceramic rounds and turning them on my potters-wheel-cum-plaster-whirler to achieve the iconic concave parma violet form. I’ve made a few in different sizes and am playing with incorporating them into fun functional pieces, the first one became a handle for the little espresso mug below. I’m going to keep playing with the rest, and the result, I hope, will be a very special collection of one-off parma violet treats. Rather than let them languish in the box of experimental samples, when they’re done I’ll list them as exclusive treats in the VIP section of my web shop (sign up to the mailing list to receive updated passwords for access to one offs and special offers). I’m looking forwards to beginning experiments in plaster, and playing with more of your pick ‘n’ mix favourites so that I can make repeatable forms that will make their way into the permanent collections. Watch this space!