Reflecting upon my dissertation

By looking back at previous blog entries where I reflected upon my progress, it’s interesting to look at how my dissertation has evolved… At this point last year my working title was The Importance of the Physical Touch in Installation Art. I have really enjoyed writing it actually, as the topic is something I find particularly interesting. From our meetings, I realised I have an interest in the psychological connection with art rather than philosophy. Psychological research produces statistics, which can be measured and analysed empirically. I wanted to see hard evidence for why something is the way it is, instead of just a theory. People had suggested for me to look at Merleau Ponty’s work and his theories on phenomenology, but I wasn’t keen to go down the philosophy route. Instead, I opted to analyse research such as Chatterjee et al’s paper Museopathy: Exploring the Healing Potential of Handling Museum Objects. They went into hospitals and actually let patients handle museum objects. This touch led to patients (with memory problems) reminiscing and accessing memories which probably would’ve still been forgotten if it wasn’t for engaging with these objects.

I think there is a huge scope for research into touch in galleries and it is something I wish to research further in the future, by making artwork and using it in studies and seeing how people tactilely respond to ceramic art.
One thing Dr Shah said was that I needed to be more brave with my writing! So instead of saying, this person said this about that, I needed to challenge what that person said with my own views and evidence. And since my dissertation does link to my subject work, I included what I was currently making for my 2nd year degree show in my thesis. Talking about my own work and linking it to other people’s research actually made writing my dissertation far more enjoyable and it has strengthened my own understanding of where I wish to sit in my profession. I want to make artwork for gallery spaces which is interactive and can involve everyone.


Thoughts about space for the degree show

I was reading Vogue the other day and in it was an article about the furniture designer Nika Zupanc and she said the most poignant thing about interior design

“Interiors are a stage for our lives. It’s not just about function; it’s more like scenography”

I am creating a space, a zone, for the degree show… it isn’t simply art on a plinth for me. I want people to be taken away to into a dreamland with my optical illusion tiles. The tiles will submerse the space they occupy with colour and envelope people into the rainbow of delight.

These are not just simply tiles placed on a wall, they are an installation capturing the wandering eyes of the gallery, inviting them into the depths of colour and to stop and dream, maybe even touch them. Yes they serve a function, to decorate a space…when one creates a space which could occupy one’s dreams, you are engaging the audience to imagine…


G39 Bob Gelsthorpe Thursday 2nd February 2017

It was very interesting hearing Bob, from the Cardiff gallery G39, talk about his creative practice; amongst other things, it was relieving to know that from his experience you don’t need much money to set up a studio. . He provided a wealth of knowledge, including organisations artists can apply to to get funding, and unusual ways you can set up exhibitions etc without it costing you a fortune.

Bob Gelsthorpe

Fine Art graduate originally a painter

Work is not commercial, he has accepted he wont make any money from selling the work but he has found a way to make it sustainable… go self employed “last week I was laying laminate flooring for a friend, now im with you”

Performing art and video pieces- work is about advocacy 2014- devotion- what it means to have faith in someone or something and to have that reciprocated- related to kim fielding passing- giving back to him via hi practice

Solowit letter eva hess- letter comradery, having that friendship whilst making work

Stay in touch with absolutely everyone you’ve studied with!

Network and community of support

Bulidng up that tool box to be as articulate as you can with what you’re doing

Exhibition reviews are good at enabling you to articulate your artwork

Milkwood Gallery- applied to a marketing job but was told he was more of a curator

Guest curatorship- Made in Roath, painting show, solo show for an artist- all voluntary

Tactile Bosch- gallery studios performance art space- encompasses all arts

Fashion shows, raise the roof parties,

Kim Fielding- proactive approach of just having conversations with people and what theyre doing big influence on James Richards

Fringe Arts Bath- exporting Wales artists and tapping into a different audience

Started up own studio! Not difficult, incredibly easy.

Coach house in splott, opening party to help pay for it

 Arts ecology is always changing… G39 has been running since 1998, it is an organic space ran by artists. It strictly supports the artists

WARP- wales artists resource programme, sister to g39

Start up grant- government scheme

X marks the bokship x-op

Palaces and cabins- sal

Vulpiz vulpiz- itinerants 6 people have made art their life

Sluice- commercial artist led art fair


Archives of the artist led

Contributing to a wider aim. Cardiff has a young contemporary visual arts sector… open and friendly

Arcade Cardiff Rob Kennedy and board of trustees Rhiannon Lowe-editor for CCQ

Kim Fielding award 5000 pounds, John Lawrence- solar pessimist, spit and sawdust skatepark

Working with artists who have very conceptual or abstract work- demonstrate that level of ambition and supporting the work first and foremost


Trustee-Paul Herley- performance artisit based in Bristol, southhampton microbial resitance

Bob is also a trustee

Spit and sawdust art programme, café exhibition, pizza oven and burgers are incredible

Hangover club

Critical of organistations- artes mundi, how does it have correlation with other projects in Cardiff

Organisations are willing to be more transparent, this it what were doing please come and talk to us about it.

Artist led sector is becoming a better way of working

Anti establishment Art schools- Broadway drawing school, school of the damned(4th Sunday of every month), metal southend (support from the whitechapel, democratic), the alternative ma, clay school in stoke (bcb part of it)


Arts council funding: getting tighter and tighter every year

Nester- really good for digital work, artists who have a commercial ability

Elephant trust- London- give money exclusively for new presentations of work- apply for grants year round

Oakdale trust- more in tune with community tinged projects, or which have a tangible public benefit

Laura Ashley similar

Wales Arts International- research trip, advice- ring them up! Large scale stuff

National Probation Service- 200 hours com service- borrow the boys for a few days etc

Artists Information Company A-N 36 pounds a year, offset it against your income

Start a blog on there, series of bursaries- released grants for people to see the Venice biennale etc

Access Web- membership scheme, insurance, opportunities, artist of the month

Waterloo foundation use it for education purposes, use funding to bring out fave artist to do a talk at a workshop you’re running

Henry Moore foundation- big ambitious projects

How important is virtual presence

Really good, helps you articulate your practice publicly, gets you used to keeping in touch with what you’re doing- which gets difficult when you graduate

Stream of thoughts- do it on AL

Helps you with writing proposals etc

Blogging is a slow burner and helps you

 BE Open to having a number of things going on at the same time

Dan Rees

Helen sear

Tactile bosch show in berlin

Bedwyr Williams

Angharad pearce jones

Turner house Ragnar- poem his ex wife wrote, his ex is in the film

Louisa faircliff- Bristol, works with 16mm films

Making sense of yourself in whatever climate we’re inat the moment

Preparations for displaying my work

With 3rd year comes the task of organising a degree show… not only is there plenty of event planning and fundraising to do, there is actually the arranging the artwork to be done, the curation… I believe that curating is as important as the artwork itself, presentation is key in attracting the audience, and you want them to look at your work for all the right reasons, not because you missed a patch of white paint on your plinth.

Our degree show is approximately 14 weeks away, which sounds like ages but given the nature of ceramics its not that long really! There is plenty of work to be done! Preparation is key.
Our show takes place in the foyer, also called the heart space, here is where the cafe is and where everyone goes to congregate, so I think we will get a large footfall of people in our section. The name of the show is Ba(Hons) Ceramics 2017, we’re keeping it simple, and we are also hash tagging any work we do with #cerameg – the welsh word for ceramics.

Now to what I actually doing… This year I am creating tiles, optical illusion tiles which I intend to clad a corner of a wall in. much like a tree and its roots or ivy on a wall. A manifesto of tiles. This is a very rudimentary illustration of my initial idea so far… And the far bottom is an example of the different manifestations I can create using my tiles, I tested this out by cutting out different coloured paper and sticking them on the wall. I have more examples in my sketchbook too.img_4692img_5414