Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Billingsgate or Bust

One thing I had my mind set on was going to Billingsgate Fish Market for inspiration and crustaceans. As part of my work in casting from life or natural objects. This techniques is incorporated in my junk teapot series. Dragon Junk at Yale University Gallery, Octopus Junk here at the V&A and Koi Junk at Seattle Art Museum all use elements cast from natural shells and sea life. Inspired by my long time interest in Bernard Palissy and by the work I have done on the 18th century American porcelain pickle stands produced in Philadelphia by Bonnin and Morris so called 'life casting' is an art that i feel has new relevance in the 21st century. I thought i could expand my repertoire  or at least get some shrimp for the barbie.
Only one problem Billingsgate opens about 4 am and closes around 8:30 and is not easy to get to-enter my trusty friend and fellow adventurer Rod Jellicoe who is ready for anything so game on.

So I gathered a few perishables and headed back to South Kensington Rod took the scenic route which was risky considering the cargo in the back of his Volvo!

Once we made our way back to the V&A time was of the essence to try to make some molds of baby octopi and a lobster claw that I basically picked up off the floor.

BBQ master Rod Jellicoe

Executive chef Gary Atkins looking pretty pleased with Rod's technique so far!
Sunday BBQ was a fantastic finish to our Billingsgate adventure

Sunday, August 26, 2012


     Though not an olympian I have had my own marathon of sorts and needless to say the work in the studio has taken precedent over keeping current with the blog so I will be channeling Mo to catch up since so much is happening.

It took much more time than I expected to resource and get in all the clays, glaze materials metallic oxides etc. It became clear that I would need to recreate the highly specialized and specific material and technical concerns of my studio to make what is needed for the 3 videos on my work in preindustrial ceramic technology I'm doing while here.

Navigating the surprising differences between English and American ceramic materials was not something I anticipated but it has been a strange and wonderful journey. Thanks to the great people at Bath Potters Supplies, Pottery Crafts, Valentine Clays and CTM Potters Supplies I have the likes of everything from industrial porcelain to euturia marl and Mike at Bath sent me the last 5 kg of Gerstley Borate in the UK. I started making and testing things right away with what was on hand and as things came in since my first video on making a puzzle jug was within 2 weeks of arriving.

First bisque in the large kiln 

Little test kiln sent from heaven!

In order to do a puzzle jug video you have to be able to make a puzzle jug! The clay I have at home for delft is one that is not easy to replace, consistency is very important to a form like this that has a refined
shape and requires a hollow rim and thinly potted to enhance the piercing around the neck.

I had surprising trouble getting a clay to work well most of the english clays came very soft and when doing a video you don't want to get three quarters of the way through and lose the piece at the critical point. In the end I had stiffen the clay up which of course has to be done gradually or you end up with a worse problem different consistencies ie lumpy clay.

The wheels were also a consideration since heel down on my wheel of 25 years is stop and heel down on the larger wheels here is go real fast. That can be a problem- again at a critical moment you press your heel down to stop visa vi habit and the pot fly's off the wheel. No worries they had 2 wheels that were much like what I have at home but they had not been used since purchased so the pedals were very stiff and you had no control between slow and fast. All I needed was a wrench but in an organization this big you need to put in a request to Janet (most helpful ever) at the Estate Help Desk and then they will schedule a technician to come and investigate. The good news is the Help Desk comes by it's name honestly- they are a huge help and are very responsive to requests! With one turn of a wrench I was in business and now it was time to make puzzle jugs, 4 or 5 actually as you need to have ones in different stages of ready to film all parts of the process in one day- and for screw ups which so far had been abundant.

 These little things were not so little and what I could do with some ease in the studio became a lot of hours of making it work as Tim Gun would say.

Comparing my first attempt to the original Liverpool puzzle jug I selected for the case
and the film which proved to be a challenge and a really great piece.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Field Trip to Hampton Court

Hampton Court is known for many things, to me the name shared by the city where I was born and raised and now have my studio Hampton Virginia. My dad The Honorable Henry D Kashouty presided over the general district 'Hampton Court' for thirty years and though a man's house is his castle THE Hampton Court Palace does not refer to our humble abode but of course the incredible English treasure  Home to King William and Queen Mary who chartered my alma mater and that of my father and mother before me The College of William and Mary. So a visit to Hampton Court Palace was a must.
 Notwithstanding all the connections from across the pond of particular interest to ceramic historians are the magnificent Dutch delft flower containers designed for William and Mary by noted architect Daniel Marot which were extraordinary to see in context. And of course the V&A being the the best place ever has an exquisite 'Greek A' factory tulip pyramid on display in room 145  I can adore daily as well as the over the top delft 'milk pans' from which the clotted cream must have been even too heavenly for God.
In the last two weeks Hampton Court Palace has been the center of Olympic activity from running the flame through the garden maze to the destination for the olympic cycling events. Part of a wonderful convergence of history and making history going on all over Britain.

rob took some amazing pictures at hampton court i'll add the best link to see asap

nice jugs
nice racks (sorry)

Was lost in the great halls for a bit but finally found my niche!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Future Looks Bright!

The V&A has such diversity within it's ranks that it can be hard to keep track of it all at first. Within a day of the cases being installed I gave a short in studio/gallery presentation to the post 1900 group of curators and directors who were all new to me save for one fabulous face front and center Glenn Adamson Head of Research and all around good guy.
Christopher Wilk Keeper of Furniture Textiles and Fashion leads the group and was generous with their time as I went into more depth than anticipated. I really want to make myself aware of the incredible resource at the museum for contemporary art and design currently there are several great exhibitions on Heatherwick Studio of now Olympic fame or flame! British Design 1948-2012 , Ballgowns, photography and the highly anticipated new Furniture Gallery up here on the 6th floor with ceramics opening in November. There are a host of exhibitions that you have to dig slightly deeper than the homepage to find but are well worth checking out at least online if not in person. Easier said than done in a place where there is so much to see as evidenced here by the number of contemporary curators alone!

Post 1900 group of curators kindly giving me their full attention as I explain the cases i have curated thus far. Too many new faces to name other than Glenn Adamson nodding knowingly front and center and I believe Christopher Wilk seated in front.