Julian Stair Simone Ten Hompel

I am specifically looking in to the collaboration between Julian Stair, ans English potters, academic and writer with Simone Ten Hompel the German world renound metal smith, Their exhibition line being caller ‘Re-naturing’ the vessel.  Where they have taken domestic culinary objects such as the cup, saucer, spoon. They have beautifully integrated their apposing materials in a seamless way. Stair would with a variety of clay and ceramic forms from delicate porcelain to building standard red bricks.  Where Ten Hompel is a metal smith, who’s preference is silver but works with many metal forms. The collection consists of

  • Black marl clay with guilded metal
  • white porcelain with alabaster
  • Silver with red clay
  • Brass and other metals

The artefacts are grouped together in families of contrasting materials, to emphasise the up rooting of materials used and their relevance in domesticated objects. In the Oxford ceramics gallery Julian stair has written a section on how their similarity helped them creating and understanding in making for this project. He explains how both himself and Simone ten Hompel’s practice involved a shared philosophical position about the central value of material culture.   They wanted to create a strong cognitive understanding of art that should draw on haptical appreciation as as well as intellectual analysis, a critical phenomenal perspective.

I have referenced and taken inspiration from Julian stairs and Simone Ten Hompel’ s collaboration because they have found a way to combine what i consider apposing materials domestically functional ceramics with aesthetically beautiful and industrial metal. Although my ideas involved joining the two materials, which may or may not be possible. Re-naturing the vessel shows the beauty of contrast between ceramic and metal and how they can compliment each other whilst enhancing the ideals of the objects whilst adding a new aesthetic.


Level 5 PDP

For second year constellation i initially choose the option art, science and the construction of reality. I decided to try a lecture series that was more philosophical based as my first year was based on cognitive development and art movements such as post modernism. I find it difficult to understand philosophical problems especially the kind where the answers are neither wrong or right i prefer something with more of a solid answer based on facts and figures. My dislike for option lies in my capabilities for philosophy, not in the structure of lessons. I can not really comment on this because i only had one session on this topic.It really was not for. I was able to swap to another group where the topic was cognitive future. The sessions were grouped into five hour slots over 5 weeks, as i enjoyed the subject area i found that 5 hours worked well as it takes me a while to focus on tasks. The time allotted allowed me to learn and process more information  than i would in the 2 hour sessions. If i did not enjoy the subject i don’t think i would have coped in the long sessions.


The topics included

  1. The senses mistrusted
  2. Designing aesthetic worlds
  3. Designing futuring
  4. Critical design
  5. Dissertation proposal notes.


Although i was not there for the first session i appreciated the recap of practitioners from the previous year, as it helped to refresh some of the topics from first year but also set up the sessions to come after. I found i was able to see the physical design side of the subject and the cognitive, perception side.The topics were mainly based on skills and knowledge that can be applied to a physical object like the mass production of a washing machine and how it came to be a necessary part of home life instead of being a communal task. Key features that appeared in a few of the weeks were elements like sustainability, or how to communicate an idea or concept in a way that catches peoples for attention, (STI’s in toy form). The majority of the time i don’t like working in groups, but in this situation the group project were short and to the point including a small presentation that by the end didn’t feel that overwhelming.Although there was a certain aspect of philosophy i thought of it as more contextual, which as a maker suited my practice more so than the other options for level 5. In particular i found Wabi-Sabi to be the most interesting topic as i bound the concept behind it useful to my practising, i was very keen to learn about how different design can be in eastern cultures as there was a focus on the west as we are part of it. However i decided to write my formative about Wabi-Sabi because of how hauntingly beautiful i found the extracts from Leonard koren  Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers. I have since incorporated some of the elements of wabi sabi into my subject and field work. From the aesthetic qualities to the sustainability and acceptance of impurities the whole topic of Wabi-Sabi really inspired me. Stuart Walker’s research on critical design and the era of postmodernity was also a highlight of the sessions, i have used it to support my argument within my dissertation plan, the subject links to my practice and possibly the future of making and craft..


The second term of constellation was difficult for me as writing theories and concepts for a dissertation is difficult for me. Surprisingly i found that i had too many ideas to pinpoint a question or even a general direction for my thesis. I decided against an artefact because given the choice to make i would spend more time on the physical side of the project and not the context within the writing. After a lot of procrastination i found the i want to base my thesis on craft, it’s something i define my practice as i find it a very interesting subject. I found the proposal sheet with the questions on  helpful as it gave us questions and certain specifications to include in our writing. I found the tone of the proposal different to what i had previously written. I am used to creating a question, finding research and supporting my argument. However to me this proposal wasn’t as straight forward i found deffincerating between the back ground reading/review of key literature/ critical context to the research plan. I feel like they were all asking for the same information but in different ways. This was difficult to not repeat myself.  

The word count was very intimidating, and i found myself wishing the previous assessment had built up to a higher word count to prepare myself. However after finish the proposal i found it to be a good amount of words i was able to get my theories and concepts across with a certain amount of explanation. As i’m a doing a word count 4000 words is half of the minimum amount for the dissertation so it has prepared me in a way that i don’t feel as intimidated as i was before. The proposal has brought me a lot of clarity about my thesis which may change over summer but i feel as if i can actually tackle the project now. IM very glad that i was able to pick constellation choices in my first and second year that i enjoyed as they have all aided me in the writing on the dissertation proposal. More importantly my subject choice for the 10,000 words reflect who i am as a maker and the practice i want to to explore and work in after university.


Cornelia Parker

Cornelia Parker is a British artists who conveys strong and powerful messages through her work. She has been described as one of the most “inventive and quietly provocative artist of her generation”.

She was originally trained as a sculptor but uses a variety of mediums including

  • photography
  • performance
  • installation
  • sculpture  – to conevey her messages.

She is know to create probing questions of the nature of rules and the structures that governs us.

Her most influential piece to me is called “Cold dark matter” or the exploding shed. This was a collaboration with the police and military where they blew up a garden shed. It represent the violence that potentially happens with in domestic life. The shed was an ideal symbol for as its generally a universal baggage container.

cold dark matter.jpg

A shed holds all of the item and even memory’s that we forget about but dont want to get rid of, its part of peoples lives. Where the explosion is destruction violence that can corrupt a house hold. The sculpture captures a split second in time, where the end was unknown. Parker started the design process of the end piece as they were hanging completely working with what was left.

One of her running themes is using found objects. All of her work involves a story of some kind whether she is recovering a story from found objects or making new ones by colliding the items.

Cornelia Parker also explains things we dont understand with objects and things we know well. For example domestic violence with the cotencts of a shed.

Other themes are:

  • exploring both side of an object both shiny and tarnished.
  • mortality or the passing of time,
  • violence in a subtle way
  • something being easily read but posing a question

Parker is an influential artist for this new project due to her contextual and physical use of shadows within her works such as ‘Cold Dark Matter’. Her use of shadows in the physical sense is what attracted me to her work as i am using my own shadows inspired by her work to create the pewter lines in my ceramic vessels. i feel that her work is balance between the physical hanging objects and the shadows, without either one ‘Cold dark matter’ wouldn’t have the same context and effect it does with both elements. similarly in my work a pewter web or ceramic vessel would not be very impactful without the two mediums working together.