We started by looking at the ceramic work of Finnish artist Maija Liisa Vasenius and painter Elsworth Kelly. Through deconstructing and annotating their work we were able to start our own creative process. We then explored the term ‘soft machine’ as a prompt for thinking about notions of combining mechanical parts and organic or natural shapes. By studying and mimicking some of the textual techniques of William S. Burroughs we were able to draw inspiration for our own designs. We received a page of text from a novel, this was then cut up and rearranged randomly into a poem:
can he come Mayor crossing his ginger hair
a boy with em.
army? guard me back to grandmothers’ How
Similarly, our initial drawings were cut up and rearranged into now abstracted designs. These ultimately guided our final design in stoneware and glaze. Throughout this process we were mentored by ceramic artist Holly MacDonald. She communicated with us via Skype and also used Google Docs to give us valuable feedback on our developing work.
Seeing all of our finished works together and exhibited on the wall was a great feeling of accomplishment.