Thursday, 15 October 2009

Dissertation procrastination

Wednesday went to Stoke for last research trip before writing dissertation. Met up with the second years who were visiting museums, factories and galleries in preparation for their slip casting project. Was meant to join them for a tour of the Dudson factory at lunch time but a university administrative error meant that they weren't expecting us. Luckily had booked a tour of Burleigh for the afternoon, so left the second years, tutors and friendly Dudson security guards for the Middleport factory.

The Burleigh factory is proud to still be using traditional underglaze transfer printing methods, and even some original 19th century machinery to do this. It was fantastically dusty and messy, and I loved it. Our tour guide Gemma was passionate about Burleigh and was a pleasure to listen to. Here's a picture of the transfer paper being printed:

The transferrer has to apply it within two hours of it being printed. Great to see the human face of the world of internet shopping....

The factory building is listed, and is full of now redundant equipment. Rooms full of moulds (they stopped counting at 15,000), now gone out of fashion or collected from closed local factories. Warehouse full of cast hospital equipment such as inhalers and invalid cups, finished just as the NHS moved away from using ceramics. And empty rooms, photographed for the exhibition Breaking the Mould as part of the British Ceramics Biennial in Stoke. This exhibition might imply that Burleigh is an empty building, but it's full of life, history and flowery stuff. Accidentally bought a little black calico jug.

Thought about the Burleigh building a lot since my visit. What if I was able to exhibit my paintress project in one of the empty rooms? What if I could use some of the transfer designs on some pieces celebrating Burleigh transferrers? What could I do with some of those ceramic inhalers and invalid cups?

Went to see Fresh at the Bridgewater factory, which features recent BA and MA graduate work. Great to see work of Ai Ono and Esther Hubert there. They worked in my studio last year and graduated in July.