My Final Presentation at the EKWC

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Yes it took me more than three months to make a post about my own final presentation at the EKWC. It almost seems ages ago. I have been writing a lot on the Alchimia blog but I could not find the time to report about my own work. Good ? Bad ? I don’t know, it is hard to write about oneself and much easier to write about others. But now I decide that I just have to do it before……………… before its too late!

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It was a breathtaking moment for me. My ladies on their blankets on the floor, my studio completely cleaned up. Everything taken away, drawings, textiles, tables ….I decided for a totally clean presentation.

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It had been a hard decision, to leave all out and only show ladies and babies, but I needed to clean myself up after these three months of compulsory production.

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It took me three days to decide the position of each lady, shifting them around, rearranging over and over again.

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putting together the army of babies and letting go of the not strictly necessary

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At the end I was happy and could say please come in and see….

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a lot of friends came and made me really happy

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What an emotion to see the reaction and try to answer all the questions

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today when I think about these three months everything seems almost a dream, I can surely say that this period was one of the most beautiful of my life.

Dense and solitary, not always easy, often full of doubts, what am I doing here, am I really an artist, maybe I should stop it, maybe what I am doing is just ridiculous……

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but at the end my final decision – yes, it is a great work, and I am an artist !

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my mind following my hands – intuitive decisions – being able to give up to your hands – allowing yourself to be seriously not serious

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spending three months in making thousands of babies and naked ladies

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and lots and lots of friends!

A big thank you to all the staff who helped me to fullfill this obsession of mine………..

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maybe lets hope I will be able to come back one day, obsessions need to be continued……

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The columns of Jieun Yoo

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White or better “bluish” white : pillars, obelisks, piles, stacks, stanchions, balusters, poles, posts..
It is difficult to find the right word for Jieun’s amazing work, maybe ghosts could be also a good description because they appear suddenly and their presence is both strongly real but also fading into translucent white like a shadow of some alien presence.

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Jieun tried and succeeded in a technically extremely difficult process, it was incredible to watch her determination to master and dominate material, process and form. At the end of her residency she almost worked round the clock every day to get her project to the end.When her last kiln was fired the whole EKWC was with her.

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It took hours to build it up, and Rob the kiln master made a fantastic installation.

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One of the ladies entered for good luck, and Rob got help and good wishes from all sides

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You can imagine the happiness when all succeeded

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and the friends arrived for her presentation

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You can see the difference between the first trials and the last ones, but actually a lot of people really appreciate also the “swaying columns” but  Jieun wanted them straight and she got them.

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and as we would say in German “Hut ab” (hat off)  Jieun for your enterprise.

The Lady Kiln

Thirty ladies, their blankets and babies going in the kiln at 1280 degrees!!!!

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You can see there is some kind of excitement going on

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not that they are frightened……let’s say just a little bit in “disorder”

and in fact they ought to be ……

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the fork lift is approaching……

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the fork lift with Marianne contolling every move, so in reality nothing to fear but still quite scary

 

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all up in the air and in this brittle state they are in, every sharp movement could mean the end

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but Marianne puts them down soft and smooth and calm is reigning again

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now for 24 hourse they will stay here, in the purgatory at 1280 degrees, no guilt could ever withstand

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they fit all in and we close and fire, until….

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until the next morning…….to open the kiln and see

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all seems ok, but….

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but no….something terrible happened during the night

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a lady in pieces….

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scattered in midst of the babies

Well, two ladies litterally exploded (who knows what their guilt was) but all the others are fine!!

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and I could bring them up in my studio

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where they can breathe fresh air again

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and enjoy life.

Final presentation Alison Safford

 

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Writing about a final presentation here in EKWC means the end of a residency and in the case of Alison this is pretty hard. She was my neighbour and became my friend and it seems we knew each other for years and not just for 4 weeks.

 

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Final presentations mean to get all the 12 weeks you have spent here in EKWC to the point, you have to sum up, install, think about packaging, about getting all the final details done, you make your own resumee about the outcome of this intense period, you think about leaving your friends, about getting back to normal…..and its a huge stress…..

 

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Alison got lots of help….. from Luzia

 

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and from Samantha, who returned just to help her set up the three installations

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it was a beautiful sight, these snowflakes which by getting nearer turned out to be all little white fingers, pointing at you and making you want to react

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maybe with a bite ? A very ambiguos Christmas happening here ?

 

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and her ships with the famous Hokusai wave – surreal and ambiguous kitsch coming from where?a kind of homemade and gentle Tsunami ? an invasion from outer space ?
Of course she had many more and the whole mass would have been really impressive, but not all of them were ready and the same happened to her misterious rocking houses

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installed in the dark and moist clay room. But we got a glimpse of what it might be like when all finished and installed in a proper place. But this is also the charm of the final presentations, the work in progress mood you get and the insight into methods and working spaces.

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and then the ritual of dressing up, and Alison had really highclass guests…

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it was a charming evening that ended with a great dinner

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and a memorable swim

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under a romantic and drammatic Dutch sky

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The day of the first kiln

I did it, my first kiln.

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Kiln Nr.5 medium size was mine, what an excitement.

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I needed a lot of help, it seems easy but there are many things to consider and to take care of

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actually the so called leatherhard pieces are extremely fragile, and need to be handled with extreme care (I broke two legs of my ladies)

I fired directly up to 1280 degrees, almost the highest you can do and it is pretty risky, pieces can crack or deform or break. But I wanted the porcelain to reach immediately the vitrious state to get its hardness, lightness and white colour.

And I was lucky

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Nothing broke and the porcelaine got its incredible quality

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textile turned into hard and white sculpture without loosing its details and momentum.

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and also my ladies in grey stoneware got an almost skinlike quality, only the broken leg remained

 

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it was a great day and I can now contiunue to work with more knowledge of how to proceed. Lota of ideas and possibilities come up and wait to be realized.

 

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Xl- Final Presentation

Wednesday I assisted my first final presentation, it was a especially big one, five residents together which also means five people leaving this week and new ones arriving on Monday.

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It was a great show and a really nice evening.

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but also a good morning, beautiful weather

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a hit to the beach just before the opening, artists can come 15 min late

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and then all spaces turned into installations

here the big kiln room for Ineke’s jewellery

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shifting masses, with this beautiful Celadon glaze, hands turned into misterious plants

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and we were both in stripes good combination for the following dances

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Samatha’s Japanese Wunderkammer

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a secret room with a goldfish and red shoes

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Birgit’s dogs lurking around the corner

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and stylish guests, do the dogs appreciate ?

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and we can also see their (the dog’s) birthplace

Eleym’s work in progress installation  gives a wonderful insight in her way of working

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from photos to drawings

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to glaze trials and prototypes for sculpture

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visitors get drawn into her very particular world with the impression that nothing is left to chance

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and on the second floor Ipek’s vessels with their silent yet intense and at times colorful presence

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give the final touch to the show

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after this no more documentation but maybe its possible to immagine the kiln room turned into a disco…….

After 1 week or the day of firing

one week full of  new people, new notions, new tools, new materials, new words, new surroundings, new rules, new food, new habits

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What is the most important among all this new things – maybe my studio, airy and full of light and cozy and segregated at the same time. Every morning I open the door I am happy to enter to see and feel it. I walk around for a while looking/staring/touching the things I did

at the creatures I have been making

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I touch the first fired trials – what an amazing feeling – the white porcelain is so light and so hard and strong at the same time, and the contrast to the soft and flexible textile is amazing, and inspiring. All the details of the stitches are reproduced in the porcelain, so it almost seems textile, but then you see a suddent break and you understand that there are different forces at work. This is the accident I did not expect, the accident that opens a new door of understanding, the accident I was hoping to experience.

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so I dance around among all these things with a feeling of absolute luxury

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how could one not do it

 

 

 

 

 

 

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then the massage clock rings – ever got a massage from a seven year old very determined girl,  extremely professional, glass os water, timer and discount rate for everyday package

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and then there is Ipek next door, she gave me the first porcelain to try with and is answering all my stupid questions with absolute patience. She makes these wonderul vessels, that seem ceremonial objects for sacrifice in  their absolute perfection of form, colour, weight and above all surface. Check out her website: www.ipekkotan.com

and then there are the dogs

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familiar and distant

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frightening and sweet

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contemporary and ancestral – like the always known image of a myth diving out of your unconscious. You startle but know this image has been always there and will certainly never leave you again.

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Birgit Saupe is the author and this work, as far as I can understand, is also tecnically amazing.

The dogs are 12, lifesize and cast in Bone China the whitest existing porcelaine. Please check out Birgits work: www.birgitsaupe.com

Then in the evening or often also in the early morning, we go swimming……..

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Porcelaine has memory

Today I learned that porcelaine has memory.

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What this means is you cannot totally fix cracks or other kind of faults, a scar will always be visible.

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An accident, a failure, a crack which will ‘forever’ change the path.

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clay, this material made from the memory of the millenia – the tiny particles that due to their amount of of water adhere so well to each other, and porcelaine the finest of all……

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white, translucent and brittle

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88 days to go

Maybe I should stop counting the days and give them titles instead. The title of this day would be:

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standing on my own feet.

 

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the studio is filling up, more with textiles than with clay for now,

 

 

 

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but the clay is advancing, and some trials make me quite happy. Tomorrow I will be able to fire the first porcelaine ones,

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together with Birgit’s huge dogs. There I will see if I can continue or if they will crack and break.

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the title of the day comes back, feet everywhere and I am actually trying to make a pretty big one.

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apart the EKWC, important places beach, river

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and…..

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cathedral – but only for aesthetic reasons !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

90 days to go

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90 days to go in studio nine.

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it is a huge studio, will I be able to fill it up ? I am the only new comer this week and the spaces and huge works of some other residents are truly intimidating

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the only furniture apart a table is this electric mill, which I dont know how to use as all the other enormous machines

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good to know that also my friend Ineke Heerkens was taken over by the sizes but decided to stick to small and intimate. If you want to know more about Ineke’s work at EKWC click here

And then many years ago it was also Ruudt Peters’ studio, so at the end I am confident that I will be able to handle it all.

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and surely the wonderful weather I brought (maybe) from Italy helps.

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working schedules are strict and the titanic bell rings for presentations, studio visits and … meals.

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first trials with porcelaine, its so soft but takes the textile patterns wonderfully

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and creatures will soon populate the studio.

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