Moving collections

14/06/2011

by Rosanna Martin

Selection of my great Aunt's pill boxes, now owned by my Aunt

The movement of collections of objects will be explored through a large group of pieces which will be displayed throughout the house.  I was intrigued as to how all of Sir John Soane’s collections had been moved from Pitzhanger to the Soane Museum for display. More personally I want to make a group of work in response to my late great aunt’s pill box collection. She collected hundreds of pill boxes thoughout her life, on holidays and bought for her by her husband. Since her death the collection has dispersed, some to family members and some sold at car boot sales. It has made me think about the nature of collecting, what are our reasons for doing it? What does an object hold? To what extent was this collection a reflection of my aunt and her personality? And what happens to a collection of objects when it is passed on and owned by someone else? I believe that objects connect us to the world, they shape our understanding of our surroundings and contain many layers of meaning. I will be exploring ideas surrounding our relationship to objects and collecting, ideas of containment, and how through movement and interaction we relate to the objects we use.

I like the way some of the boxes have decoration on their interiors. This is something I plan to explore with my vessels, which will break away from my previous methods of mark making just on the exteriors. I continue to investigate colour and new glazes, intially inspired by the stained glass window at the house. Variations of orange and blue, testing different base glazes to see how colours respond to and create different surfaces, and how they react when viewed alongside one other. I found a stash of old glaze stains of my mum’s from years ago, and so plan to continue testing with these, a sense of history entering into my portrait.

Last firing's glaze tests

By ‘recreating’ my aunt’s collection I will be making a new portrait of myself through objects. I have been thinking a lot about my approach to making, and how I can explore my relationship to making in more depth, in particular to making vessels and the methods I use. I have begun using coiling as a technique in its own right, and also as a way, when combined with throwing it can enable me to make pieces of a much larger scale. The patterns and marks that occur naturally through the making process are a constant inspiration.

Fingernail marks around the rim, a by product of the process

I plan to create a series of works where I make one pot a day for four weeks. My only restriction is the amount of clay I will use. The resulting pieces will form a portrait of my making from that time.

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