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Saturday, 31 May 2014

Exhibition:The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier

This exhibition is in Barbican Centre, shows Jean Paul Gaultier's amazing cutting-edge fashion creations from early 1970s to present day.

I was astonished by his photographies, videos and some of the clothes in the second floor, which I am going to show them in this post. And I also like the little trick that each model has its own moving face. Each face is a video, talking, smiling, or even singing, which is projected on the model.

For the rest of his works , I felt disappointed by their bad quality that I suspected they are the original clothes he made. To me, they are more like just for exhibition with poor fabrics and details. 

I like these works is both because of shape he designed as well as the colour combination or contradiction in his clothes and the environment. Together they give a feeling of mysterious, surreal, wired but charming. 

The picture above for example, the cloth and the golden ring behind her head remind me Virgin Mary who is considered to be holy. But the strong colour, her make-up, facial expression and her half covered body make me think about lust.

So as to this one, I really like the contrast between purple and yellow, her doll-like face and the delicate accessory around her face. 

This beautiful lady together with the reflection of other models on the glass is like a world of goest. Especially when the picture is in a cold yellow and blue tone, the picture feels cold, misty and a little sad.

To me, the combination of these colours can easily give a feeling of colourful fantasy world. In my memory, there are lots of work, like illustration, animation or computer games, etc using this kind of colour to create a world of fantasy. 

Paul Lehr
Itchiku Kubota
I am wondering why this kind of colour mixture can give me this feeling. It reminds me autumn, sun set, nebulas in the space, which to me, is all about romantic, magical, fascinating. I like the changing of these colours as well as the little contrast between them. It is like fire, full of vitality. And I am a moth that couldn't stop myself from darting into it. 

I really want to achieve this kind of colour in my ceramic. For now I only made it in raku fire, but I don't think it can be put into water. As far as I am concerned, I can either do a lot of tests about glaze along with the development of my idea or try to make landscape in fish-tank.

As to the following works, I am interested in the way that he played with fabrics and ribbons. There are so many details and dramatic shapes that keep attracting my eyes.

These hats give me a idea of plants growing out of something or someone's face. And if it is in the water, the plants will grow upwards, which is like floating up.

Recently I drew some sketches inspired by Leon Bakst's costume design. I didn't think that much when I drew them. I just found those costumes can inspire me, so I abstracted some elements from them and drew a few sketches. 

Then I found out not all of his work can give me inspiration, only those related to Persia or India. These civilisations are more mysterious and attractive to me. I think it probably because of two works I saw when I was a child. One is a movie called Little Princess, which full of elements from India, bringing me a beautiful imagination. The other one is a fiction from Japan. In the story, there is a empire in the future based on Persia, including the architectures, clothing, etc. The illustration of the book is great that leave me a deep impression.

Compared to  Leon Bakst's work, Gaultier's works are more modern and fashion, having stronger power. I like their impact. 

I may get some ideas from this exhibition, but I am not sure for now.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Body stain test 2

This test is for recording body stains' fired colour, which functions as a document and reference for my project.

In the first test, the stains are from Tiranti. Colours turned out nice except the red one. It became white after 1260 firing. If I only biscuit fire it, the colour would stay. But I cannot use it like that because the colour may leak into the water and pollute it. Even the staff from the shop don't know the reason that caused this.

In the test 2, I used the body stains from Scarva and some other oxides from glazing room.

SCARVA Nano Colours 

 • Lead Free

• All colours are intermixable

• Maximum Firing Temperature 1300°C

• Add approximately 8% to make opaque glaze
There are differences between the colour Scarva gave and the real colours after firing. Some are silt but some are huge.

NC062: I am quite satisfied with the real colour. If I use it with porcelain and partly opaqued glaze, I can achieve a feeling of traditional Chinese painting.

NC026: This one is less vivid, which is more like matcha than grass.

NC034: This one is also less pure and bright than I expected, but the result is still ok.

NC047: This one changed a lot. The reason that cause this could be temperature or the amount I used. But actually what I have done are in the right range. Or should I use the clay after one month or two that the stain may dissolve better?

Oxides and Carbonates 1%

Jennifer Lee uses mixed natural oxide pigments from different places (0.25%~4%) in her work which gives comfortable and quiet feeling. Pigments like these sometimes can bring more surprise than commercial stains because of their unstable condition.  

That is why I want to do the following tests. Though I prefer uneven colour, as a tile for recording colour, they do quite well.
1. copper carbonate 1%
This oxide is used to give green colour, but here you can barely see it. It may to do with the saturation. 

2. cobalt oxide
3. cobalt carbonate
This two are used to give strong blue colour, even the amount is less than 1%. Cobalt carbonate is slightly weaker than cobalt oxide. I am satisfied with this effects.

4. chromium oxide
The chromium oxide itself is toxic to our body before firing. However I am not sure how it acts after firing that I will be cautious about this oxide.

5. black iron oxide - FeO
I only put 1% so that it gave a light grey tone.

6. red iron oxide
Maybe I should test piles with more red iron oxide next time. In one of my other tests, I put too much iron in the pigments that it became black after firing. 

7. Manganese Carbonate
I like the little dots and linen colour in this one. It may not be a main colour in the fantasy world I want to make, but I think it can harmonise the contrast in some case.

8. Rutile
So as to this one. Rutile contains iron and titanium oxide. This light rose colour is beautiful.

9. Ilmenite
10. Tin Oxide 
11. Yellow Orche
I saw this one is put with other oxides, so I gave it a try. Again, I like those little dots in it.


I didn't have a clear clue when I did these tests that I just wanted to test the colours I had.  As a test tiles, they may help me in my future making as a basic guide. However I also realise, sometimes little difference can cause quite different result that I should do further test to achieve the colours I want. 

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Basic Jewellery Course ( 2 days)

This is a free weekend basic skill jewellery course provided by Flux Studio just near our Uni. It is really good that the teacher is so nice and all the materials are free. It seems that every person lives in the Southwark Council range can apply for this course.

The first day we learnt how to work with bronze and brass, such as annealing, hammering, sawing, filing and using rolling mill. There are detailed notes at the end of this post about these tools and the way of using them.

At the end of the day, we started to make a strip for our semi-precious stone that we were going to solder it on our silver pendant the next day.

acid for cleaning the metal after annealing and special tweezers, steel tweezers is forbidden here

bronze and brass
creating onion skin texture
with rolling mill

creating texture with hammers

files, for sanding and smooth the metal

my brass piece
make a hole


measure the size of stone

make a strip

my and other class-mates' outcome

At the second day, we learnt how to set the strip on a piece of sliver. Before that we had to make the sliver piece into the shape we designed.

I pressed thread into the piece to create this water or grass like texture.
This this how it looked after I set the stone in and put on the jumping rings.

It is nice to try some new techniques and materials that they may give me some new ideas naturally. And I really enjoyed the making process, even I felt super tired after sawing for a long time. The result I have achieved also gave me huge satisfaction.

I found that trying new things can help my brain get some rest from my regular thinking. And actually they cannot be totally irrelative. For example, the texture created by round head hammer is the one I always want to make out in ceramics. Before I tried to pinch it out, and I failed. Now I found a new way to achieve it. Apart from that, the textures pressed by rolling mill are fascinating. I knew there is similar skill in ceramics, but I didn't use it for a long time that I even forgot. And this course just reminded me about it.

I know people always say life is your teacher, now I am clearly aware of it. I think that is a really good thing. I would like to tried those two methods I mentioned in practice and see how they are doing in ceramic.