Tuesday, 24 July 2018
Some of the best ceramic's moments happened at the end of my stay in Las Palmas. I had the luck of finally meeting some fellow potters, Gloria, and Paco, who happened to live not far from my place. They set up a gallery/shop/workshop at Leon y Castillo, one of the arteries of Las Palmas. They have a lovely and welcoming space. The front room is the shop, where they display their work and that of other artists/artisans, and the back room is the ceramic's workshop, upstairs there is storage and more workshop space. They confessed to me that their house was really another workshop. Sadly during my times there I only took photos of my work. We had a little exchange. I did some jugs on the wheel for them, after two years of no practice ... and showed them how to work with paper clay and how to make it. Paco makes lamps so hopefully, this technique will be of use to him. In exchange they were wonderful to me, we had great conversations about everything...life, Spain, art, ceramics, craft, business, relocating to new places... And very important they allowed me to use their space and they fire some work I made with Gran Canaria's clay. There were always people at their gallery, students, customers, artists, even one day I had the pleasure to meet Gloria's mum. Her mum is a very creative person, now in her nineties, she was still sewing, she has this lovely project of making bags with her children's old dresses, so they were functional bags and memory machines at the same time. I loved the concept and quality of the bags. During my weekend strolls through the island, trying to walk it all over, I always had in mind to search for clay. I just wanted I little amount, to do a small piece, a token to take from the island. But I wanted to dig the clay myself, not to buy it. Some potters sell bags of already prepared Canarian clay. There is not much clay in the islands, and it fires at a very low temperature it needs additions to be able to reach 800 degrees. I found my clay nearby Arteara, walking through the tunnels and galleries, abundant in the area, they enabled workers to cross through the ravines, saving lots of time, some were inundated. I was reckless because I did not follow the Canarian tradition for preparing the clay, and decided to mix my clay after separating the impurities with a 30% of a foreign stoneware body to increase its firing temperature. It worked well, truth is, I may have lost some of its particular qualities. Still, I think of it as a Canarian clay. I only had enough for a little figurine.
Wednesday, 4 July 2018
There are no many natural resources of clay in Gran Canaria. I am very fond about finding some local clay and to prepare it myself so to use in my work. But there is some clay which has been used to produce ceramic wares from the time of the first inhabitants of this island, some say they were of Berber origin. Their techniques and processes are still in use and well preserved by the practice of some of the Gran Canaria potters of today. Some play with the techniques and "bastardize" them producing amazing results, contemporary objects and artefacts. In other cases, the traditional practices and processes are religiously preserved. For example at "La Atalaya" there are a Museum and an open workshop dedicated to the memory of one of his famous master Panchito. It was not common in Gran Canaria for men to be involved in the production of ceramics. That did not stop Panchito, his house is today a museum and the visitor can see where and how he lived and worked as the workshop is contained within the house. Potteries used to be set up in manmade caves. The workshop was usually owned by the potter. The potters of La Atalaya were very poor they lived perched on the ravines near to the source of clay and other materials needed for their craft. There wes famine, war, isolation, as Gran Canaria besides being an island has a complicated topography.
It is been more than three years now since my last post. Somehow I have been delaying it and delaying it. My last post is from October 2015. That post is made mainly of images of tableware, at that moment I was producing work for the pre-Christmas' shows and markets. The dates and venues for some of these events appear in the post too. At that time I knew I was going to move out of London and back to Spain. In my mind was to make new work but also the need to sell and dispose of it quickly. Also, I had to pack and free my space at the Glebe road Studios by January. There was lots of work and things and memories to deal with. I was part of Glebe Road Studios since I finished my BA in Ceramics at Camberwell College of Art. The studio and my colleges were home to me. I had good memories from those last Fall-Christmas Shows and Events. The pots above are mainly made from London clay, I was very happy about them, the clay was from very deep below Bond Street. A good clay, it didn't need much additions nor preparation. I was very bold with the surface treatments, mostly I used engobes in blue, brown and green, kind of rusty colours, for the outer part of the pot. For the insides, I used a pale, watery green colour, like a river' water. The picture was taken at the end of 2015 in a Market in Chiswick London. The period before Christmas was very busy at my part-time job at Cheeky Tiki, we had lots of orders at the ceramic department, a different approach to production, ceramics and style; big orders of barware provided for cocktail's bars around the world. I loved to do the painting and didn't mind the repetition. It was hard to say goodbye to Cheeky Tiki, I was more than five years working for them, lots of memories and cocktails. I exhibited again at The London Potters Annual Show, always a busy show. And made some houses. . I was looking forward to my moving to warmer climates and went all crazy with the yellow. The image is from my last Winter 2015 Open Studios at Glebe Road. Before living in London I made more sales and had to pack some chosen pots, figures, materials and equipment to my mum's house in Galicia. There they would be kept stored for a while, most of them, as I was immediately moving to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, where I had planed to reside for the next few years, and could not take them all with me.