Gesamtkunstwerk Bowl Part 3

Tempus Fugit!! Time flees!! Two weeks to go and the exhibition of my work at Llantarnam Grange was drawing ever closer, I cast some more of my bowls in this brief time, fired waxed and tightly stringed. The plaster I ordered arrived promptly but not leaving me enough time to start this project over. I made a note to learn this lesson well.

The stringing of the bowls was a real revelation to me by changing only slightly the angle at which I chose to weave the thread the outcome altered dramatically some bowls enticing the beholder into the vessel…


…others closing one out…


…others even felt as though they warded one away from entering almost menacingly.


This peculiarity of the threading, unthreading and rethreading of these bowls was truly mesmerising. Infinite patterns suddenly at my fingertips only limited by my skill and imagination. This was something which I really enjoyed, endless possibilities of pattern and connectiveness. The taut red thread adding so much tension to the delicate vessels at times I thought they would implode under the pressure.


Once I had a handful of pieces which were of what I deemed reasonable quality, I decided now would be the best time to take a few pictures of how I envisaged these “Precarious” and tense bowls to be displayed. I took to the empty spaces of the building and to the hard industrial setting of the stairwells.

Here I felt the vulnerability of the pots and their personalities come truly to life. Small fragile, living on the edge of monumental hard concrete steps, red silken thread lining up geometrically with the similar colour of the handrails.

All this set against the void of the stairwell, where should they teeter off the edge or be caught in an air current plunge to be shattered far below. To lie there broken job done, story unfurled like the thread that once intricately bound it. Precarious no more but its tale told in unspoken and yet spent volumes.

The day to pack up my pieces had arrived I carefully selected six pieces to be sent to the exhibition, of which I understood three would be exhibited, a good uneven number I thought which works well as a group.


I also enclosed a cracked pot with a post it on it saying “Break me Please!?” This as previously discussed at the “Pitch” was to be broken “in situ” so as to look as though it had succumbed.


This final pot was purposefully threaded more intricately than the other pots in the hope that the thread would hold the vessel together more tightly once broken so that the pieces wouldn’t spread out too far from the “crash site”.

Business cards printed, and placed in the box with the delicate ceramics, off they were gone. Just over a week to go I waited like an expectant father to see what the hard work I had made would look like when put into exhibition. A few days later I received the first photo of my work. I was I can say pleased to see my work on display but at the same time more than equally disappointed.


The works which I had tirelessly created with an underpinning of vulnerability and precariousness had for me been stacked on a shelf with the other artists works so safely there was no jeopardy left in the work. Like so many tins of “Boring Beans”, “Piss Poor Peas” and “Corny Beef” they had been meaninglessly placed on the shelf like so many stacked tins in a supermarket.

tins on shelf

I was saddened by this and upset, to me the only way to have taken more tension out of my work would have been to cut the delicate strings interweaving them. No precarious bowl would sit on the edge of a shelf in this exhibition, not a shard in sight was to be seen of a spent vessel to garnish the tiled floor. Correctness prevailed and my art and heart felt flat.

Lesson learnt for next time is to work more closely with the curator and ensure that the intention of the work is clearly stated or not to be shown at all. I have gained much from this experience and am grateful for the opportunity of showing my work in this well esteemed location.

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