I’ve been thinking about how all the theory, threads, methodology, materials can all fit together. I’m not sure how clear my thoughts are, but after a bout of insomnia I’ve developed a few ideas.

I’ve been thinking of something Conor said about the vernacular descriptors for landscape in MacFarlane’s book Landmarks, he asked rather than simply writing on the ceramics can the words inform the making? Difficult question that contributed to my insomnia.

‘the power that certain terms possess to enchant our relations with nature and place’ (MacFarlane, 2016. Pg 4).

Breaking it down – the words relate to landscape form, water, location and weather, sometimes a mixture of landscape and weather. These are all particular to a place and add together to form the environment. They are interconnected.

I’ve been looking at existing expressions of how the landscape and weather have been used to build then shape structures that shape and express a genius loci. How there are vernacular terms for these that express these forms. An example is a drystane dyke


Affleck, Drystane dyke, Luss Loch Lomond, 18/12/17

These structures mark boundaries of the landscape, they are of the place and shaped by the place – weather, people, geology, culture. They express what’s underneath. They express how the land is used, how it is organised, a tradition, a built heritage, an intangible heritage, a language, how the materials were dug out and laid by hand.

How can I translate this into ceramics?

I can use the collected materials from the site, begin the process of transforming the materials with clay into ceramics, and use the environment to shape, weather and transform the ceramics. This process would be very different summer and winter when the environment transforms. Very different language relating to the landscape in the different seasons.

I plan to make from collected materials, add glaze materials at greenware stage, bique fire, leave them in the landscape to be weathered (a summer and a winter batch?), collect them and do a further firing to seal them. Maybe further layers added. (Maybe leave some greenware out when it is a dry spell).

I could bury pots, put them in the areas of material collection in the burn (remote spot don’t think anyone would spot them), loch and river side, hang them off the underside of the pier (hidden), hang them in my garden, bury in my garden.

The method is developing, the form at the moment is constant. I’ll use the cylinders as a control.

A footnote to this, I’ve been thinking about the ceramics being eroded by the site and how to develop this idea of erosion.


I came across Tamsin Van Essen who in one of her projects used sandblasting on porcelain to erode layers. Her ideas are different, they are about biological erosion, but the technique is interesting and I’ve been digging into it a bit.


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