Friday, 14 September 2012

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Some new work

Here are photos of my latest porcelain pieces. I post them to Flickr and to my facebook page where you are welcome to add me. They are all for sale and can be bought with a phone call and card payment details to me at 0044(1)702 470490 or 07929607270. This was posted at the end of Feb 2012 and pots do sell fairly soon. HURRY
http://www.flickr.com/photos/9597063@N02/



































Sunday, 8 May 2011

Thoughts on tools, the eyes and the hands

I have recently come across two pieces that relate to a subject that has been there for ages in my working life, but not documented or defined. I was given a Financial Times article from 12 March written by Edmund de Waal entitled With These Hands (if you'd care to look it up online). I had just finished hearing the Radio 4 adaptation of his book The Hare With Amber Eyes.

He rightly describes preparing, centring, raising, opening, adjusting a lump of clay into the form that it contains as 'different from classroom learning....a sort of learning that I could not articulate'. Hand, wrist, tautening in the shoulders- things the body learns to do by doing over time. It realates to a different and parallel intelligence to that derived from books and academia. Not less but different. He quotes from The Wrench by Primo Levi about types of work that are done on one's own, 'with his own head, and even better, with his own hands'. This is why one develops a contempt for shoddiness and 'lack of attention to the specificity of one moment in one place with a material'. In other words every time you do something it requires a new correct response and method for proceeding. You win some and lose some, but develop an increasingly refined knowledge of  your field. It is why when making a run of, say 200 mugs, each one is it's own self and needs love and care, as well as the accumulated knoweldge gleaned from the thousands of pots made previously...all for that one moment in the present. De Waal also says that whilst this is happening, he is planning the next batch of work a s a direct result of the current experience- something that I recognise completely.

To the second piece of writing by Roger Deakin in Notes From Walnut Tree Farm. He does a bit about how writers connect with the land- poets like John Clare worked on the land to understand it. Walking and cycling in the countryside rather than driving through everything at speed. Ted Hughes farming and living with animals. "And when we look at the land, what is our connection with it? Tools, and especially hand tools. Much can be learned about the land from the seat of a tractor, the older and more exposed the better, but to observe the detail, you must work with hand tools."

It is all about felt knowledge, the hand and the eye. Edmund de Waal talks about the old chestnut of the classical scholar who can therefore turn his/her hand to anything else instantly. What rubbish- get your hands dirty and learn and practice and learn some more.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

A Trip Around Some London Art Shows

A few days ago I spent a good day visiting galleries in London. First up was Handmade in Britain, a small boutique gallery just off the top end of Brick Lane, where I took some of my ceramics to be displayed and sold. http://www.handmadeinbritain.co.uk/?p=368



I then headed west for the Lisson gallery near Marylebone Station which has two sites on opposite sides of Bell Street. I really liked the one featuring Haroon Mirza who's work is "concerned with the distinctions that define noise, sound and music" and uses old hi-fi, dico and computer equipment to make a racket.
Calder mobiles looked wonderful in the window of the Gagosian Gallery in Davies St, then I visited New Bond Street's Fine Art Society, Bruton Street's Halcyon Gallery (enormous place including Bob Dylan paintings and prints), and a big show of Lynn Chadwick sculptures- silly me, I always thought 'she' was that fairly rare thing- a female famous scultor, but it's a 'he' with an unusual name.
Coffee break at the Royal Institution in Albemarle Street- if you haven't been there, do go and you'll see original equipment used in some really important scientific experiments by Farraday, Davy etc- and the coffe is good too.
Gallery Besson for a show of ceramics by the late Jaqueline Lerat  http://www.galeriebesson.co.uk/lerat2011.html


OK but not my cuppa tea.
Next stop the blockbuster show of Modern British Sculture at the Royal Academy. Imaginatively presented alongside historical influences, and without several big names, it worked extremely well. I thought the recreation of Passmore/Hamilton's room from a 1959 show at Newcastle University's Hatton Gallery was stunning (my in-laws were their students at that time).
A small video room showed short films- I liked Len Lye's Royal Mail film which you can see on YouTube, and Richard Wentworth's  Making Do and Getting By- photo's of things put to unusual uses by non-artists. My sort of images for sure.
In the evening I went to a teachers preview night at the National Gallery of Jan Gossaert, a relatively forgotten northern renaissance genius.
And what have you seen lately that you can recommend?

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

I am taking part in an exhibition of artists books/ sketchbooks

Monday 28th Feb saw the start of Safety Helmets Must Be Worn, a group show by MEET. Have a look at the website:
www.artistsmeet.org



My contribution is 3 little sketchbooks described below for the catalogue


CODEX 1-3


Starting on January 1st 2010 I did one drawing a day, and continued every day for the whole year in 3 tiny sketchbooks. This was not conceived as an artwork. I am a potter so some drawings reflect my work. I decided to display the books pegged together to form a circle suggesting the turning of the year. (What a shame that there are 360 degrees but 365 days to go around the year.)


Tiny windows that can be peered through:


Looking/seeing/transcribing/isolating/defining/choosing/recording


Finding common ground and themes


Trying out: ideas/materials/mark-making methods/re-learning to draw


Diary of fragments of my year- some appropriate to the season/special days/location at the time


My things/artefacts/interests/my people/myself


Pots: mine/my collection/ideas for new pottery work






My background. I have a First in 3-D Design from Loughborough College of Art & Design, but for many years drawing has been merely of the thumbnail/back-of-fag-packet (not that I smoke) type to generate basic ideas from which to make my objects in three dimensions. I have made somewhere in the region of 90,000 pots over 30 years, and my work is still very much alive and evolving.


I see drawing as an engine-house for the generation of new ideas, so this was the first time that I had made a promise to myself to draw for it’s own sake, and to do it relentlessly every day, no matter how little time I had, or how important or trivial the subject depicted. It became a habit and a discipline. It was a process of taking stock, and finding out for myself what I am interested in, and how I am able to record it. As an example, I am so pleased I took time to draw fair likenesses of my mum and dad, both in their late 80’s now.











You can see a range of pictures on http://www.facebook.com/richbax and look in the photo albums for “Selections from my One Drawing A Day project last year. All done in 3 tiny sketchbooks”, “One drawing a day”, and “recent pages from my one drawing a day sketchbook”.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Links to shopping sites

I have been asked to exchange links with several sites and this is probably the best place to do this for me.
First up is a portal for finding nice presents called My Shop Goods
 http://www.myshopgoods.com/

Friday, 24 December 2010

Well, that's that then

Merry Christmas to one and all. It is about 3.50 on Christmas Eve and I am about to shut up the studio and gallery for a few days. It has been an odd couple of weeks, with too much ice and snow diminishing the usual slow but welcome trickle of shoppers browsing for presents. I mustn't complain because those that did make it have chosen very nice pieces of my work (and Kate's) to give to their friends and relatives. I have been busily glazing porcelain during the final 2 weeks and have some really good work to display into the spring. I hope this doesn't make me too lazy in January- I know I have a bit more of the studio to decorate as well as repainting the areas where snow meltwater has seeped in, spoiling the recent redecoration. I have no idea if all the parcels I sent to customers arrived in time- some areas were said to be having serious delays. I hope that all is well and recipients love their gifts.