Pinch Pots

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During this weeks critical arts class, we continued with the theme of space and place. We also made site specific interventions outside the classroom. The first hour of the class was spent making many pinch pots with all the clay we had. During this process making the five of us and our teacher exchanged ideas. They were mainly of our future plans for after our degree. I noticed how place specific people’s plans were in relation to mine. It seemed that most people foresaw continuing their education or getting employed in London. This was in contrast to my own plans of employing myself and travelling the world.

The pots we made were purposefully of all sizes and relative shapes. Each of us seemed to develop our own technique of making them. We also seemed to have our own subtle distinct style with thicker or thinner walls and more round or rectangular curves.  Once we’d used up all the clay we were asked to assemble them. The corner of the room was suggested as a good place as the walls could act as support to give some height to the installation. I didn’t particularly feel that motivated to make something that impressive. Perhaps because there was no audience to impress? Or maybe a reflection of a rainy, cold and cloudy Tuesday afternoon? We initially started discussing what we could create, and started to talk about what they looked like. However our teacher then said they weren’t supposed to look like anything, but be non-representational. Our next plan of action was to get started and place them on the ground. I suggested we all work together to make a human chain but that idea somehow didn’t get transmitted to the others effectively. One girl and I created a human chain whilst the others placed their own on the floor themselves. We sort of rearranged them a little, threw some on the wall – a continuing theme from last week – placed some on top of others. One girl and myself couldn’t resist but create some faces and figures on some of them.

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After that collaboration we had forty-five minutes to leave the classroom and make interventions in space. It was cold and rainy. I walked fast, determined to find a green space or tree to chuck or place my pinch pot on. I had chosen quite a big heavy one, not sure quite why, which I was carrying in a plastic bag. I eventually came across this tree which I thought had a very interesting shape. It was especially as the leaves were falling and the space it had been hiding all summer was suddenly revealed.  There were quite a lot of people walking around, so I acted cautiously, pretending I wasn’t doing anything mischievous. I somehow sort of became invisible and people didn’t seem to be staring at me. I tried to roll my pinch pot the bark to get an interesting imprint but nothing happened, just an unimpressive smug.  It was cold and rainy, so I quickly aimed and threw my pot high into the tree. It landed securely onto a branch. I took some photos as my fingers froze and raindrops fell on my phone screen. I then retreated back to the classroom. The whole process felt really underwhelming. Which I thought was interesting. I assumed it was because of a combination of factors, reminding me that even though the activity may be really exciting, if you’re not in the right mood, space, place, temperature, surrounding, moment.. you engage to differing extents.

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My pinch pot is in the middle of this photo, a sort of egg shape. Can you see it?

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