The second Devon Guild member taking part in this project I would like to introduce you to is Philippa de Burlet. A one-time keeper in the insect house at London Zoo, Philippa has a long standing fascination for all things small and winged and has relished meeting the roof top bees.
Philippa’s ceramics are made from porcelain, smooth, strong, white clay. The pieces are made on the wheel, painted in their raw (unfired) state and then biscuit fired. After the biscuit firing comes the glaze firing for which she uses a transparent matt glaze. This is fired at around 1260º – 1280º. The high firing temperature fuses the clay and the glaze together which results in strength and translucency, properties for which porcelain is known.
Here’s some tall vases awaiting firing
& here’s some examples post firing. Notice the changes in colour after firing.
She is also experimenting with some bee tiles – here seen in its earliest raw stage. I love the optical illusion of the stamped in bee motif photographing as if they are in relief.
In common with printmaking, ceramics has an aspect of working in collaboration with the process. As a printmaker I cannot be 100% sure exactly how my prints will turn out. Even an experienced ceramicist also has that moment of trepidation when about to open the kiln after all of the hard work. Will the glazes look exactly as you expect, or will there be some surprises? One way that both the printmaker and the ceramists develop their own person voice is by being able to respond to the occasional happy accident and being capable of recreating the elements that they like.
An event page has now been set up for Urban Bees: Working Together on FaceBook.
Together with a daily Bee Fact, there are other links to bee related articles and website, plus other glimpses of the artists work as they become available. You are welcome to interact with the page and share you Bee interests. So do visit the page, click the button to say you intend to visit the exhibition in September at the Yard Gallery at Exeter College. And please share the link with friends you think would be interested.
To read an intoduction to the project and a little bit about Debby Mason see Urban Bess: Working Together 1.