Rävemåla Residency 2019
Myself and the artist Jessica Mason have been selected for the Rävemåla Residency in Kalmar, Sweden and we will be spending the month of July 2019 there collaborating on a ceramics project.
Jess and I met whilst working with ceramicists and jewellers in Seville and came to realise that we share a passion for focusing on the experience our products give their user. We believe in embracing organic forms and traditional processes to create functional objects that feel human. We wish for them to create a connection between us and the natural world to make an everyday experience a valuable and joyous one. These are the concepts that we would like to develop at Rävemåla.
At Rävemåla we would like to explore the concepts of storage and preservation as a reaction to the harvest season. Harvest traditionally connotes rural traditions and yet still is an integral part of all societies, rural and urban, in all countries and cultures.
We would like to explore the harvest specific to Rävemåla by exploring the local landscapes as well as meeting the local community to understand how crops and produce are currently valued and stored. As harvest has always been a community activity we would like to learn from the local population and be inspired by Sweden’s methods of farming and gathering.
Through the turmoil of Brexit in Britain we feel driven to find ways that we can creatively connect with European Cultures and traditions. With this in mind we would like to explore and learn from Swedish culture and history and draw parallels with our own country.
The first week at Ravemala has been weird and wonderful in so many ways. The clay from the local island of Gotland was waiting for us on arrival and we did not take long to convert a spare bedroom into our little studio. Jess and I are very similar in our need for a clean and uncluttered space to work and so we moved the majority of the room’s furniture into the loft and replaced it with two desks, two chairs and a plastic sheet on the floor.
We opened the first packet of clay on Wednesday morning and began by kneading grog (molochite) into it to give it strength. We attempted to work outside in the beautiful sunshine but sadly the clay dried out far too quickly so we hastily retreated to our studio and began our first coiled vessels. Using the ancient technique of coiling has been extremely interesting for me because it forces me to make in a far more organic way and is also teaching me the art of patience. Initially I used vessels found around the house as a template to make the base of my forms (to ensure they stayed symmetrical) but I quickly changed to ‘freehand’ coiling to allow me more freedom with my shapes. Although we have produced a fair amount, I feel daunted by how fast the first week has gone. We are hoping to do a test pit firing on Wednesday of next week (if the clay has dried sufficiently – hence the patience issue) and from then we will build the final pieces.
I am also really interested in how our ideas around the project have developed. Although our initial plan was to simply create food storage I have become interested in alternate vessels to promote sustainability in other ways such as reducing water waste. The house has played a major part in producing these thoughts due to the lack of running water….
Experimenting with mark making and realising how different textures can affect the way that you use/react to an object has also been intriguing me and as I get to know the clay better my textures are becoming more extreme and outlandish.
We would like the outcome of this residency to be a collection of large storage jars/urns to be used to gather the ‘house’ harvest for years to come.
These would help encourage future visitors to gather and preserve the produce of the local land and promote sustainable living. We would like these vessels to be informed by the land surrounding the house and we also hope to transport several pieces back to the UK to exhibit and develop further.
Updates on this project will be posted throughout the month of July on this page so please stay tuned!