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Next Steps and the International Ceramics Festival

Sometimes life develops very differently from how you planned it. I had been thinking that the next step for my artistic practice was to undertake an MA. That is not feasible at the moment so I have been working the past few months to get myself in a situation where the growth and exploration I was looking for with an MA could be achieved. I am happy to say that I have been awarded a Bursary for Mentorship from a-n magazine as well as a Research and Development Grant from the Arts Council of Wales.

For the past several years my practice has focused on textiles as my medium and I am attempting to branch out from this. I have been given the opportunity to work with ceramics and feel this shift will allow me to address fresh ideas, experiment and discover new ways of expressing myself.

This past weekend I attended the International Ceramic Festival in Aberystwyth, Wales. The whole ceramics world is very new to me and I thought that the I.C.F. would be a great introduction.

I volunteered at the festival on the front-of-house team and was able to sit in on many lectures and demonstrations. Beth Cavener’s lecture was the highlight for me. She wowed so many people and the demand to see her was so high that they had to twice schedule additional talks! Something I have been thinking about lately is how much of my personal life to share in my artwork. Beth was really open and candid in her talk; I took away from it the validation that it is ok to share personal issues and that people will relate (if you do it well!). All of Beth’s art pieces are psychological portraits represented by animals. The photographs are quite deceiving as the actual sculptures are so large she can crawl inside some of them.

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Beth Cavener lecture

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Monika Patuszynska & Keiko Masumoto Demonstration

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Monika Patuszynska & Beth Cavener in the small demonstration room where you could get close and ask questions

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Peter Lange & Duncan Shearer made a variety of experimental kilns from phone books, a solid log and even potatoes

The International Ceramics Festival covers a broad spectrum of makers, from very traditional to experimental, from functional to installation. There were demonstrations, exhibitions, artist lectures, informal discussions and even a symposium on postgraduate studies. I feel that festivals like this one and WEYA are so important for bringing artists together. I am so excited to start this period of research and will keep you posted as things develop!

-Alana Tyson

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