HARD SPACES - CLAY & ARCHITECTURE

The quality of our surroundings has a direct influence on the quality of our lives whether material or spiritual, at home or in public spaces where the physical space has a context, a sensitivity to a culture and a spirit of the place. This will hold true if we discuss the ceramic structure of a built environment or the ceramic interventions in the fabric of the building.

Working at the interface between ceramics and architecure gives possibilities to interpret particular spaces within our constructed or natural world.

This three week symposium looks at the integration of ceramics in architecture with invited masters. Alongside the practical ceramic studio work there will be discussions, illustrated talks and lectures and visits to sites around the country.

Invited Guest Artists include
ROBERT HARRISON (USA)
GWEN HEENEY (UK).

ROBERT HARRISON
"I began working with clay professionally thirty years ago. My initial work was through the vessel format, focusing on form and Oriental traditions in ceramics. After seven or eight years of exploring the vessel the work took a decidedly sculptural bent. The next few years brought an increase in scale, with my ideas drawing heavily on influences in land art, architecture and the introduction of additional sculptural materials."

"I have been exploring architectural form in both the larger site-specific outdoor and museum installations as well as a body of smaller studio works over the past twenty years, attempting to play one off the other. The studio pieces are more intimate, have often included a variety of materials, and allow an intensified approach to the work. More recently I have intentionally focused the work in a strictly ceramics orientation, in essence bringing the studio work ‘full circle’, and back to my ‘ceramic roots’. A year ago my six year old daughter Hanna, created a small ceramic piece that had a tremendous presence; subsequently inspiring the clay windows series. These new works strive to get to an essence of expression in form, through an architectural language. The juxtaposition of rough and refined surfaces continues to be a hallmark of the work."

Robert Harrison is one of the foremost American ceramic sculptors working on a large scale. His works are usually site specific and are often self contained architectural statements - arches, walls, gateways etc - bridging the gap between architectural embellishments and pure sculpture. Harrison has been past president and long standing board member of the Archie Bray Foundation, America's leading ceramic art centre. He is also President elect of NCECA and a member of the International Academy of Ceramics.

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GWEN HEENEY
For more than 10,000 years, people have been shaping clay into brick for use in creating permanent shelter. With increased skill, they used brick to form arches and gateways in complex buildings of different sizes and shapes. Eventually bricks were used to decorate walls and floors, and what had once been a strictly utilitarian item began to take on an aesthetic role.

Current attention to architectural ceramics, the interest in installations, and the advance of public art have transformed brick into an increasingly popular medium. Artists now collaborate with brick factories to produce a wide range of work utilizing the unique properties of brick. Some, like Heeney, carve the clay while it is green and then fire it; others use already fired bricks to produce their art.

Gwen Heeney has been a ceramic artist for over twenty years, but she has spent the last fifteen years working closely with a number of brick companies all over the UK to develop site-specific artworks, mainly of a monumental scale and often serving a functional purpose. She has been a research fellow at the University of Wales, Institute of Cardiff on architectural ceramics, and she currently teaches at the University of Wolverhampton.

Heeney is author of the book Brickworks, published in 2003, and has completed numerous public art commissions, including the 30-meter long, 5-meter high Mythical Beast created for the Ebbw Vale Garden Festival, and Nine Benches in Brittania Park, Cardiff Bay.

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International Ceramics Studio
H-6000 Kecskemét, Kápolna u.11, Hungary
tel: +36 76 486 867
email: info@icshu.org