Clay-earth-skin : an exegesis of material and process in Kim Bagley's ceramics.
This study is a practice-led research project in the field of studio ceramics. It focuses on the materials and processes of making vessels and hollow sculptural forms by Kim Bagley, in partial fulfilment of the MAFA degree. The study is an examination of an intuitive approach to ceramic production expressing the chosen theme: clay-earth-skin. This theme is metaphorically linked to the physical origin (the earth) and skin-like quality of plastic clay and some hollow ceramic forms. The theme is also linked to the concept of materiality and the ideas of Claude Lévi-Strauss, concerning nature and culture, and Philip Rawson’s ‘potter’s space’. These theoretical ideas are explored in terms of an intuitive, empirical approach to ceramic materials. The working process and finished works are contextualised in terms of the historical production of Peter Voulkos and the contemporary practice of Gareth Mason and Yo Akiyama whose work can be read as related to the researcher’s through a common use of the clay-earth-skin theme in some form. This dissertation posits and elucidates the relationship between theory and studio practice. It takes the form of an exegesis, that is, a contextual translation, which seeks to both record and reflect on the making process, and what it reveals, using digital photographs and reflective writings. These tools facilitated the recognition that conceptual, theoretical ideas reoccur in the moments of making, within the studio context, which results in an integrated relationship between theory and practice.