A brief reflection on practice


Funda Susamoglu, Decamp (2012)


How do we develop an approach to production that has a strong rationale, rather than producing high-quality, discrete objects?

What does it mean to focus on the quality of your process, rather than the quality of finished pieces?

What does it mean to you to take risks in your practice?

How can you be playful in your practice?

In Play Anything: The pleasure of limits, the uses of boredom & the secret of games, Ian Bogost proposes play as an approach to dealing with a particular set of limits, otherwise known as a ‘playground’. The true creative act, Bogost suggests, is the identification of this playground, i.e. discovering what the rules of the game are.

Play invites us to draw an overdue conclusion: that the potential meaning and value of things – anything: relationships, the natural world, packaged goods – is in them rather than in us. Play is not a kind of self-expression, nor a pursuit of freedom. It is a kind of creation, a kind of craftsmanship, even. By adopting, inventing, constructing, and reconfiguring the material and conceptual limits around us, we can fashion novelty from anything at all. Although they refer to poeisis – the making that grounds poetry – instead of play, the philosophers Bert Dreyfus and Sean Kelly come to a similar conclusion about finding meaning in a secular age: ‘The task of the craftsman is not to generatethe meaning, but rather to cultivate in himself the skill for discerning the meanings that are already there.’  (p. 223)

Bogost notes that the philosopher, Alfred North Whitehead invented the neologism, ‘creativity’ in 1926, conceiving it as the process through which novelty arises.

As Whitehead himself puts it, “creativity is always found under conditions.” Those conditions are much broader and deeper than human existence alone. Just as play names the conditions under which something can be manipulated, creativity names the conditions under which novelty can take place. Creativity always involves context, and not only the context of abstractions, like interior design and background music and wealth and comfort. Whitehead is doing metaphysics, remember, not self-help or aesthetic theory or business consulting. Creativity is not a part of human experience, he urges, but a fundamental feature of existence. The fallacy of creativity, we might call it: mistaking our human exertion as the central factor in acts of creativity, rather than a peripheral one. (pp. 149-150)

This reminds me of Schopenhauer on genius:

….genius is the power of leaving one’s own interests, wishes, and aims entirely out of sight, thus of entirely renouncing one’s own personality for a time, so as to remain pure knowing subject, clear vision of the world…

Which, in turn, reminds me of a short text I wrote for an exhibition catalogue:

Interpretation so often engenders the habit of judgment. Let’s say that, rather than judgment, our aim is to facilitate meaningful interaction with both human and ‘more-than-human’ objects, to become an object among objects.

Don’t worry about the ‘meaning’ of the work, but focus on how your senses place you at the centre of a composite, ‘display’ object, consisting of space, light, sound, smell, text, displayed objects and, of course, bodies. How can I use my ears, my eyes, my nose, my skin, my voice? How can I contact a strange stranger and how might a stranger contact me? Imagine that you are a beam of light, playing on the surface of the art object; a sound wave bouncing off it; a fly about to land…

Imagine yourself to be a Benjaminian critic. Enter into the work and activate its subjectivity rather than making it an instrument of your own subjectivity.

(Funda Susamoglu was an exhibitor)


Ian Bogost (2016) Play Anything: The pleasure of limits, the uses of boredom & the secret of games, New York: Basic Books

Arthur Schopenhauer (1818) The World as Will and Representation.

Conor Wilson (2015) ‘the significance of sensory states and objects’ in The Sensorial Object, curated by Dr. Natasha Mayo and Zoe Preece,Makers Guild of Wales, Cardiff.

MA Ceramics 2019 | Sion Hill to Locksbrook

Some images from the show at Sion Hill below.

There are two upcoming exhibitions of selected MA Degree Show work, in the new Locksbrook Gallery, curated by a team of MA Curatorial Practice students.

Friday 11 October – Sunday 20 October

Friday 25 October – Sunday 03 November

Opening events:

Friday 11 October | 6:00 – 9:00 pm

Friday 25 October | 6:00 – 9:00 pm

All welcome.



Amy_2Amy Daniels



Chuck_3Chen Li



Nicola_2Nicola Lidstone




Yixuan_4Yixuan Lu



Human Origami

Please see below from Professor Amanda Bayley – all MA students welcome.

Human OrigamiThe Folding Continuum of Human-Environmental Life

an introductory workshop and talk for staff , students & associates of the

Research Center for Environmental Humanities

& Creative Corporealities Research Group


Glenna Batson, ScD, PT, MA

visiting Fulbright Senior Specialist (USA)

Wednesday, 30th of October 2019 | 3 pm – 6 pm 

Newton Park Campus (Room tbc)


This workshop offers both a brief lecture on the origin of Batson’s creative process in developing Human Origami, and on its continuing fascination among bio-engineers, artists, architects, and ecologists. Where does human patterning belong in the pursuit of creative responses to deepening environmental concerns and crises? Human Origami is a form of improvisational movement based on the exploration of bodily folding. Folding is how we got here. It is our biological archive that exists deep within our consciousness as a rage for pattern making. From the origin of our embryonic form to the functional patterning of our bodies throughout life, folding emerges everywhere as a dynamic interface between the human and the non-human (material and natural) worlds.  Despite the artistry and ingenuity of Origami-based creations and applications, the human body does not fold like paper. What more can folding in the human body tell us? The processes underlying human bodily folding remain mysterious and unarticulated. Here, participants will have a chance to experience Human Origami and to raise questions around the human-environmental interface. Glenna will guide the group through a movement experience on folding, exploring this theme of interface. The movement structure is meditative. It is designed to heighten sensory awareness to the dimension of depth and texture that exists within this relationship between body and the surround. No movement training is necessary to participate. Discussion following the practice will focus on raising questions pertinent to current environmental queries.


Come join Glenna and deepen your appreciation for the eco-logic of the enfolded universe. All are welcome.

Collecting Craft at Holburne

Collecting Craft


Bath’s Holburne Museum is exhibiting silver, textiles, ceramics, furniture and glass from the personal collection of crafts’ patron Charmian Adams, celebrating the role of the collector in supporting makers.

This display highlights a lifetime of collecting contemporary crafts including the best of British silver, textiles, ceramics, furniture and glass. Including many well-known makers such as Edmund de Waal and Lucie Rie often with a particular focus on early-career works, the display is a celebration of commissioning and supporting emerging makers and of the outstanding work produced by generations of British craftspeople

Until 1 September at Holburne Museum, Bath.