Sunday, 28th March welcomed Jim Robison, a well known and respected ceramic artist of many private and public works. The attendance at the seminar was a measure of the respect in which he is held. There was an excellent turnout, including a number of visitors.
It was a great day for learning new techniques and confirming known ones, collecting new ideas and suggestions and generally getting inspired! A slide show with commentary by an obviously knowledgeable but modest and entertaining raconteur introduced us to the artist Jim Robison. Jim also showed us some of his work in progress and completed works, many of them public sculptures photographed in situ.
Jim works with large slabs on hand built pieces: colouring with slips and sprayed on glazes and firing only once. As he said, if a piece is large and heavy, one wants to move it as little as possible! We saw some huge sculpted plaques on buildings, exciting tile sculptures and such things as enormous flower-pots (these brightly coloured in themselves, looked fantastic when filled with flowers in full bloom). He talked of methods of strengthening public works, and how they were conceived and executed; this included how to strengthen flat pieces or flattish pieces to stop them warping in the kiln, and of extruded rims and bases to add strength to these areas.
An intriguing demonstration of his methods of making and preparing his slabs for use followed. A variety of implements (items from the kitchen were much favoured), fabrics and found objects are used to mark and pattern slabs. Jim's favoured design being in bands from bottom to top, finished with coloured slips, that are brushed on to give the design structure. The slabs are slapped about to create some interesting and speedy results.
After lunch it was our turn to have a go with a varying degree of success (or not) we all enjoyed trying out the huge selection of pattern making equipment which Jim had brought along. I am sure there were many of us who coveted some of the items, not to mention the "treasure holding" moulds which he had brought back fro a visit to the States. A terrific day, which we al enjoyed greatly and left with ideas and thoughts bubbling in our heads! Many thanks to Jim Robison.