Our marvellous filmmaker Emma Crouch has produced a new film which encompasses all the elements and achievements of the Bow Porcelain project. This short documentary draws together the threads of the project including the artist residencies and research visits to Newham Archives and interviews with ceramics experts at the V&A. It also highlights events and activities such as the opening of Made in Bow at the Nunnery Gallery, workshops with pupils at Park Primary School and talks, walks and workshops devised by each of the Bow Porcelain artists. Through being an integral part of the project from the beginning, and being engaged in the events she is documenting Emma has produced a film which is gives a great overview of the Bow Porcelain project, and makes an inspiring watch!
On Saturday 20 July I joined a group of intrepid Bow explorers on a guided walk and cyanotype workshop with Bow Porcelain artist Felicity Hammond. We began with a quick coffee in the Carmelite Cafe and an introduction to the Made in Bow exhibition, Felicity’s research and production process behind the works on display.
Felicity explained her practice of creating a digital image to capture change through collaging moments of time in the re- shaping of a landscape. She also described how the Bow Porcelain project drew her to the history of Thomas Frye’s factory. There is very little documentation of this building, and for Made in Bow Felicity collaged a much broader timescape than has been her habit- including imagined references to this factory in the mid 1700s, warehouses built in the eighteenth century and present- day re- developments.
We then left the gallery as it began to brighten up and crossed the hectic Bow roundabout, down Statford High Street past the Thomas Frye Court development of new flats (above, which Felicity pretended to be a potential buyer to gain entry to and document the foorplan and view from the flats) to Marshgate Lane and the site of the original Bow Porcelain factory.
We then walked to Pudding Mill Lane DLR station (which was tricky as the whole of this area which was massively redeveloped last year for the Olympics is now a giant building site as part of the Crossrail project, and the original planned route by the river no longer accessible to the public) and up the bank on the other side to the Greenway.
Here, in the blazing sunshine we made drawings of our surroundings with marker pens on acetate and collected found objects and flora. These lines and objects were used to block the light passing on to our piece of cyanotype paper and created intricate, delicate and immediate prints.
These were carried carefully back to the gallery where they were washed and left out to dry and develop.
As Felicity had explained this is a similar process as that used to create architectural plans for new buildings and seemed a fitting response to both the degree of change in the landscape and Felicity’s interest in the history of the fabled chinoiserie style factory.
We all had a great day in, and outdoors engaging with history, stories and learning a new process to document a contemporary view from the site of original Bow Porcelain production.
Kateri Foreman, Masters Student at Kings College and Gallery Intern at the Nunnery Gallery recently visited Pallant House Gallery to see an exhibition created around Bow Porcelain works in their collection. Her post below gives us a taste of her experience, and an insight into the surprising links between Bow and Chichester:
Putting on the Made in Bow exhibit was a big task for us at The Nunnery. It required a lot of research, planning, and a growing love and appreciation for Bow porcelain by many individuals. So it was a very pleasant surprise to discover that the renowned Pallant House Gallery in Chichester not only had an extensive collection of Bow porcelain, but that it was also being displayed in a new exhibit. A few weeks back, I was able to head up to Chichester and see the gallery for myself.
I met with Emma Robertson, Head of Communications, who was able to give me some interesting background on the exhibit and history of Pallant House. Contemporary artist Bouke De Vries was commissioned to construct the exhibit, Bow Selector. It first went on display last July to mark the 300th anniversary of the original townhouses that were converted to become part of the Pallant House Gallery.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect of the size and scale of De Vries’ work, knowing only that it was ‘in the stairway’. But this is not just any stairway. The dark wood carved staircase is a beautiful, imposing work in its own right. Looking up from the bottom of the stairs, the display was almost lost amongst the grandeur. The porcelain is mounted on large panels, which are hung on the walls of the staircase. De Vries was inspired by interior designer Daniel Marot’s ceramic displays, which were renowned in the 1700s. It was amazing to see such a large collection of porcelain displayed so closely together – and precariously! It really made evident just how much porcelain was produced at Bow in such a short time. The top landing offered the best view of the collection and I was able to spot some pieces very similar to those being shown at The Nunnery. It was like “I Spy” for the artfully inclined.
What really set the exhibit apart was the new work that De Vries created alongside the hung display. Almost tucked away at the bottom of the stairway, under a large glass dome is ‘Still Life with Bow Teapot’. Made from fragments of a broken Bow teapot, De Vries has skillfully and delicately repurposed an item that seemingly lost its value. Bow Selector, like Made in Bow, is an intriguing juxtaposition of the historical and contemporary, forging connections between the two. As someone who never gave porcelain more than a passing glance, my work with Made in Bow and visit to Pallant House has taught me that it really is worthy of a second look.
If you are in Chichester or fancy a trip up to this lovely town and gallery, Pallant House Gallery will be hosting an artist talk with Bouke De Vries on Thursday July 18th. For more information and to book tickets, go to:
Bow Selector will be on display until Autumn 2013. For more information on the exhibition visit:
Bow Porcelain artist Felicity Hammond has been planning a workshop for the public involving looking, walking and making outdoors.
Felicity Hammond, Thomas Frye Court, 2013, Cyanotype
Anyone who has seen Felicity’s beautiful cyanotype print in the Made in Bow exhibition will be familiar with her cyanotype print which encapsulates images of the site of the Bow Porcelain factory then (1740’s- 60’s) and now (2013). This detailed image Thomas Frye Court is constructed with the juxtaposition of imagery depicting our aspirational aesthetic- at the time of the factory mythical oriental landscapes, and in our present day a new development of flats. The overall style of the print alludes to the decoration of Bow Porcelain plates produced in the factory. Yet here, as well as depictions of oriental- style countryside we have construction sites, and in place of a fine brushwork pattern we have arrangements of scaffolding poles.
In this, and her previous work Felicity has developed a practice of layering visual records and producing a summary image of of time passing in a particular place. She is now offering to share this process with everyone booked onto her workshop on 20th July. The session begins at the Nunnery with a tour of the Made in Bow exhibition and the group will then journey outdoors to a spot near to the site of the original factory. Here the group will all make their own visual recording of an object found at hand, using sunlight to expose cyanotype paper and truly capture the moment. The group will then return to the Gallery to wash out and reveal their print, and then are free to take it home.
More information on the event below:
Join Made in Bow artist Felicity Hammond in a two hour session and experience for yourself the places and processes which inspired her work.
Felicity has a background in producing large- scale digital prints which have been manually collaged, layering moments of time into one believable image. For the Made in Bow exhibition, Felicity chose to work in cyanotypes as a response to her research into the architectural plans of the original Bow Porcelain factory, and the colour palette of wares produced. Cyanotype is a photographic printing process that gives a cyan-blue print, and is used in engineering to produce blue- prints.
This workshop will begin at 3pm with an informal introduction to the Made in Bow exhibition. Felicity will talk through her research and work she created inspired by her interest in the physical site and history of the Bow Porcelain factory.
The second part of the session will take place outdoors. After the introduction, Felicity will lead you to the site of the original Bow Porcelain factory and along the way explain the photographic techniques she uses as part of her image- making process.
You will have the opportunity to create your own cyanotypes! Felicity will first explain how to create prints using objects or images, exposing them using sunlight onto specially prepared paper. You can spend about half an hour making your own ‘blue- print’ with cyanotype paper provided.
Felicity will lead you back to The Nunnery where you will have enough time to develop the paper, reveal and discuss the results.
To book, visit here:
For more information on Felicity’s work please visit:
During the research and planning stage of the Made In Bow project, Rosamond Murdoch, Nunnery Gallery Director, met with Hilary Young, who is the Senior Curator for Ceramics and Glass at the Victoria & Albert Museum. Not only did Hilary provide invaluable insight to Bow Porcelain, he also submitted an essay on Bow Porcelain, which was used in the Made In Bow exhibition pamphlet.
As part of the documentation of the Made In Bow project, three artist films were made by filmmaker Emma Crouch, profiling Mathew Weir, Lizzie Cannon and Felicity Hammond. In addition to this, the various aspects of the Made In Bow project have continued to be documented throughout the project. As part of this, Hilary kindly agreed to be interviewed by Emma and talk more in depth about Bow Porcelain whilst showing some of the pieces in the vast collection at the V&A. Subjects covered in the interview included why Bow Porcelain is important to the developments in ceramics, who were the artists working in the factory, and the kinds of people who owned Bow Porcelain. In fact, there was so much fascinating information discussed, that it was decided there was enough to make a short film of just his interview, which you can watch below.
On Monday I met with Lizzie Cannon, Made in Bow artist, Dr Bryson Gore and Rosamond Murdoch, Director of the Nunnery. We visited the Carmelite Cafe and Nunnery gallery space to plan an evening event which will take place on Thursday 04 July which is being shaped by Lizzie and Bryson through their shared wonder in the behaviour of materials.
Dr Bryson Gore is a scientist who has spent the past 25 years as a Science communicator, delivering demonstration lectures in schools and developing science experiments for TV. Bryson currently has the amazing position of Inventor- in- Residence at a Lab 13 project in Nottingham.
Lab 13 projects are designed to be a space where young people can explore through their natural curiosity. Based in a school, but entirely managed by young people, and with an inventor, engineer or scientist in residence, the idea of Lab 13 is based on the world famous Room 13 art studio in Fort William, Scotland.
Lizzie Cannon is a Bow Arts artist and as part of the Bow Porcelain project was commissioned to make new work for the Made in Bow exhibition. Through interviewing her earlier in the project I was aware that she graduated from Goldsmiths in textiles. Through conversations with Bryson about the wear and decay of natural substances (specifically the ingredients in clay) it also came about that Lizzie previously studied physical Geography. Althugh quite a contrast to textiles or fine art in a way I was not surprised to hear this, as she has such a strong interest in growth and decay. Lizzie creates beautiful and believable combinations of found and made objects and through this her work explores the symbiotic relationship between industrial and natural.
What both Bryson and Lizzie know is that in nature all is not exacty as it seems. When you try to manipulate materials they can do surprising and unpredictable things. Each of them, in their own ways have carried out enough experiments to understand why Thomas Frye had so many attempts to define the exact proportions of ingredients for porcelain and why it took two patents and four years to get the recipe right.
Bryson, with his strong interest in the science inherent in many of the traditional crafts such as ceramics will enlighten us with what is actually going on when clay is mixed, and what changes when this mix of particles is placed in a kiln. He will also invite us to join him in one of his favourite demonstrations, which involves turning one of the two main ingredients in porcelain clay into liquid using sound in a high spirited spectacle.
This event will involve some key ingredients: an introduction to Lizzie’s previous practice with materials and why she wanted to use porcelain for the first time, live experiments unveiling what is actually going on when we make porcelain, and links to Bow Porcelain production and its eventual demise. It is an invitation to join in both practical demonstrations and discussion. Inspired by Lizzie’s interest in alchemy I am sure it will ignite ours!
7.00pm short introduction to the Made in Bow exhibition and presentation of Lizzie Cannon’s work.
7.15pm Bryson Gore will lead a 30 minute practical demonstration of the properties of porcelain, involving transforming clay into a liquid using sound.
7.45pm Lizzie and Bryson will then lead a 30 minute informal discussion around alchemy, wonder and the behaviour of materials.
For more information or to book, go to:
As with all exhibitions, it is very important for both the artists and the organisation to have a high quality record of the artwork and the way it was displayed in the space. Even with a touring exhibition which will be repeated, it will be formatted differently in each new venue and reconfigure visual connections between artworks.
Made in Bow is a one- off, and this exhibition including original Bow Porcelain wares alongside Bow artists’ works will not be seen again so is was essential to document it thoroughly.
In our case we were lucky enough to have artist/ photographer Felicity Hammond as one of the commissioned artists who kindly offered to photograph the installation of the exhibition in The Nunnery. Below are some of her shots.
Mezzotints of Thomas Frye and Bow Porcelain wares from Newham Archive, Shrine Mathew Weir 2009 Plaster, acrylic paint, acrylic varnish Courtesy of Alison Jacques Gallery. Image: Felicity Hammond
The Lake, Mathew Weir, 2007-8 oil on canvas, mounted on board. Courtesy of Cyril Taylor, Untitled 1-3, Lizzie Cannon, 2013, Porcelain body paper clay, copper pipes, copper filler, plaster, bees wax. Corrosian- study with beads, Lizzie Cannon, 2013, Found object, beads, embroidery,silk. Image: Felicity Hammond
Shrine, Mathew Weir, 2009, Plaster, acrylic paint, acrylic varnish. Courtesy of Alison Jacques Gallery. Image: Felicity Hammond
Untitled 2,Lizzie Cannon, 2013, Porcelain body paper clay, copper pipes, copper filler, plaster, bees wax. Image: Felicity Hammond
Thomas Frye Court, Felicity Hammond, 2013, Cyanotype. Image: Felicity Hammond
A re- appropriation of exotic house plants into the Stratford landscape, Felicity Hammond, 2013, C- Type prints. Image: Felicity Hammond
This is just a glimpse of the works and information on display. To experience more of the artists’ works, the Bow Porcelain wares and short films documenting the project come along to The Nunnery, 181 Bow Road, London E3 2SJ. Made in Bow is open until Tues – Sun 10am – 5pm until Saturday, July 27.