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The Comedy of Errors

Art Works: Kit Anderson

28 November 14 words: Kit Anderson

A local artist reveals all her secrets of fusing her photographs onto ceramics...

Glenkiln Cross is a ceramic piece bearing a photograph of a Henry Moore sculpture at Glenkiln, Dumfries and Galloway that I took in 2010. A local farmer collected modern British sculptures and placed them on his land, which now form a trail. I love the way the tree and cross are silhouetted against the sky and the grass is shown against the stone wall, I particularly like how the blues and greens capture the essence of the place. The clay was impressed with twigs and the surface was built up with coloured clay slips.

Each piece starts with a photograph. I love photographing things around me and the contemporary ceramics I make are decorated with my own or archival photographs. The images are exposed directly on to the ceramic surface with an old photographic process called gum bichromate. After the clay has been bisque-fired, I coat the surface with a mixture of gum, ceramic colouring oxides and a light-sensitive chemical called potassium dichromate. When the surface dries, I place a negative on top and expose the whole piece to light, making the mixture go hard. I then wash it in water and brush the surface to lift off unhardened areas, revealing the photographic image, which I fire to fix permanently.

Ceramics can’t be hurried. Whether it’s a plaque, planter or necklace, the pieces must dry before they are bisque-fired from clay into ceramic. I choose images that work best according to the shape of the piece. The second firing alters the work and I’m never certain how they’ll come out, but it’s part of the fun – each piece is different, even when I’ve used the same negative.

I have work in many local galleries including Focus Gallery and Debbie Bryan Studio and Shop. This year my work has also been shown in two publications: Paul Scott’s Ceramics and Print and Jill Enfield’s Alternative Photography Processes. I am a ‘fellow’ member of Design Factory and have been exhibiting both nationally and in Germany at Eunique, a major European art and design fair, as part of Creative Twinning, a project between Nottingham and our twin city of Karlsruhe, Germany. I’m also an instructor and tutor at Central College Nottingham.

Kit Anderson’s work will be at Sherwood Christmas Craft Fair, The Place, Mansfield Road, Sunday 9 November; Lustre, Lakeside, University Boulevard, Friday 14 – Sunday 16 November; Gedling Artists Christmas Fair, Woodborough Village Hall, Saturday 22 November; and Craft in the City at Waterstones Saturday 6 – Sunday 7 December.

Foto Ceramica website

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