J Kay Aplin – Architectural Ceramics
My work would not be possible without the help of many volunteers who generously donate their time and creative curiosity to help me achieve my very ambitious goals.
Typically, I design large-scale pieces that cover walls, floors and often sculptural, free-standing structures.Working with clay is very labour intensive, with many processes and stages, and it is also highly unpredictable; there is always the fear of the end result failing due to the fragile nature of the material. Due to the time required, the only way I can achieve some of my larger, more ambitious designs is to engage volunteers to work with me in the studio.
I first started working with volunteers and assistants in 2008 on a public commission for Llanbradach, South Wales, which consisted of two 5m high towers clad with over 2000 press-moulded, hand-painted tiles. Since then, I have worked with helpers in the making of The Ceramic House and on many other projects and commissions. I teach my helpers all the processes involved in producing and occasionally installing work. Techniques include: tile making, slab rolling, press-moulding, slip- casting, decorating with oxides and underglazes, glazing, firing, using kilns, recycling clay, occasionally working with mosaic and other materials. I also offer opportunities to assist in preparing for exhibitions, e.g. at The Ceramic House. This involves handling work, hanging the show, interpretation, interfacing with the public and helping run events such as performance nights. Assistants can also help in events such as fairs. The feedback I get is always very positive. Everyone enjoys working in a fun, intensive, collaborative atmosphere which I ensure is inviting and friendly. I always provide refreshments/lunches and can cover travel expenses.
If you are interested in volunteering and learning about all the processes and techniques involved in working with clay on large-scale site-specific projects, please send me your CV and contact details.