Jon Williams Pottery

Archive for Research

Jack & Jill

jack & Jill nursery rhyme inspiration for ceramic art work in HerefordI have been contemplating short, relevant and instantly recognisable tunes to encourage Museum visitors to interact with the work. Mainly for the interpretation – “See if you can play…..” that kind of thing.

We have 10 green bottles for the Cider Museum, Oranges & Lemons for Coningsby Medeival Museum and I proposed ‘Row row row your boat’ for the waterworks. When I mooted the idea with Museum director Noel and he came back with a much more suitable suggestion – this is what he had to say:

“The nursery rhyme tune we associate with the Museum is Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pale of water; Jack fell down and broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after.

This rhyme is most especially apt in these circumstances as the rhyme is thought to be an account of King Charles I’s attempt to reform the tax on liquid measures. When Parliament rejected his suggestion, he instead made sure that the volume was reduced on half- and quarter-pints, known as jacks and gills, respectively. This fits perfectly with your pots!”

Couldn’t agree more Noel!

Sounds from the basement…

Arts Council project by Jon Williams recording 10 green bottles at the Cider Museum in HerefordGot myself a digital sound recorder and spent an afternoon deep in the bowels of the Cider Museum attempting to record ’10 green bottles’ on, you guessed it, ten green bottles! So quiet down there in the basement.

Measured to be made

Andrew Findlay measure's giant pottery apples designed by ceramic artist Jon WilliamsArtist blacksmith Andrew Findlay popped in today to measure each of the fired apples for their bespoke bronze core and leaf.

 

10 green bottles…

Experimening with musical notes with partially water filled glass bottles…..hanging on the wall – well, standing on a picnic bench actually!

Managed to get a tune out of x6, just a tad annoyed I didn’t have another two bottles to get the whole range of notes needed for 10 green bottles.

Trial & error…lots of error!

Potter's wheel failed experiments by artist Jon WilliamsI thought it would be a doddle making the final sections for the apples yesterday – how wrong was I!? Even though I have well over 20 years of making things on the potter’s wheel, it took me a couple of hours to suss out the technique without the clay warping and collapsing. New shapes – new ways of working!

Oranges and Lemons

I’ve been sketching bell shapes (upside down cooking pots!) – seem to be a good fit for the Coningsby Medieval museum. I found this little paragraph online:

As both antiquarian and more recent studies have noted, bells played a central role in medieval Christianity. The history and meanings of church bells are more complex than often assumed. Drawing on a mixture of archaeological and textual material, the article demonstrates that a variety of types of bell—and indeed other signaling devices—were found in early medieval Christianity, and argues that the social and spiritual meanings of bells, whilst in some aspects determined by liturgical texts of the eleventh century, could also vary markedly depending upon the context, use, and reception of their sound. A bell calling a community to prayer was thus not simply “marking” the hours; it was summoning and producing the spiritual community, and its voice could be contested and even on occasion rejected!

Oranges and lemons,
Say the bells of St. Clement’s.

You owe me five farthings,
Say the bells of St. Martin’s.

When will you pay me?
Say the bells of Old Bailey.

When I grow rich,
Say the bells of Shoreditch.

When will that be?
Say the bells of Stepney.

I do not know,
Says the great bell of Bow

Here comes a candle to light you to bed,
And here comes a chopper to chop off your head!

Apple keyboard and Cider meeting

Clay apple prototypes for Hereford Cider Museum art installation.Brilliant day at the Cider Museum in Hereford yesterday. Margaret and her staff have been so accommodating and generous with their time, expertise and Museum artifacts.

I took the opportunity to show her some oversized clay apple prototypes, which, if all goes to plan will become an interactive keyboard for visitors to touch – each apple emitting a different note.

Coningsby Museum

Interactive art installation to reside in the fire place at Coningsby Museum HerefordHad a brilliant meeting with John at Coningsby Museum (the place with a skeleton under the floor) to decide exactly where the art work would be installed. He’s only gone and offered me the giant fireplace in the main room of the Museum!!

I’m awash with creative solutions to best fill the space, just a case of distilling some of them into prototypes.

Giant cider vats

I’d love to make some gigantic pots inspired by and on the same scale as these magnificent wooden vats that reside at Hereford’s Cider Museum.

giant cider vats in the basement at Hereford Cider MuseumIf I did decide to have a crack at making something on this scale then probably will end up attempting to coil as I don’t think my throwing skills are sufficiently developed!?…and then there’s the whole issue of firing such a large piece…definately would need to be made else where with access to a large enough kiln to accommodate.

Anybody got any ideas?

A frothing good time

Great to finaly take delivery of my IKEA PRODUKT milk frother, although I’m using it in a fashion the manufacturers may never have even dreamed of! Great little device with all kinds of applications for crazy potter artist types wanting a powered kinetic effect.