When using slab to make pottery, Fiona enjoys thinking about the outcome being somewhat shaped by the process. The slab is rolled by hand, in a way that suits the projects in mind. Then almost all the slab is purposed into projects, minimising the amount of clay slab that has to go in the recycling bucket.
Fiona will demonstrate this hand building process through making a round bottle, a square bottle, some cups, and additional items from the scrap clay. Participants will then make their own versions following the demonstration.
If possible, participants should bring a basic pottery tool kit (sponge, cutting wire, wooden knife, wooden shark fin rib, steel rib, needle tool and trimming tools) and an old bank card.
Bisque firing of finished pieces can be arranged for an additional cost. Details will be available at the workshop.
Fiona holds degrees in Fine Arts and Design, and has taught in universities since her early twenties. She loves teaching as it allows her to work alongside artists as they seek to deepen their relationship to their own artistic practice and those around them.
In the past decade, Fiona has also developed a pottery practice focused on the production of wood fired domestic ware. The social dimension of her public artwork finds a quieter and more intimate set of relationships through this practice of making cups and bowls for eating and drinking together. She enjoys focusing on the details of how these vessels function (the thousands of ways the rim of a cup can be shaped for the lip to rest on) and their engagement with the body and the ways we use domestic objects. Shaping clay and vitrifying it through the heat of a wood fuelled fire is a process rooted in community, social history and the earth.
Fiona also has a long history of making artworks for public space using billboards, posters and banners to present text works that respond to the context or epoch in which they reside. She pieces together a fabric of references that inform the development of each body of work, and often invites participation, consultation and/or collaboration with people and groups. Within this aggregation of people, contexts and ideas, her projects reflect upon contemporary situations and the systems, ideologies and forms of resistance we use to shape and reshape them.
Fiona is currently acting head of the Elam school of Fine Arts.