Pandaji's Blog

Art, research, education


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Tourist Mugs


Here is a timeline of my tourist mugs and the London history that appears on them, celebrating the everchanging london skyline as seen from birds eye travelling from Greenwich in the east to Big Ben and the London Eye in the west, via the River Thames. I have been making these mugs since 1989,  including the rescue helicopter which has been flying from the top of the Royal london hospital since then.

My technique: red earthenware thrown, turned and handled, then dipped in white slip then sgraffito drawings of London skyline, underglaze colours and oxides, clear glazed and since 2012 i have sometimes been adding transfers.

1989

Docklands light railway

The docklands light railway (DLR) also had part of its route through Isle of Dogs to Greenwich, completed in 1987 the year I started my certificate in ceramics.

the docklands light railway (DLR) completed in 1987

the docklands light railway (DLR) completed in 1987

1991

The Canary Wharf Tower (known as One Canada Square)  was completed in August 1991.

 2000

Millenium Dome 

In 2000, the Millennium Dome (now known as the o2 ) was completed.

to celebrate the turn of the century 2000 the millenium dome (now o2) built on greenwich peninsula

to celebrate the turn of the century 2000 the millenium dome (now o2) built on greenwich peninsula

2004

The Gherkin 

the millenium dome was followed by  the gherkin (30 st mary axe) in 2003

the millenium dome was followed by the gherkin (30 st mary axe)
in 2003

2005

The Fourth Plinth

2005-2007

2005-2007

2005

The fourth plinth in trafalgar square began in 2005 with– a 3.6 metre (12 ft), 13-tonne Carrara marble torso-bust of Alison Lapper, an artist who was born with no arms and shortened legs due to a condition called phocomelia.

2010-2012

My mugs featured the work of Yinka Shonibare’s Ship in a Bottle, on fourth plinth between 2010-2012, now at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.

my mugs also feature the work of yinka shonibare’s Nelson's ship in a bottle now at the national maritime museum in greenwich. 2010-2012

my mugs featured the work of Yinka Shonibare’s Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle on fourth plinth between 2010-2012, now at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.

2013

The Shard

2012

From 2012 to date the skyline now includes the Shard, the Cheesegrater, and the Walkie Talkie, along with an influx of foxes at street level.

2014

The Cheesegrater 

made in 2013

made in 2013

Walkie Talkie

cupid and walkie talkie

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Tea Cup and Saucer: Synchronicity


The first two-week project at Wimbledon for the 3D design students who choose ceramics is always the tea cup and saucer. The students are required to visit the Richard Slee exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, From Utility to Futility.

Usually there are 12 -15 students, but this year with the loss of fashion as a subject and yet the same number of students overall, 30 students chose to try ceramics as their option for 3D design. This has meant that some students have to work in a room adjacent to the ceramic studio which cannot physically accommodate more than 15 students .

I asked my head of area if I could sit  in on the crit at the end of the first group to get a better understanding of what this entails. He agreed that I could observe only. Unlike the other subject areas, in the project timescale nothing gets fired or finished unless it is made with paper porcelain and/or raw glazed. Students have to present their work raw, and talk about how they might finish it if they had had more time. I was pleasantly surprised by one student who had made small tea bowls with leaf sprigs in terracotta clay, and said his influence was the Indian studio potter, Adil Writer.

In 2002 I attended a workshop run by Betty Woodman in India at Golden Bridge Pottery in Pondicherry, and had met Adil at this course. I had left the 1001 cups brochure in the studio which the student had picked up and from there googled Indian ceramic artists. The student spoke about the connection with India as where tea is grown, and also mentioned the unglazed quality of the chai cup.

I was thrilled to be able to have had this kind of feedback on inspiring the student, and would not have gathered this information had I not attended the crit. This turned out to be a very rewarding experience.

Grayson Perry discusses his impressions of Richard Slee from Victoria and Albert Museum on Vimeo.