In winter of 2015 Ken Ford made the decision to halt the current project “Yellow Spectral Sun Living in the Window for the End of Time”. After 5 years the project had run it’s course and the window for the end of time had all but closed. After spending most of the 21st century involved in 2D practice it was time to return to ceramics full time. The pursuit of complex technologies in ceramics was no longer a priority and a decision was made to go back to basics and start again at the lowest firing technology available and work forward from there to re-invent his ceramic practice (again).
Living on country and having country as an integral informer of practice, noticing things while being a ‘man on the land’ is all part of a balanced craft. Things are noticed and filed away in memory to be utilised somewhere down the track. During periods of burning country Ken had noticed that a log lying on the ground actually produced a huge amount of heat in a localised environment around the log given suitable conditions. “You could fire a pot in that” was a thought that occurred from time to time. Ford considered that a burning log on the ground would be the lowest common denominator for the series of firing processes.
The “Secret Log Kiln” 2015 was the first of a series of Solstice Firings to take place over the next 5 years. Two logs lying side by side with a sheet of corrugated iron on top and a makeshift chimney at one end and a basic fire box at the other. “Thank God We’re Still Breathing – Fresh Mountain Air” was created. The firing took place on winter solstice 2015 with a select gathering of participants and started an ongoing schedule of events forKenFordCeramics.
Out of the Secret Log Kiln project came 2 ongoing themes that would surface in all the work produced since then: Riff Raff and Relics From the Future. With the tag line: “We are Craft People not Boat People”. The Log Kilncertainlyset in motion a renewed enthusiasm for clay making and ceramics, and the results were very encouraging, but a higher temperature would be desired for future firings.
A small cross draught kiln design acquired as a student at East Sydney Tech was simple to make and didn’t require very many bricks. It became, along with sawdust pit firing, the firing system used for over 2 years. It’s a wood fired kiln, perfect for the level of technology progression.
Relics From the Future – Let’s Clay with Fire II emerged as Winter Solstice event for 2016. About 20 firings in the wood fired cross draught and sawdust kilns took place through June that year. The Offering Bowl or Dish and small figurines were the main production along with experiments in dribbled slip formed objects of non specific function. The Star also appeared in the repertoire this time. (Initially slip trailed onto plaster and later coil built). The firing method was to woodfire to about 1100ºC with heavy reduction on racu glazes. (my stoneware glazes mixed 50/50 with borax) Selected pieces were then blackfired in the same kiln as a sawdust firing. Relics from the future had an archaeological quality referencing objects from a devastated future. Devastation Scapes were born.
During this time notions around the hierarchies and archetypes in association with the alchemy of ceramics and other art practices strengthened as themes in the work. Shards, objects of precarious or elusive function and objectified symbols made up a great deal of production output. Gatherings of objects and random juxtapositions formalised as sculpture. Sculpture with a huge philosophical content… A story was incubating. The process was the breeding ground for contemplation. Contemplation of a future at the crossroads… an entanglement of cultures in a Fibonacci spiral wormhole of evolution. We are 99.9999999% space and highly evolved biologic holographic fractal beings. The technology of nature is organised and unified. Explorations of the galaxy and beyond astound and inform a growingly outdated world view.
Solstice Dish/Disc 2017. Thinking about installation strategies was the original thought process from which the Solstice Dish came about and although the end result became a stand alone object it was the major effort for 2017. The project became an all encompassing holistic event during which a number of motifs, themes and understandings came about. The movie will be hot off the editing desk and still rather raw but the story is worthy of telling. The movie offers some life to a very ephemeral work. Detached on the space/memory continuum.
Swap & Go Rocket 2018 – 2019. A small gas kiln brought neutral and reduction firings at 1200ºC. Icons and non descriptor objects, slip trailed mono prints, pinch pots, riff raff, relics from the future, archetypal figures, good citizens, alchemy, copper red, gates, spirals, shards…….. Lardi Dhama. Reinventing… Natural Time…. Offering Bowl …… SPOON. … Harmony Stones.
2020 Electric Phase. On glaze finishes for Lardi Dhama Ware. The introduction of porcelain, ie Top Shelf in the hierarchy of practice. The original Lardi Dharma pieces in the “Valley of Symbols” works were repurposed from my 5D Tea and Coffee Service from the 90s. In 2020 new work emerged from the little electric top loader – run by generator.
In 2020 “Family Gatherings at the Waterhole” and “I Can’t Breath” series emerged as a major themes… going forward……..
Many works have an ephemeral existence in that installations are sometimes made for photo op art and then repurposed.
The major work for 2020 is this the exhibition Gatherings. The documentation of 5 years work and the presentation of that work in a digital format os the exhibition Gatherings. Ford has used the Gallery space as the workplace previously. HobArt Now finished with a gala closing night instead of the conventional opening night, The work was installed in the gallery as on ongoing installation in every sense of the word. Viewer participation became a n aspect of the exhibition. In a similar fashion Ford here in Gatherings uses the gallery space for the duration of it’s showing the kinetic Gathering of information/data as process. The major work of the exhibition is the installation. Thus a story will evolve over time that brings together the eclectic Cloister of Archetypes…
Hence not all the categories are active in the early days of this on line experience. New doors will open daily until the full story is told.