During a research residency at the V&A in 2009/10 I was drawn repeatedly to the the museum's extensive collection of ceramic shards, attracted by their incompleteness, and the way that a viewer might re-invent and re-imagine them into a vessel or a sculpture. This idea was developed in the project 'Excavate' at the British Ceramics Biennial in 2013, which was awarded one of the BCB 'Explore' research residency awards.
The project took the form of a performative archaeological dig on the site of the Spode factory in Stoke-on-Trent, which unfolded over the six weeks of the festival. Working with a multi-disciplinary team of student volunteers from Manchester School of Art, 'Excavate' combined factual archaeology with fictional findings. As the project developed, an installation of bone china plates was gradually populated with illustrations of the excavated shards. The project culminated in the excavation, restoration and display of an imagined historical object, 'Josiah Spode’s violin?'.
Photos: Tony Richards.
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