The Grantchester Pottery
The Grantchester Pottery (TGP) is the title of a collaborative project by artists Giles Round and Phil Root, which experiments with different ways of working with other artists and makers. TGP is often described as a contemporary design or craft company, akin to Roger Fry’s Omega Workshop – for which Fry commissioned the Bloomsbury Group artists, writers and philosophers to create graphics, ceramics and other design outputs. This was to level the hierarchy between fine and decorative arts, and eliminate the desire for individual artistic authorship – as works were shown anonymously only under the imprint of the group. TGP operates and produces work in a similar way; however, TGP can be also considered a meta-structure – an overarching system that can encompass anything within its conceptual walls – and so functions as a conceptual art work in its own right.
As part of TGP’s Ceramics Fellowship, Giles Round, Phil Root and writer Kathy Noble took ikebana classes with specialist Keiko Huby. Keiko explained that ikebana – the Japanese practice of flower arranging, derived from Shinto and Buddhist traditions – is as much about the space in between the elements, as it is about the flowers and branches. When practicing ikebana, one must not think about filling the space, but instead, allow the breeze to blow through.
The following script was written as a response to this experience, and will feature in a film made by TGP as a culmination of their residency. It collages words and phrases from sets of personal letters and emails between Kathy Acker and McKenzie Wark, Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville West, and Kathy Noble’s own personal exchanges.