Year

2018

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

School of the Arts, English and Media

Abstract

This thesis considers the metamorphic impact of weathering in three forms: on British Neolithic artefacts, in nature, and in the analogous metamorphosis of my woodfired ceramic works. Within this thesis the key term 'artefact' is used to refer to objects intentionally made by people with a view to subsequent use. In thinking about metamorphosis, the thesis addresses the transformations and subsequent affective resonances of materials such as clay and stone. Secondly, the thesis considers how the studio practice of making can be understood through ideas of morphogenesis. In emphasising the manner in which studio practice is a process of ‘thinking through making’ and ‘making from the inside’, as well as ‘noticing what I notice’, I propose a new critical approach to materials that is based on an understanding of multiple interrelated ‘affective’ experiences. I use Tim Ingold’s term ‘meshwork’ to describe the entanglement of these experiences and their relationships to each other. Some notable characteristics of meshworks are: that they are emergent in character; that they consist of patterns and relationships that arise from within the process; and that they are not derived by rules. Meshworks embody randomness, fluidity, unpredictability and potential for synergy, and often produce metaphor. This practice-based exegesis establishes a proposition for an ‘affective meshwork’ which draws together the two key components of meshwork and affective response. Affective meshwork is suggested as an approach to understanding these complex experiences of materials in the world. The ceramic work made and submitted as a central part of this thesis is key to the expression, documentation, and experience of material ways of knowing.

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