Thursday, 29 January 2015

PORTFOLIO - Day 5, Artists Challenge

The last day of the 5 day artists challenge... it's getting harder to choose as there are so many things that I'm having to miss out! I also haven't had room to include any of my drawings or paintings which is a shame, these are today's images: 

Image 1 - The Goveshy, this was a piece of work that I made for the Art Party Conference at Scarborough Spa on the 23rd November 2013. The busts of Michael Gove were made from an 'in-kind' donation of Wedgwood blue Jasperware clay. The piece was intended to reference the destruction that Michael Gove was making by intending to remove art from the Ebacc for schools. 

More on the Goveshy can be found at my website:

Karen Thompson - Goveshy, Ceramic & Wood

Image 2 is The Death of Sainsbury's, this is taken from my Trilogy of Death series. The series includes and was inspired by a copy of the Staffordshire pottery piece The Death of Munrow. I've made two contemporary companion pieces using the same elements as the original work, ie the man and tiger and I've re-arranged them to remark on contemporary social issues. The Death of Sainsbury's turns everything both metaphorically and literally on its head commenting on the simplicity of the food chain and the predominance of supermarkets within it.

More about the Trilogy of Death can be found on my website: 

Karen Thompson - The Death of Sainsbury's (ceramic and plastic). Photo: David Chalmers

Image 3 is a selection of my Tureen Heads, these are a series of Victorian Chaps inspired by the Victorian ceramics of phrenology heads and animal tureens. They are a simple play bringing both of these elements together to create a fun modern day twist for the contemporary dinner party, I imagine the response as the lid is removed to reveal a bowl of cauliflower florets or perhaps peas!

Karen Thompson - Tureen Heads (Ceramic), Photo: David Chalmers

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

PORTFOLIO - Day 4, Artists Challenge

Day 4 of the 5 day challenge: Image 1 is a work called sightseeing, it's a fun sculptural piece which has come about from pottering around in the studio, it's potclays crank which comes out a lovely soft pink when fired to very low temperatures, the figures are small scale plastic models used in architectural displays.

Karen Thompson - Sightseeing (ceramic & plastic).
Image 2 is of my Curious Curiosities Tiger Jars, these are a further response to the Death of Munrow, making a Staffordshire style storage jar for all of one's strange little curios that one collects... or is that just me! 

Karen Thompson - Curious Curiosities (ceramic).

Image 3 is a selection of pots, this is the beginnings of an ongoing exploration into surface design, these pots are from different time periods. This is an area which I keep dipping in and out of and hope to focus on a little more in depth in the future.

Karen Thompson - Selection of Pots (ceramic).

More of my ceramic works can be seen by clicking onto the link over to my ceramics page on my website:

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

PORTFOLIO - DAY 3, Artists Challenge

Day 3 of 5 day challenge to show three images of work a day brings three images taken from my Farm World project, this installation is a work in progress and its first incarnation was shown at Crescent Arts in Scarborough as part of my studio residency. Farm World concerns itself with the state of current farming practices. 
The first of today's 3 images is  'A Poultry Life', this is a mixed media Ceramic and metal work looking at the mass production of chickens, it subverts the historical ceramic Hen egg holder, de-beaking and then malforming the ceramic casts made from traditional moulds, the Hens are then re-presenting on metal shelves referencing a cross between supermarket shelves and battery cages.

Karen Thompson - A Poultry Life (Farm World).

Image 2 is 'The GM Reaper', this is my take on a contemporary grim reaper inspired by a set of children's toy farmers made from plastic. This piece is commenting on Genetically Modified crops and the potential hazardous outcome they may have. The reference to plastic suggesting how we are becoming more and more influenced by the artificial.

Karen Thompson - The GM Reaper (Farm World), Ceramic. Photo: David Chalmers.

The final image today is a preliminary drawing for a piece I have yet still to make in ceramic. It's called 'The Human Milk Cow' and is a response to the news that Chinese scientists have genetically modified cows to produce human milk to feed to infants. I've taken my inspiration for this piece from Staffordshire pottery as I see this era of pottery as very much a form of documenting social history. 

Karen Thompson - The Human Milk Cow (Farm World).

More images can be found for Farm World at my website

Monday, 26 January 2015

AA2A WORKSHOP - Fashion Students in the Art Gallery Stores

Spent Friday morning last week in York Art Gallery's ceramic stores with fashion students from York College, the Art Gallery have asked the students to respond to a large specific piece that they have in their contemporary collections. The Gallery & the College have also asked me to run two workshops with the fashion students in February to support this project... looking forward to working with and inspiring the fashion students! 

York College fashion students & York Museum Trust

responding to the ceramics 

@ York Art Gallery ceramic stores.

Karen Thompson in York Art Gallery ceramic stores.

PORTFOLIO - DAY 2, Artists challenge

Day 2 of the 5 day artists challenge... Today's theme is  slip cast multiples in porcelain. The first image is of one of my porcelain sandwiches made for York Curiouser in 2014. 300 of these sandwiches were left in five locations around the City of York, the Museum gardens, Treasure's House Gardens, St. Anthony's Gardens, Kings Manor and on the York Walls. 

Karen Thompson - Porcelain sandwich from York Curiouser, Ceramic, 2014

Image 2 is from my 'Fragile' installation, this was made up of 300 PMN-2 landmines which were installed on the lawn outside the Holburne Museum of Art in Bath. They were aligned to reference and  resemble a military cemetery.

Karen Thompson - Fragile, 2008. Holburne Museum of Art, Bath

The last image today is a site specific piece of work made for the Siobhan Davies Studios in London. Referencing Louise Fitzjames, a Ballerina predominant in mid 19th Century France whom was likened to a 'dancing asparagus in battle of the vegetables'. 'We Must Fit In' is made up of porcelain anorexic dancing asparagus fixed into the stage of a dining table. It's looking at the predominance of eating disorders with dance and the sad fact that one must look the correct shape to be even granted an audition. 

Karen Thompson - We Must Fit In, 2010. Siobhan Davies Studios, London.

For more images on either of the three projects, link to my website:

Sunday, 25 January 2015

PORTFOLIO - DAY 1, Artists challenge

I have been nominated by a couple of artists on Facebook to take part in the 5 days artists challenge. This is where I share 3 images of my works every day for 5 days... I thought that I would also extend these images to my blog and twitter account. So here goes, 

Day 1, I'm sharing an image of a piece of mixed media work I created in 2007 called 'Clicking With You', this was looking at my then current fascination with internet relationships and especially online dating. I was struck by the thought that people could engage in really intense relationships with folks they had never met and that sometimes the only tactile element of that relationship was in essence with the computer keyboard, a rather stale bit of lifeless plastic. 

Karen Thompson - Clicking With You, 2007

Image two is a piece entitled 'Retro Keyboard'. This is a simple comment on the 
historical use of ceramics for recording and documenting information.

Karen Thompson - Retro Keyboard, 2008

The third image is of 'Cuneiform Tablet, ca.2007, Language Qwerty'. This is the partner piece to the Retro Keyboard. Again I'm looking at the use of ceramics as a document for recording history and information. Most of our libraries were set up with the information contained on cuneiform tablets. This piece plays with the idea that historically reads were pushed into clay tablets to create hieroglyphics of information, whereas today we push a key into the keyboard to record information. For this piece I took the keys from the keyboard and pushed the underside of the computer keys into a slab of clay to create a form of modern day hieroglyphic. I sawdust fired the final piece creating a low fired modern day Cuneiform Tablet. 

Karen Thompson - Cuneiform Tablet, ca .2007,  Language Qwerty.

All three of these works were exhibited at the Holburne Museum of Art in Bath in June 2008 as part of my degree show. The installation also included the pieces, 'Meltdown', 'Tactile Keyboard' and 'Qwerty Morse Code'. More images can be seen on my website...

Sunday, 18 January 2015

OUT & ABOUT - Goodbye 12 Bar Club... end of an era

A very sad week which sees the demise of the 12 Bar Club on London's Denmark Street. I spent most of my 20's in and around that venue and am very sorry to hear of it's enforced closure to make way for the new Crossrail redevelopment. I've had the great pleasure of meeting many amazing folks through the club, from the numerous monthly Cushy Productions events that my good friend Suzanne Rhatigan organised and sang at - to my time volunteering for Resonance FM when it first started out on Denmark Street. 

The nomadic panther returns...

Some of my favourite one off gigs there over the years have been the very packed Joanna Newsom gig, the not so packed secret Martha Wainwright gig, James Yorkston, the Rivulets, Elani Mandell to name a few... and some of the regulars whom I have seen grace the very wee stage time and time again and whom I have very fond memories of are... it goes without saying Rhatigan and the extended posse, Michael J Sheehy, Emma Tricca, Vince McGann....What a treat to be able to spend endless years blagging in for free and hanging out with some of the most amazing musicians from around the world... oh, and the incredible Andy Lowe, promoter extraordinaire... You will be sadly missed 12 Bar Club & Denmark Street! 

Joanna Newsom & 12 Bar Club Management, 2004. Photo: Karen Thompson.