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Retrospection and prodigy: a studio research project incorporating memory and childhood as a construct for generating new ceramic sculpture

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posted on 22.02.2019, 03:42 by Baharom, Mohd Khairi
This research paper investigates my childhood, the notion of play expressed in self-made toys and their relationship to my sculptural practice. My studio research has been engaged in forming object-based ceramic works that form a series of hand-built artworks. Another aspect embedded in the studio research was to examine the relationships between ancient ceramic history and customs alongside select contemporary practitioners. My paper also investigates civilizations that created ceramic objects and how I consider these traditions when making sculptures. My process stems from my engagement with childhood memories, in my homeland, as a basis to identify themes of my research project. These ideas integrate my family background, the community I was raised in, happiness and creativity. In identifying symbols surrounding these characteristics throughout my investigation, I have focused on games and toys emanating from a particular time of my childhood. My studio research, the creation of ceramic sculptures that have permanent material qualities, has been a personal pursuit, in an attempt to understand my own cultural origins combine with childhood memory. This aim has required me to travel back to my hometown of Kampung Baru, Jitra, Kedah, in Malaysia. The journey allowed me to contemplate my past, document my surroundings and re-experience the process of fabricating self-made toys. Through identification and selection of such objects, studio research and a number of technical strategies implemented such as: material investigations, prototype studies, kiln tests and surface treatments − were all examined as a basis in for producing sculptural forms. This document is divided into five segments. The first Chapter highlights childhood experiences including play and resourcefulness. The second Chapter explores types of toys and games in childhood. Chapter Three focuses on sculptural elements and influences from various prominent artists. In Chapter Four, studio methodologies are examined using clay-slip and absorbent materials. Chapter Five expands on conceptual approaches to ceramic sculpture as relevant to this thesis. The studio research distinguishes itself from the production of other contemporary ceramic sculptors through adopting a hybrid approach of using clay and fabric as a vehicle for driving innovation and expression. And, by incorporating my cultural background and memories of childhood and those objects significant to me, this thesis brings together a personal artistic case-study that highlights my journey of discovery, contemplation and creative engagement.


Campus location


Principal supervisor

Dan Wollmering

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Fine Art


Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Type



Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture