This week has been really successful. The weekend gave me time to put together a refined model of my platter in the intended setting.
On Monday, I was surprisingly productive at bowl-making! I had already worked out during my test pieces that the ideal clay mass to work with for each bowl is 118g (plus/minus a gram or so), and managed to make 25 bowls in one day! The morning started off well, then the quality of bowl I was making dropped along with my concentration levels. After lunch, I was an absolute pro at bowl-making (I think I was just getting a bit hungry, earlier).
Tuesday was the perfect time to trim down the bases of the bowls. I had covered them overnight with plastic bags to prevent them from hardening too much, and most were at the leather-hard stage, which was ideal. Some breakages happened during my first few attempts, but I worked out the right angle to hold the knife at as I went along, so fewer were wasted. The reason I aimed to make at least 20 bowls on day 1 was anticipating breakages at each handling stage of the process, so I am glad to have had good insurance!
Wednesday was a research-based day; I got off the bus early and landed outside Yaadgaar, the Asian sweetshop on West Road. I bought a selection of Mithai and got some great photographs, then at college I used them to carry out some fun primary research! It was so interesting to hear what my peer group thought of these foreign foods, and I gained some valuable feedback from people who’ve never tasted Indian Mithai before. The most famous mithai, ‘Gulab Jamun’, were the most popular, there were some really positive responses from people who tried them. It was also interesting to know what people disliked about the other types, and why. (See the attached file for notes on the research). The general consensus was that mithai are very sweet, and would best be served in individual portions. This is good news, as it strengthens the idea behind my piece – I had only ever assumed people would want tiny portions, but know that to those who are accustomed to the sweetness and have grown up eating these served regularly, that might be different! It would be fascinating to carry out a really large public experiment and compare the taste buds of different categories of people.
Overall, the feedback allowed me to strengthen my concept and conjure a clearer image of the target audience, the food being served and the occasion – i.e. the setting and context for this design. This will help enormously in putting together the final presentation of my work.
I have been experimenting with spoon shapes – a nice addition to the piece might be matching spoons or forks, however, I don’t feel it is entirely in keeping with the theme due to the fact that mithai are generally ‘finger foods’ in India, and I quite like this idea; it makes it a bit less formal, inviting people to embrace a more childlike approach.
Thursday was productive in terms of design, drawings and sketchbook work. I worked on technical and scale drawings, and painted the bowls with red slip before being bisc-fired. They went into the kiln that evening, so I will glaze them on Monday and hopefully have them done by Wednesday next week. I will also be making the wooden platter with the CNC machine in the workshop next week. Over the weekend I will be mainly working in my sketchbook, and putting together the final presentation board and the Powerpoint to use on Thursday.