Lily Bircham

Fine Art BA (Hons)

Exploring the universal significance and potential of meal sharing, especially as a time of bonding, through hand built ceramic vessels

About

Bircham is interested in the duality in ceramics – a material used in both ceremonial contexts and everyday activities. Creating hand-built vessels, she considers how these basic seeming activities are just as valuable and meaningful as any ‘grand’ event. Providing a meal, or even just a shared cup of coffee, can be strong catalyst for moments of connection, and often lead to strong memories being associated with these acts. 

The artist was inspired by the shapes and colours of ancient pots - using this connection to highlight that this is a universal concept – across time and culture. The ‘ornamental’ shapes also emphasise that our often disregarded daily rituals are in fact monumental. She also added hints of brighter colours and unusual shapes to give more fluidity, vibrancy and ‘personality’ to the vessels, as well as making sure they weren’t defined to one time period.  

Although the installation includes documentation of a meal that was shared using the featured ceramics, the pots were left empty – allowing audiences to imagine a meal for themselves. She chose to display these on a repurposed dining table with lighting from below, aiming to create a familiar and humble environment, whilst maintaining elements of grandeur.   

A selection of pots on a table, shown at eye level, in dim room. Pots lit from below with a warm glow. Pots decorated with beige speckled glaze and swirls of light blue and dark pink.

Installation View

Installation Close Ups

Individual Pot Close Ups

The next following images are documentation of a meal shared using my pots as vessels for the food. These images are the ones displayed in my installation.

The image is taken and eye level. Two pots are visible – they decorated with a orangey, beige speckled glaze, with sections of light blue and dark pink and some carvings. The smaller pot curves round the taller. A silver handle peeks out the top of the left. A bottle of red juice sits to the left, slightly in front of the taller pot. A white coffee cup sits to the left of this bottle. Vague coloured shapes are visible in the background, blurred. A hand reaches in from the right hand side.
Half of a pot is visible on the left of the photograph. Another pot sits in the bottom right hand corner, filled with red tulips and the green leaves of the tulip are also visible. This pot has a ring of light around it. In the middle of the frame there is a half a loaf of bread sitting on brown paper. It is being cut by a hand coming in the top of the frame holding a knife, a hand to the right of this holds the paper. A clear tub of yellow soup sits on the left below the bread.
Two pots are visible to the right – they decorated with a orangey, beige speckled glaze, with sections of light blue and dark pink and some carvings. The smaller pot curves round the taller. A silver handle peeks out the top of the left. A ¾ empty bottle of red juice sits to the left, slightly in front of and to the left of the taller pot. A bottle of balsamic vinegar is in front of the right hand side pot. A third pot sits in the bottom left hand corner, out of focus.
A dark brown table is photographed from slightly above. A figure sits at the top left. Their hand holds a half empty cup of red juice, sitting on the table. To the right of this is a clear, small tub of orange soup. In front of this is an empty paper plate and another red cup of juice sits to the right of this. Next to this is a pot. Some red tulips are visible at the top of this with green leaves. Peeking out behind this, to the left, is another white paper plate, with a black handled spoon.

Thanks for taking the time to view my work. I will have pieces for sale at the in-person degree show, however feel free to contact me with any queries or requests.

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