7 -06/02/16 Process


I'm not quite sure where this idea of marbles came from but anyway, marbles 
reference childhood and the integrity of one's mental health.

                             " Losing one's marbles "

I am proposing to use them to make flat surfaces on furniture irregular and 

I could just roll small balls of clay but solid objects are at risk of exploding 
in the kiln. I had to think of a way of making them somewhat hollow. Rolling 
balls and then hollowing them out would be tricky and time consuming considering 
the number I may require for a flat surface on a piece of furniture. It would also be very difficult to retain the spherical shape whilst hollowing them out. If 
left to dry and then hollowed out,  a great deal of dust would occur and 
breathing in clay dust is hazardous. I have not yet purchased a mask to reduce 
the risk to health but I plan to. 

I considered using an actual marble and wrapping the clay around it but it would 
be impossible to remove the marble once the clay had dried. Sarah and I discussed how I could create or buy a mould for the purpose. 

As funds are tight and this is experimental and may not be worth pursuing, I had 
the idea of moulding the clay around compact paper balls which would not have to 
be removed before firing in the kiln as they would just burn away. 
A conversation with Alisha led me to make small paper balls using damp newspaper. 
Through trial and error I worked out that by cutting a sheet of newspaper into 
eighths I could make balls similar to the size of a marble. They're slightly 
bigger but one has to take into account the shrinkage that occurs as clay dries. 


To get balls of a similar size I use a 
measuring spoon.


I poke a hole in the ball being careful not to push all the way through. 


Using the tool and my thumb and forefinger I
 work the clay as if I am making a tiny 
pinch pot.


I stop manipulating the clay when the hole 
is large enough to fit the paper ball 


Pop the paper ball inside the clay "pot". 
Roll the whole thing between the palms 
of the hands until the clay almost joins 
to form a sphere. 


They look like stuffed olives. The hole in the clay will hopefully prevent them 
exploding in the kiln but I also like the way it looks and helps to communicate 
the language of fragility, imperfection, uniqueness, something incomplete.
I have noticed that I often repeat the aesthetic of fragility in the things I 
As a whole, the ball, both in itself and the manner in which it is constructed,   speaks to me of nurture and repetition, something organic, yonic, feminine, egg 
or seed like.
Just as the objects I hoard become precious to me, so have these because I spent 
time making them. 
I think I will feel quite sad if these don't make it all the way through 
the firing process. 

I have also been working on making some moulds of dolls to create a 3D 
effect in otherwise flat sheets of clay which I plan to drape over the seats of 



James Oliver That’s a work of art right there.

 Toni Wallace A self portrait?
 James Oliver Being in the line of work I’m in and knowing depression/anxiety as I do I think this image is a marvellous illustration of…
 Toni Wallace Thank you. Interesting.
James Oliver That’s ok. I did sound rather serious there!
Looking at that doll laying face down portrays death???… Working too long in psychiatry me thinks!!… Job in a florist would be better for my own mental health!!:)).x
 James Oliver Think I was thinking more catatonic, submerged, feeling stuck, sums up our work perfectly Suzanne! 
 Toni Wallace James Oliver , I’m working on a piece inspired by my own experience of being a hoarder. Thinking about it this is exactly how I feel!!! Trapped, can’t see a way forward.
Horrible to feel trapped in any situation…. Amazing to be able to express your feelings through artistic interpretation!… I bottle it all up, and more of a verbal interpreter…. 

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