Clay Cracks Process Staining Studio Projects

staining bodies II

tile grout mixed with iron oxides

it’s near impossible to clean away the excess without staining. I do my best. some of the the tile gaps I’ve filled with newman clay and barnard clay instead of tile grout. they all crack as they dry

I try to repair the cracks by pouring a layer of clay slip over the entire surface. something you are taught never to do in ceramics:

if a large crack appears, you should always wedge the entire form back into plastic clay and start again from scratch

if you smooth it over, it will likely reappear again once water escapes from the body

Clay Process Staining Studio Projects

staining bodies

these clay bodies, taken from the earth, contain large amounts of minerals that can give them potent staining strength.

one of the most common naturally occurring mineral in clays – iron oxide – can give bodies a rich red, black or yellow colour

in ceramic handbooks, this quality is often written about like an inconvenience: “newman clay is useful for imparting a bright orange red tone but can be difficult to work with as it stains whatever surface it comes into contact with”

I find that I am drawn to this. I like that these bodies resist the desire to keep things clean and contained. wherever they touch, they leave an echo of the earth. as long as they contain moisture

wedged with my knees and hands, as I soon tired

somewhere between wedging, coiling and joining, I practice movements that can never become a vessel

Clay Cracks Process Studio Projects

circle trays

红花 soaked for five days, kaolin

newman clay


Clay Cracks Process Studio Projects

cracking trays II

application of 洛神花 & 熟地 medicine pigment onto dried clay slip (on one tray slip dries on wood, on the other slip dries on stretched cotton), one stroke from left to right even when the brush becomes dry

in chinese painting, 留白 (leaving empty / leaving space) is an essential philosophy and visual element

the pigment fades as it dries. moisture evaporates and is absorbed by the dried clay slip

I poured another layer of slip over the dried medicine pigments

both trays dried in less than two hours in the afternoon sun

I tried to pour the slip as even as I could, but clay’s viscosity can change quickly. the slip thickened as I poured

I want to study these cracks, I’m so mesmerized by them, so I trace them over with pigment made from 熟地

I started practicing calligraphy again, so I do my best to remember 起笔, 行笔, 顿笔, 收笔 as I study the lines

Clay Process Studio Projects

cracking trays I

patterns emerge as the clay slip dries even though I try to coat the surface as evenly as I can

dried slip is surprisingly pliable, wavering like ribbons even I mist the entire surface with water again

but as pliable as it seems, it cannot be picked up or kept

I decide to flatten it instead

when it’s dry, the formations can be easily scrapped off with a spatula and returned to it’s dry state. this one is called B3

if I add water to this, mix well, pour it out onto a tray again, it dries over time and creates another formation

all store bought clays and dried clay ingredients have been created through process of erosion and compression over hundreds of thousands of years. clay particles are very fine and light, so they often travel long distances in the wind or carried by rivers, and only settle when the air or water is still.

over these long distances and stretches of time, their mineral structure slowly changes and they acquire material properties like their plasticity, which enable clay to be formed very thin and curved without breaking

landscape dried within two hours in the bright afternoon sun

ghosts of the previous layer floating on a new layer of clay

Clay Process Studio Projects

water cycles

porcelain, recycled clay pinch pots in plastic, leather-hard & bone dry states filled repeatedly with traditional chinese medicine until the vessels fragment

Completed Line Candles Studio Projects


We are so often pressed for time. We spend time, buy time, save time, but rarely do we experience time. In this performance, I inhabited 40 hours by attending to candle flames and pigments made from traditional Chinese herbal medicine.

Watch excerpt of video documentation here.


work time

The lens through which I want to understand my creative position is the quantity and quality of time I inhabit with my art practice. What I do in my studio does often involve mental and physical exertion, and the process is often challenging technically and psychologically. However, neither labour, which emphasizes the toil involved that makes financial compensation necessary, nor work, which is driven by the need to create a particular outcome, are generative concepts for reflecting on my studio practice.

Instead, given that I am engaged with various facets of my creative work for far than the standard 40 hours of work per week, I would like to reflect on my creative practice through how I inhabit time. In Planktons in the Sea, Raqs Media Collective writes, “if we view time from the point of view of the individual then the truth that each of us lives only once (hence each moment is unique) and that death is inevitable (hence, one day, our time will end) make time itself the most scarce commodity we have. That is why we buy time, save time, and hoard time.” Despite the heated discussions on sustainable financial renumeration in the art world, time is actually what is really at stake – we want to be paid well, so that we can devote more time to making what we are most excited about.

In my art practice, I am trying to discover ways of inhabiting time that slow the breakneck pace enabled by modern technology, and challenge our linear and capitalist perception of time as a commodity. However, in my studio practice, I find myself constantly scrambling over deadlines and editing my ever-growing to do list in order to apply to grants, residencies and shows, learn technical skills, purchase materials and obtain approval for installation sites. Time is both my core subject and material. In order to better understand it, I have recently started to develop performance installations that require both my presence and the accumulation of time-based processes over many days. I apply layers of pigments and wait for them to dry, or I light candles and wait for them to be consumed. In between, I create these open expanses where I can neither check my email nor rework an application, so what I do is observe time that is temporarily unbound from the tyranny of clocks.

Raqs Media Collective starts the text with, “To ask a human being to account for time is not very different from asking a floating fragment of plankton to account for the ocean. How does the plankton bank the ocean?” This slippery quality of time becomes increasingly apparent as I read about the unpredictable multiplicity of time in quantum physics and the simultaneous, cyclical nature of time in Zen philosophy. I need to activate material processes that reveal the accumulation of time in order to reflect on what language cannot fully articulate. Thus, my creative practice is primarily neither work nor labour, but a means of becoming aware of how I have been and how I want to inhabit time.

It goes without saying that these contemplations alone do not allow me pay my rent or purchase food. On a practical level, I do need to spend time applying for grants, obtain commissions, or teaching artist workshops in order to sustain myself. But I also want to remain lucidly aware of Raqs Media Collective wrote about Ian Walker’s research, “if people had an endless supply of money, more than 80 percent would use that money to buy time. In other words, he argued, most of us use money to buy time. But given that time is money, we are back to where we were a little while ago, using time to buy time.” In this way, using my creative practice primarily as a means to experience time is a shortcut that by passes the conversion from work/labour into financial renumeration, that then gets used to purchase goods and services that enables us to have more time. More importantly, I see my studio practice as not just a way to reclaim time, but to open up ways of inhabiting time by freeing it from our assumptions about how we should be using our time.



ronny quevedo’s artist talk


the history of a material



in different times and locations


(wax paper)


drawing — immediacy, apply a quick thought, something that can be traced

printmaking — the time delay in making the preparations, and the printing itself takes just a few seconds, a mark that can be repeated

iterations — going back to an idea, and refining a thought


traveling in space, time, drawing, wall-based, not white walls?

lines in time: tree rings, creases, sun-bleached wood on houses, what else writing?

places of convening, movement piece


I really liked Ronny’s going backwards and forwards in time to find these lines. And the scalability of the works.

Conversations References Writing


I grew up in Singapore, a former British colony. English is a colonial language, but it is also the language I am most fluent and expressive in. It’s heartbreaking and alienating and fascinating to think of English as a force of infiltration because I write copiously for myself. I write in English about the moments and people who I cherish the most. I write descriptive details of what my loved ones were wearing, or I write down lines from conversations from years ago that I still think about, all in English.

English is the language of a colonizers but it is also me. Speaking and continuing to learn Chinese now is an act of reclamation, but a reclamation of a personal history that I didn’t grow up with.

I do speak Chinese when I’m bargaining for vegetables or ask my grandmother what she ate for lunch. But it’s in English, that I really say “you’re important to me” or “I’m thinking of you” or “look at this tree”.

What personal and collective histories haunt our words? Have I reclaimed these words for myself by using them so intimately, by using them as placeholders of love?


what does your voice sound like? and how does it feel when you can speak in that way? (Juliane Okot-Bitek)


A light year is the distance that light travels in a year. It’s both time and distance.


Flatlands, A Romance of Many Dimensions (E. Abbott)