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10 Vessels 10 Days


10 Vessels 10 Days forms one part of my solo exhibition Table Tools. This short film documents one day in the 10 day series.

The Table Tools catalogue documents this series of work beautifully through a collection of images and accompanying text. You can purchase the catalogue online here or through CraftACT.

Merryn Gates, freelance curator and writer sums up this project beautifully.

Alison Jackson set herself 10 days, and the challenge to make one vessel each day. This discipline, battling the exigencies of materials and time, make of her project a meeting place between ancient traditions and contemporary design. She brings both to her workbench–technical facility and a refined design aesthetic–each stored and ready for application. Taking up the hammer she created a hollow form in a technique little changed over the centuries. To recognise the hammered surface, each mark a hammer blow, is to quantify the maker's time and skill. The bowls she formed, roughly the size of a hand, begin to describe some essence of vessel-ness. How shallow or deep need it be? What various functions might it satisfy­—container, sieve, scoop, pourer? And how can it be handled, with our without a handle. When does it become a spoon?
Over these 10 days Alison gave herself free rein to enjoy a period of design led research.[2] Only the hours of a working day, and the size of the metal, set any limitation. There was no commission to consider, no thoughts for marketability, no limits regarding cost. At the end of each day the work was set down and a new one started. She used this time as a 'strategy for experimentation' to provide a hiatus in studio production so that '… everything familiar becomes thrown into a new light.'[3] Steel wire, normally used only while an object is being made, was allowed to feature on finished work; delicate spouts appear where the hammer has beaten an uneven edge; splits remain and become the basis of a sieve. Some are polished, in others the patinas contrast with the silver, foreshadowing the inevitable aging of this metal.
As each one-day bowl takes its place on someone's table, hands will further burnish the surface with use, and the metal will transmit heat or coldness to cupping hands. Together they form a community, the individual in dialogue with the group.


  • 2. This research time was made possible through Australia Council New Work Grant, awarded to Alison in 2014. She works from her Pocket Studio in Queanbeyan, NSW.
    3. Patrick Letschka, 'Hand in Hand', Networks, 2011.