Slipped Through Your Fingers

Emily Blake


I wish I was an IKEA plate. I wish the law of simplicity could come into play. Gestalt psychology, the theory proposes that the whole object is more important than its individual parts. Maybe a mug might be more suiting. The process of slip casting follows the theory of Gestalt where the consumer is only exposed to an end product and the process is disregarded. With slip casting starting the industrialisation of ceramic wear, the technique is taken for granted now it’s been so commercialised. It juxtaposes the fascination around one’s ethnicity and wanting to know more about your ancestry, than you, the finished product. Slip casting has a choreography to its process, a uniformed repetition that follows a call and response action of explaining yourself.

Ruth Frankberg's Displacing Whiteness raises a historical representation of womxn of colour. “Womxn of colour as a trope is construed ambivalently always on a slippery slope from exotic beauty to unfeministity and ugliness.” I’ve felt the ugliness from an early age where I would tell the teachers that someone was being mean and I blamed it on my skin colour. When I knew that wasn’t the case, I just wanted the white teachers to tell me it wasn’t. Reassure me maybe? Instead, both times I used that excuse I was the one who had moved tables. I wasn’t a disruptive child, I just wanted the same recognition my white peers were getting. Now to the present day I’ve experienced the other end of the spectrum. My mind pauses at the word exotic. It’s alienating. It’s othering. If WOC are either of an exotic beauty and yet have this ugliness, why not use beauty to talk about the ugliness that comes with it.

The materiality and process of making, considers the historical connections tied to them. Porcelain, tea, coffee and cotton are linked with the silk road trade, colonialism and slavery. Then decolonised western theories with POC perspectives through the means of making. I’ve recontextualized stigmas through a modern china doll and reconsidered them with a positive sense of identity in order to reclaim the negative representation of POC. The process itself is repetitive, commenting on the repetition of racial profiling.

Currently [June 2020] there is an influx of social media posts regarding the Black Lives Matter movement. Instagram is becoming a remote protest tool to promote educating ourselves and peers to recognise our own privileges and support our black communities as allies. Once a place for trend hoppers, now a place for calling them out. However, it is yet to change the institutions that we are apart of that are continuously contributing to systemic racism. As an ally, I aim to move my practice into workshops and schools to start these vital conversations with young POC and peers to give them an understanding of the effects of racial discrimination and what they can do to help.

Thank you to: Juliet Uzor, Rose Sinclair, FAUCI and Susi Huang for contributing towards this project.

Juliet: @julietuzor_
Rose Sinclair:
FAUCI: @faucibabycino
Susi: @Cernamic

(Click Zine)