Lu La Buzz

PhD Art and Performance
Part time practice-based research; commenced Autumn 2008

States and Status of Clay
In 1996, whilst reading The Edge of the Sea by Rachel Carson, I encountered a description of a submerged outcrop of clay. With its transformative potential, clay had long become the focus of my site-specific, land-based work, so the knowledge that clay existed out at sea - beneath the waves, opened up a whole new world of opportunity.

For 12 further years, I lived in Central England and my work, based on terrestrial clays, reflected this inland locality. Then in 2008, with the prospect of PhD study at the coastal city of Plymouth, exploration of submerged clay, in the form of shipwrecked clay cargo became an ensuing reality.

The West Country holds rich deposits of China Clay and Ball Clay, which, throughout the last three centuries, have been extracted and shipped worldwide. These clays, which are subjected to rigorous selection processes, are prized commodities within the ceramics and paper manufacturing industry.
However, my specific research area lies with the abandoned/forsaken clay remnants and ruins which have been lost throughout history; ‘The Lost Properties of Clay' as I call them. During extraction clay that is deemed inferior is rejected, pits cease to operate, working methods change and in the course of overseas transportation, a proportion of clays have been lost to shipwreck.
The practice-based element of my work will involve re-photographic techniques on land and the recovery of clay from wreck sites along the south west coast, for which I am currently learning to dive.
My aim is to investigate the value of these forsaken clay relics in relationship to the wider cultural status of clay.

Previous Education
2004-2006 MA Contemporary Art and Music with Distinction, Oxford Brookes University
1991-1995 BA (Hons) Applied Arts, University of Derby