Plymouth College of Art
3D Design Crafts
Gail Stubbs is a ceramicist who makes both functional and installation work based in South Devon. Gail’s work is closely associated with the complex issues surrounding the mechanisation of food production, overfishing and fish politics. The work exists in the realm of social political commentary through craft production Current mass production methods of fishing practice employ fishermen on factory trawlers to catch, weigh, fillet package and freeze fish on board; much of the process is mechanised. As opposed to small scale operators who are being squeezed out of the industry by unaffordable fishing quotas and rising overheads. A utopian concept is that it is possible to feed all the people of the planet using local produce processed on a small scale. Whether this is possible is not clear as humans have used factory farming and large-scale food processing parallel to exponential population growth. The ceramic work is a means of raising awareness and discussion around this subject. Fishing related images have been screen printed onto slabs of white stoneware which have been used to form plates using a RAM press with dies cast from factory made originals. The screen-printed images distort when pressed illustrating how the narrative of food and fishing is sometimes romanticised and warped by both marketers and consumers. Maritime phrases were used to convey suggestions of the frailty of marine life and dangers of overfishing and the situation humans find themselves in with regards finite resources. Mass production methods of ceramics have been used as a canvas to mirror the mass production and processing of food. The repetition of form conveys the repetitive nature of a production line both in food and mass-produced ceramic manufacture and to suggest the compulsion we all suffer from when it comes to our own personal consumption and the tendency towards the ideology of business as usual from policy makers. Westcountry clay has been used and limited firings carried out during the making process enabling the production of the work with a low carbon outlay. Her work will be exhibited and for sale in galleries and for sale and used in her family run seaside pub in the South West to encourage thought and discussion surrounding food politics. As the owner of a busy eatery and purchaser of fish and shellfish she has an understanding of both tableware design and the issues surrounding food production. She takes commissions for domestic ware in the hospitality sector and looks forward to continuing to design and make thought provoking items for use and display.