• Brickworks

      Heeney, Gwen (London: A & C Black, 2003)
      The book explores the re-emergence of architectural ceramic brick as a primary material and process for public and environmental art practices. The text establishes the international field of practitioners involved in brick. It also examines the history and application of brick with particular focus on the ‘Specials Departments’ within the Brick Industry. Historic traditions and contemporary experiments inform practical processes and methodologies used by Heeney and colleagues. The author examines the way artists and architects use brick in contemporary application; exploiting its architectural potential through manipulation of wet brick, the use of newly fired bricks, or through the use of bricks and related forms as found objects and architectural forms. In the text, collaborative links are explored between artists and the many ‘Specials Departments’ of Brick Companies throughout Europe, Scandinavia and the USA. Heeney explores the possibilities of brick as an essential component of a public art practice that seeks to engage questions of site-specificity and community involvement.
    • Shadow Stack / Pit Stack

      Heeney, Gwen (2006)
      Heeney’s work was developed to understand and comment upon the history of the property, a former brickyard, by juxtaposing it with a contemporary view on brick as artistic medium. In the process, Heeney advanced the use of brick on both a technical and aesthetic level. She combined traditional energy efficient firing/glazing methods for bricks dating back to Medieval times, with contemporary ceramic studio methods of firing/glazing; and she developed new artistic applications of bricks and brickwork to achieve a heightened sculptural quality through light and surface reflection. The process included construction and assembly of wet clay forms; sculpted and de-constructed then fired prior to re-assembly.
    • Shadow, Light and Reflectivity: Material and Metaphor: The Post Industrial Landscape as Site for Creative Practice

      Heeney, Gwen; Brownsword, Neil; Mydland, Anne Helen (Topographies of the Obsolete Publications, 2015)
    • The Laboratory Project

      Heeney, Gwen (2015)
      Laboratory: early 17th century: from medieval Latin laboratorium, from Latin laborare ‘to labour’. As an artist the studio is the most important creative space for the development of ideas and supports and nurtures thinking through making. For me the space is akin to a laboratory where experimentation can take place and hopefully new things emerge When I came to Korea I had no preconceived idea about what I would create, but knew that I needed to be completely immersed in the landscape and the culture. Once in Korea I became totally fascinated by the dark shadowy presence of the mountains, of which much of the land is made up, juxtaposed to the stark overpowering skyscrapers shinning white in the sun. This encroachment of humanity towards the black mystical mountains and their secrets going back thousands of years intrigued me as it also embodied the concept of shadow and light. These tall skyscrapers: urban mountains, in their very being seemed to be trying to blot out the dark undulating mass behind them, denouncing all knowledge of past tradition, rejecting the hand made in their perfect rigidness, as they grow ever taller and prouder. The urban mountains reflect the sun in direct contrast to the black organic mass of mountain range which soaks in the sun. Visiting the brick company in Korea further confirmed the denial of tradition when I observed how the hand had been totally omitted from the process of brick making and how perfection in this post-post industrial society was now the norm. It seemed to deny all sense of the past and the beauty of the traditional brick making and ornamentation. It seemed that contemporary culture sees uniform and perfection as its ultimate goal, and that all sense of the traditional handmade is lost to the machine. With these thoughts in mind I set out to experiment in the studio and then transfer my studio to the gallery space Gwen Heeney 2015
    • Topographies of the Obsolete - Site Reflections

      Heeney, Gwen; Mydland, Anne Helen; Brownsword, Neil (WABA exhibition Korea, 2015-11-05)
      Topographies of the Obsolete: Exploring the Site Specific and Associated Histories of Post-Industry Topographies of the Obsolete is an artistic research project initiated by Neil Brownsword and Anne Helen Mydland at Bergen Academy of Art and Design (KHiB) in collaboration with partner universities/institutions in Denmark, Germany and the UK. In 2012 the British Ceramics Biennial invited KHiB to develop a site-specific artistic response to the former Spode Factory in Stoke-on-Trent as a key element of their 2013 exhibition programme. The project explores the landscape and associated histories of post-industry, with an initial emphasis on Stoke-on-Trent, a world-renowned ceramics capital that bears evidence of fluctuations in global fortunes. The original Spode Factory, situated in the heart of Stoke-on-Trent, was once a keystone of the city’s industrial heritage, which operated upon its original site for over 230 years. Amongst Spode’s contributions to ceramic history are the perfection of under-glaze blue printing and fine bone china. In 2008 Spode’s Church Street site closed, with most of its production infrastructure and contents left intact. The site and its remnants has been the point of departure for the interdisciplinary artistic research of over 50 participating artists, historians and theoreticians over six residencies. Topographies is a framework, formulating topics and research strands which are treated as questions and approaches that are addressed through artistic practice. By honing in on the particular history and the singularity of this site, Topographies questions what is, and how can ceramic and clay be understood as both material and subject in contemporary art practice. How can we perceive the material (clay/ceramics) to be or constitute a site? Moreover, how do ceramics and clay form and construct our understanding of the site? This publication is the third in a series which documents responses and reflections to the original Spode site from both artists and theorists connected to the project.
    • Transformation

      Heeney, Gwen (2004)
      Heeney collaborated with a Korean brick factory to develop a site-specific permanent artwork: a large figural form based upon a historical artefact in the Museum Collection. Adopting low-tech processes and firing techniques of the indigenous Brick industry, Heeney clarified and extended these ideas through her work and brought them back into use in contemporary art practice. In the process of firing/glazing Heeney discovered that the developing surface resulted in a finish that could be used to focus light within the landscape, in relation to the work. This led to further research into reflective surfaces through glazing with soda-fired brick.