Layton, Peter (7 of 22) National Life Stories Collection: Crafts Lives

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  • Recording date

    2014-11-24, 2014-12-18, 2015-01-07, 2015-01-13, 2015-01-19, 2015-03-02, 2015-03-09, 2015-03-16, 2015-04-13

  • Recording locations

    Interviewee’s home in Worcester Park and studio in London

  • Interviewees

    Layton, Peter, 1937- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Cornford, Frances (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 7: [Session four: 13th January 2015] Comments on recent Charlie Hebdo and Jewish supermarket massacres in Paris. [05:05] Remarks on Ceramics Dept in Iowa, mentions Stephen Kemenyffy; PL supervising theses including one on fast firing; students including Tom Potter, Dan Lowry who paid way through college by playing pool. One student killed in Vietnam. Comments on Warren Westerberg. Developments in PL’s work using slabbing techniques learned from students and oxide glazes. TS doing printmaking and writing workshops at Iowa. Tom McLoughlin (TM), assistant to Harvey Littleton (HL) arriving to do summer workshop. [16:13] History of HL developing studio glass; HL’s father an industrial glass manufacturer at Corning; HL travelling round Europe, discovering Erwin Eisch working in a small kiln; HL getting help from Dominic Labino, who developed fibreglass, to build small furnaces for Toledo symposium; HL creating glass department at University of Wisconsin; other people doing things independently with glass including Eisch in Germany, Najita in Japan and Torres Estaban in Spain. HL creating a glass movement, mentions World Craft Council in New York in 1964 and HL inviting Eisch and others to demonstrate; PL not aware of developments at the time. [29:47] PL deciding to take summer school in glass out of curiosity; PL’s interest in working faster and getting more immediate results than with clay; PL liking to try lots of things. US circuit of people demonstrating crafts; PL inviting Paul Soldner to demonstrate raku through Betty Woodman who was a friend of a friend; raku as part of a move towards immediacy; PL not interested in repetition; glass as an opportunity to revisit idea of the vessel. Influences on PL including Tantric Art; attraction of colour and transparency of glass though PL not minding opaque glass. [41:25] Comments on TM leading glass workshop at Iowa. PL interviewing TM later on video toward end of TM’s life for archives of Corning Museum; remarks on TM’s work. Participants in Iowa glass workshop including PL’s students and teaching assistants; PL’s methods with clay including using hacksaw blades and beating using textured wood and cooking spoons. [47:17] PL writing to other universities and getting a sabbatical job replacing Ruth Ripon at Sacramento College, working with Ben Kypradikes. Remarks on departments at Sacramento College. PL’s work progressing there and having a few shows, mentions showing with TS and Marvin Lipofsky, who ran glass dept at Berkeley, in Los Angeles. PL meeting and working alongside key people in US. PL getting exhibition at the Berkeley gallery in San Francisco, showing with artist Mel Ramos. Comments on PL’s work; Brancusi inspired sculptural pieces made in Iowa. Piece made for San Francisco exhibition of large flame like shapes called End All War; other pieces resembling bullets and bombs, all large. [01:00:06] Remarks on inspiration for pieces. Success of Berkeley gallery exhibition with Hockney, Paolozzi both coming; positive reaction from sculptor Theo Gambruni . PL filling in for Robert Arneson (RA) at UC Davis after Sacramento for a semester; comments on funk school of ceramics, Peter Voulkos (PV); anecdote about going to a party at PV’s warehouse; other important people including John Mason. RA having outstanding students including David Gilhooly, Chris Unterseher. PL constantly promoted in sabbatical jobs, ending as an associate professor. PL’s enjoyment of US but TS homesick. Comments on Marvin Lipofsky’s (ML) works and use of flocking and electroforming. [01:13:05] Remarks on exhibition in LA at Canyon Gallery, Topanga; PL and ML’s appearance. Remarks on getting exhibitions. Place PL and TS lived in Sacramento; making good friends in Sacramento with mature students including head of health department in California, Ralph Littleston and wife Joan. PL feeling very at home in US with open, expressive people; making friends by TS asking people to sit for portraits. Littlestons having flat in San Francisco which rented to PL and TS; reasons for PL not participating in drugs scene; seeing The Doors, Jefferson Airplane. Grace Slick, Grateful Dead; anecdote about meeting people on a beach and visiting Esalen Institute. PL getting summer school fill-in job at the Art Institute of Chicago; PL teaching ceramics and bringing in HL for a glass seminar; PL having a show at Art Institute with Viola Frey and selling flame piece to Iowa State University in Ames, where also had exhibition. [01:32:36] Artists PL got to know in California including PV, RA, sculptor Manuel Neri; PL’s graduate students well known which helped PL get exhibition; Peter Saul, Irving Marcus as painters who showed work in Candy Store gallery in Sierra hills; TS studying printmaking under Hans Hohlwein. [01:37:09] Remarks on going to Mexico; PL’s interest in pre-Columbian ceramics; looking at and buying ceramics in Mexico; spending several months in Mexico; PL getting barb stuck in foot and becoming ill; ending up in San Cristobal las Casas in Chiapas; making friends with Goran Tunstrom and Lena Cronqvist.

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