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"craft" Category


How deep can you go?


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Lucie Rie’s story
Born as Lucie Gomperz in Vienna, she grew up in a Jewish family of Sigmund Freud consultants. After studying pottery at the Vienna Kunstgewerbeschule her success came immediately. She could exhibit at the Paris International Exhibition and won there a few years later the silver medal. In 1938, when she was thirty-six years old, she flew to England because of Nazism. She got to know the nineteen years old Hans Coper (also a fugitive of the Nazi regime) and worked with him together from 1946 until 1958.[x]
Mostly Lucie Rie and Hans Coper are called “British Potters” even tough they are neither from England but refugees.

 

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Lucie Rie’s speciality

In some parts of her life she didn’t see a purpose in her objects. But at least with the work of Coper it came fully back to her. She was not following the conventional process of bisque-firing her work, then glazing and re-firing it. Instead she was very experimental and loved to put her glace direct onto the unfired clay before the first bisque.

 

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Lucie Rie in the Stedelijk

In the Stedelijk Museum you’ll find two vases and a plate by Lucie  and a corporation work with Hans Coper. The objects go back to 1953 when Rie and Coper mostly worked together. Rie’s series shows mostly white glazed vases in porcelain. Her work on the surface was very creative. For these objects she used needles to make scratches in the porcelain, which she filled with another colour of glaze. From the look you cannot say if the objects are out of earthenware or something else. Fed with some knowledge you get to know about the content of the ceramics — porcelain. The corporation with Coper, could have been from nowedays. A tea service set in stoneware, black glace — timeless. Even though Coper was mostly a assistant to Rie both names are engraved in the ceramic.

 

Coper-Rie

 

Lucie Rie’s surface

Lucie Rie’s way of dealing with the surface attracts me a lot. It is hard to simply stand in front of it in the museum. You want to interact with her art.

«She found her satisfaction in a needle.

A needle to change the surface.

Drive it deep to change the outside — the visible.

To change the way it feels under your hands. Striation.

My imagination.

But, you’re standing in front of a big thick safety glass.

Her object far away of your senses of touch.

Trying to experience the surface by simply looking at it.

How?

Will I ever experience what she experienced with her hands?

I don’t want to see it from the inside.

No.

I want to feel the surface like she did, sitting on the throwing wheel.

Layering glace on that shape.

Let it dry a little.

Take the needle.

Carve through the porcelain — long elegant scratches.

How must it have sounded?

Fill the scratches with a dark colour.

Fire it.

How did the look change?

Let it cool down.

Hold it. Enjoy it. This softness. Smoothness.

Gently drive the finger around the belly of the vase.

Oh, I wish I could experience the surfaces of Lucie Rie’s.»

 

Ceramic surface study

Lucie Rie used among other things the needle to manipulate the surface. In my first text I showed work by  Ekaterina Semenova who found other inspiring ways to do so by… using milk — old, food waste milk.

I wish I could read


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Write me something

and I will try

Try to read

Corrie_de_Boer_borduurwerk_op_linnen_3

 

Gekleurde brieven (Coloured Letters) is a work from Corrie de Boer made in 1977 and exhibited in the Stedelijk Museum, as part of the permanent design collection.

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Corrie De Boer, colored letters (detail), 1977, embroidered linen

The work is called nine letters hung next to each other. Embroidered letters on white a4 linen in different colours. None of them actually readable, but giving the intention something was written. This was a work that talked to me a lot. The colours give their own feeling to letters, even though there is no content. Each letter has got its own colour. Dark green, light green, yellow, orange, red, burgundy, purple, dark blue, light blue. Emotional content.
There is always an intriguing relation to text and the surface. Is the ink in or on the surface?
I wonder what happened  if I would be allowed to touch the letters with my fingers, that could maybe make it possible to read the letters, like a blind person. Since these letters only seem to be real, but looking closer nothing is actually readable, no real word is used in the embroidered letters. The empty whiteness inside of the embroidery becomes an imaginable type (a letter).
A similar situation takes place in the catalog accompanying the exhibition Surface.
In this case the embossed text, white letters on a white glossy paper, is clearly part of the surface, although it is also tangible or touchable. The texture of the letters is enabling the observer to read the title of the catalogue. The play with floodlight makes it visible and forces you to play with that surface in the light to read.

 

I like to sit on a bamboo chair ActIII_FAUX

Cover with embossed text and content page in which the inverted text is the surface too. catalog designed by OK-RM. • Chapter ActIII - FAUX, where the inverted text is the surface itself

 
Surface and Subject-matter are each others equivalent as the inside of the booklet was also not a clear description of what happened during the exhibition. It became a work on itself. It was a poem a theatre play.

 

Designing the Surface Supplementary Show /New Institute


Monday, February 13, 2017

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Gebr.A.R.& P.van der Burg /wood and marble painting examples in color 1876

 

Supplementary Surface Show Under Construction

 

20 students of the Rietveld Academy’s Basic Year visited the exhibition “Designing the Surface” organized at the New Institute Rotterdam (2017).
The intriguing aspect of surface, an issue that is generally avoided in a discussion about the context of content, raised our curiosity.
The exhibition and the accompanying publication was inspiring as were other additional exhibits like ‘Screen Savers’ or various shows in adjoining musea.

/FAUX /PATINA /LUSTRE /TEFLON /AGENCY /SLIM

Curious for our reflections on these subject?

Chose an image and click on it.

We assembled this small supplementary research show for you to enjoy.

 

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FelineH VanilleOugen

SimonMarsiglia Screen shot 2017-02-13 at 12.05.50 PM CeliaNabonne

KaanKorkmaz JimKlok

Screen Shot 2017-02-12 at 11.43.35 PM

KimLang OfiaBaytocheva FelineHjermind

NadjaSchlenker JohannesZ

Parelstrik vantablack

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Meeting with a shape explorer


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Olivier van Herpt is young Dutch designer from Eindhoven, he graduated in 2014 form the Eindhoven design academy. We discovered his work at the “Dream Out Loud” exhibition in the Stedelijk. Both of us were strongly attracted by the 3D world and process in the show. Therefor van Herpt’s work seemed like the most instructing of all regarding his process but also due to the final objects themselves. The other aspect that catches our eye was the combination of brand new technology and crafts, (3D printing/ceramics, weaving). Van Herpt’s work consists in making ceramic shapes (vase looking shapes) with 3d printing machine that he engineered for it. We were therefor even more fascinated not only by the shapes but even more by how he got there. We had the opportunity of meeting him in his studio and ask him more about his work and work process.

The conversation immediately focused on his work process.
It all started when he was still a student at the academy, he was already interested in 3D printing and was taking ceramics as minor. He also mentioned that he had always been interested in the technical part. But was quickly limited by the technical possibilities of the machines at the academy, size wise, material wise and so on. This is when he started thinking about making his own. His approach was also mainly to combine different techniques. He therefor though about a machine that would combine man action and machine made. He wanted to have an interaction with the machine. That combination also takes place in the process of designing the object and making the object. Van Herpt had some help from student friends at the beginning but not from manufacturing industries. He started with a small machine and they got bigger with time. He designed and engineered the machines himself and learned the technical part while in the process of creating them. Also as a designer, unlike an engineer, he already had an idea about what the machine had to look like from the start. That give it a different approach but of course he had to adapt to technical issues and the machine had to adapt on what he wants to make. « It’s a parallel process between the object and the machine. »

3d-dripping

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After graduation he focused on experimenting with the machine with different techniques all about randomly approach « dripping » with different materials, such as wax, and bee wax. At the time he was experimenting with soft clay by softening it with water but had quickly explored all the possibilities with it so he then decided to focus on ceramics, dive deeper into it and use hard clay for which he had to build a new machine. Again we can see the close relation between the process of making the machine and the object, how one is to the other, and the constant need to develop a machine that is adapted to the material (hard clay).

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The second machine he made for the hard clay is basically like a pomp, he described it as an ‘extruder’, the innovative aspect to it is its openness and the possibility to interact with the machine that works with any kind of hard materials : « the machine is really like a tool » that he uses to make objects with. He explained that there were two ways of working with the machine. You can decided to interact with it or not. The most basic shapes are hand made. Some of the shapes are design then put into the computer and then when a machine prints it then it is machine made, or you can shape it yourself on to the machine because the machine is not closed.
This is it’s way of renewing an very old craft (ceramics). It is a human versus machine collaboration. The shapes of the products are all unique you cannot make one twice. Because of the use of clay it is also fast to make and always reusable until you cook it. It is then possible to make a lot of different try-outs and and shaped it until you are satisfied with it. Meaning that there are endless combination of shapes possible to explore. He also sees it only as the beginning and very much as an on going process of experimentation.
«It is only the beginning » as he said « it can be really random but also really controlled » which gives a bigger range of possibilities, also with the use of different colored clay, creating very different kind of shapes. He also told us that he recently started to experiment with new materials such as porcelain.

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He is in process of creating a new machine, even bigger, to have the possibly of making bigger shapes and objects. Having the possibility now of collaborating with different fields, which was his idea in combining techniques, he is enthusiast in working not only with designers but also with artists, architects, interior designers and even industries. for example industries ordered his machines for other purposes.

This research project by Daria Nakov and Raphaelle Hugues is based on the "Dreaming Out Load" design exhibition curated by the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Hella Jongerius and the in-between-state of Design.


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Within a era where design industry has been mostly focusing on how-to-reach at quickest the largest market possible by basically allowing marketing and communication departments to take the lead and most companies are sales-increasing-oriented, there’s a figure I’ve been admiring a lot for a certain capability to break this kind of mechanisms. Dutch designer Hella Jongerius has been an attentive observer of the industrial production process and its weaknesses and I could think of her as a designer capable to give the design industry a remarkable, somehow playful response.

Chicle Project, material experiment for The Nature Conservancy, 2009

 

By having a broad look here and there to her work, I could figure out that the strength of her designs lies in their between-state for both caring about details and imperfections and still being able to fit into an industrial production rhythm. In her work I see some sort of generosity which looks up back to the past (not just to appropriate herself – as most designers nowadays would do - of principles such as authenticity and sustainability) by giving it a further value as a result of her never-ending research around life and ”afterlife” of objects. What strikes me about Jongerius’ design approach is that she pushes design to an almost imperceptible limit which oscillates towards an artistic process. Hers seems to me closer to an art-related way of processing research, brain storming, sketching ideas and projects themselves starting as sketches, always caring about some imperfection which can emerge through unexpectedly magic come outs. This is at least what it means dealing with handicrafts. Something that she has discovered already in the 90s when giving the design industry imperfection as an answer. Concerning to Jongerius, design should firstly be communicative. This is what design is about. Its function lies mainly in its communicative power which can be measured at different levels of meaning.  Even ugliness can be very a strong means of communication. Since handicrafts primarily deal with the impossibility to produce perfect finished products, she has considered it as her own vehicle to face the anonymous perfection that industry has been producing for more than a century. In most of her works, she is been playing with the imagination of the user, by creating fore ex. a ”frog table” which is basically a frog seating at the table itself and a question which comes along with that is: why do we need imagination for (a specific) utility? isn’t use already enough?

 

Frog Table [Natura Design Magistra] 2009

According to the Dutch designer, there is a persistent prejudice concerning the essential difference, drastic separation between designs that are made to be purely functional and expressive designs which are able to tell stories which go beyond themselves as objects.

Once again the function of design has assumed new meanings and contents. It cannot be formulated strictly depending on terms of use or comfort.
Sometimes the core signifier of design can actually be its paradoxical non-functionality > animal bowls < a project started in 2004 for which Jongerius is been selecting different pieces ouf of the Porcelain Manufacturer Collection of Nymphenburg – as a celebration of age-old crafts and treasures found within the Nymphenburg archive, in Germany.

 

Bowl with hare / Bowl with fawn / Bowl with hippopotamus

Some other aspects that I really appreciate about Hella Jongerius’ work are the experimentation with the more diverse materials and her deep passion for colours I feel somehow very close to.

In 2009 she’s been leading a project for The Nature Conservancy [x]. In this particular project Jongerius is been experimenting with the natural material of chicle, derived from the rain forests of Mexico. The project itself consisted of a group of internationally renowned designers who have been participating, initiated by the American Nature Conservancy, an organization which strives to protect sustainable materials for use in contemporary art, design and architecture. The results of the project were shown for the first time at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York.

Chicle project [x]

 

Argali Rugs, 2015

For this project Jongerius has created – within a palette of six colours typical of Nepalese yarns – Kilim rugs which have been hand woven from special Tibetan wool from Argali – a wild sheep breed that resides in the Himalayan mountains. The yarns themselves have been hand spun by local weavers, and their naturally faded colours and irregular character lend each rug a truly individual appeal. Each rug incorporates several design details, including a hand-embroidered area with silk yarn – a reference to an old tradition of repairing the rugs. The fringes are braided, a practice that also refers to an old custom in Nepal – this for its decorative appeal.

 

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Argali for Danskina [x]

 

There are some many things which should be told about Hella Jongerius, that comes almost difficult to make a choice ouf of the huge amount of her research. Jongerius has been the Art Director for colours and materials at Vitra for many years, during which she has developed Vitra Colour & Material Library together with a quite recent book ‘I don’t have a favourite colour’ which basically refers to the establishment and +further development of an intelligent system of colours’, materials and textiles that make it easy to create inspiring environments in offices, homes and public spaces. It is definitely an interesting book since the Dutch designer has been illustrating her method of research and the application of its results to the Vitra product portfolio.

 

'I don't have a favourite colour' [x]

 

Jongerius way of dealing with the design experience is very fascinating for me since I’ve always felt quite far away from the design process, very related to super appealing – almost perfectly finished products.
Her installation/selection within the textile archive of KLM company for Dream Out Loud exhibition at the Stedelijk has been so inspiring for me. It confirmed me further my pre-existing love for textile matter. It immediately brought me to a sort of aesthetics that I personally feel pretty much related to. By reading part of her book Misfit and her .Manifesto. Beyond The New written together with Louise Schouwenberg so many exciting questions came up – concerning the contemporary era – where are we going to? design/art? this over exploited back to the roots feeling and the over flooded quantity of emerging designers. What can design add to the world of plenty? and What is functionality in the here and now?

 

Electric Emotion


Saturday, April 23, 2016

 

designblog ting 72
 
So, make a headpiece which relates to a person that you find interesting.
 
‘Identity check’.
 
Björk used to be a creative inspiration for me. Actually she was that, when I was quite young – but stil very relevant in relation to this assignment I found her interesting because of her complex universe, that does not seem to have any limitations. That could only be an interesting starting point. In an old MTV clip you find her in the end sitting next to a boiling geyser on Iceland. “I really like it here. It’s very very ancient but then futuristic at the same time. Sort of sci-fi. And all the colors you see makes me believe that plastic is natural” she says, and this idea became a foundation for my work.

 

img004 By listening to her songs and watching these documentaries about her, I collected a bunch of words. These words I putted together – arranged differently according to the simplicity and complexity that she represents at the same time. I ended up with the words Electric Emotion, which lead me to the next step. It was driven by contradictions, and I wanted to reflect this in the choice of materials. Something that reflected both the organic and high tech world that Björk creates. I also wanted to discover something from the Icelandic traditions – and the overwhelming Icelandic nature.

 

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I found an Icelandic headpiece that was worn by women in the 17th century and into the 19th. A Faldbúningur it is called. It has a specific rounded shape, like an ornament – pointing upwards, which I also found in some microscopic pictures of an Icelandic Orchid. So I though that this would be a reasonable foundation for a form. During the tryout for this shape, I figured that it would actually be more interesting to work with material research and then find a form appearing from that. In that way I would end up with a self-created shape instead of working out from one that was already created centuries ago.

 

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I find the peel of a Pomelo and grapefruit interesting because of its tactile appeal. When just peeled, it is soft looking but quite strong as a material and after being dried it seems hard but turns extremely fragile. The dry edition of the peel also has a certain transparency and visible fiber structure. It very much seems like veins running in the skin. And when sewed on textile, it forces a curved shape to the textile when drying. I really liked this.

I found some cable connectors which I teared apart and connected again in a pattern that I though could show an idea of the electric streams that runs through your energy system in your body. To make this electric part look more organic, I melted the cable connectors so the plastic changed to a more rounded and random form around the screws. I kept this question in mind: can I keep trying to make plastic look natural, and natural materials look like more or less complicated technology?

These two materials became my conceptual focus, and the other materials appeared afterwards – due to my search after appealing colors and structures that could relate to the whole idea. I started working with light colors to calm down on the material wise diversity that I expected in the beginning. Transparency and layers also appeared because these create an interesting expression which I wanted to examine. And also because I think it visually relates both to phenomena in nature and the mystic of the undiscovered future.

 

designblog ting 2 72

 

Due to the material research I figured it could be fun to make a collection of headpieces – more related to body jewelry. I focused on the ‘emotion’ part, and created different shapes that could function in both expressing and healing emotions. As an example the feeling of calming down when having a palm against your forehead.

Curiosity and fun is what I immediately see in the headpieces when looking at the end result. I see the material as body extensions that shows emotions which are usually hidden inside the body. In this case the Electric Emotion that appears when feeling excited, aware, confused, curious, related or in love. Because of the many wires that are used in especially one of the pieces, it is also creating a feeling of being trapped in emotions, when wearing it.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

Desire: it will be never reached


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

 All people have their own desires whether it is small or big. They try to bring their desires to life; however some people won’t be able to because they are too out of reach. For example some may say they want to fly to the moon, other may wish to be abillionaire. But there are also very realistic desires that cannot become true. These are the ones I want to talk about.

In Korea, there is one traditional job called « Haenyeo », which means « sea-women »; who are traditional Korean woman divers. This job only exists in the southern part of Korea, especially on the islands. Today, more than 5,000 divers still remain on these islands. They are specially strong women. A long time ago in Korea, women could not join the outside, sometimes they even couldn’tgo out their house. Nevertheless, these women not only worked totheir living: they also worked for their peers. They built their own society using their power and refusing men’s help as in the past, so many men who lived on the islands died of deep-sea fishing. Only a few men survived from the strong waves and tough windy weather, so that the women who were left behind had to find a way to survive. These circumstances brought strength and uniqueness

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They only wear swimming suits, goggles and fishing nets. They hold their breath while diving to catch seafood until they are out of breath, which means they are always endangered. Therefore, the women fight for their desires because this will is what gives them the means to catch the widest number of fish; but can also drag them to death. Sometimes, they only want to catch a tiny piece, not even a pearl, but the greed is still their to endanger their lives. only use swimming suits, swimming goggles and fishing nets.

net Sketch_3

 

The ocean is one of the greatest powers of nature, so divers do not wish to earnmillions with their fishing because they say it is too arrogant toward the sea. Humans cannot create te sea – they cannot create animals such as an octopus, a fish,a clam. These are made by the great nature so the humans should be greedy towards it. Therefore, divers want to show their gratitude to the nature so they pray for it to save their lives, and not to earn money. Theyalways have to turn off their greed. Their truedesires. It means that they need to control themselves because surviving is the most important. It looks like theyare fighting between their desires and their lives. Their desires are always related to their lives. At the same time, with death too. When they dive into the ocean, they can see everything but they know there are things they will never be able to catch.

Video of Haenyeo

 I wanted to focus on their desire to catch something they cannot reach. I used eight bamboo, glitter thread and fabrics as my materials. At first, I was inspired by spiders which is a lucky charm in their society. I illustrated the spider with eight bamboo sticks. However, bamboo sticks did not have enough strength to stand still so I decided to add three leather belts to the bottom in order to make it wearable. These gave some strength to the structure, and I really wanted it to be worn on the head as a relation to divers’ shamanism. Women divers usually pray to the great nature, especially to the ’God of the ocean’. They believe that the Gods live above the sky, therefore, the main focus of the head-piece was supposed to be above the head. But I faced problems. The leather belts did not give enough strength to my head-piece. It needed more support in the middle and at the bottom. This was one of the biggest problems of my process.

sketches:

pink_detail sketch_2

 

The first solution to this problem was to give the head-piece some strength in the middle. I made a small precious fabric package and placed it in the middle. I was inspired by the Korean traditional way of wrapping gifts. Usually when Koreans give a precious gift to someone, they wrap it in fabric. It means that the gift is protected from bad things.

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I made an object like that in order to illustrate the desires of the woman divers wrapped in fabric, but it still did not give enough strength to my head-piece. I had to find a way to wear that super heavy and tall head-piece and I realize d that using only my head is not the best way to wear it.

green_netgreen_net_left

 

In addition I wanted to express the feeling of one trying to reach for his breath. In the end I decided to wear it on my shoulders and fasten it to my head with leather belts. As a result when I wear it I feel like I’m choking.

 

<Final results>

 

head_left without_green_net

 

Her Previous Incarnation


Sunday, April 17, 2016
 

"Don't ask from where I have come, 
My home is far, far away. 
Why do you wander so far? Wander so far?"
- "Olive Tree" by Sanmao 

Sanmao to me was an incurable romantic, a lonely dreamer and a gifted drifter who had spent most of her life travelling and writing. The stories and the journals she wrote beautifully reflected the unforgettable journeys she undertook, the incredible places and people she had seen. Sanmao studied philosophy in Taiwan and continued her education later on in Spain and Germany. After her study and the tragical loss of her fiancé, Sanmao returned to Spain and there she made up her mind to follow the sunset of Sahara . Her life as a drifter and a writer then began.

 

sanmao in sahara

 

I’ve always been very much moved and inspired by the stories of her life journey, as her writings didn’t only describe the wonderful experiences of her trips but also illustrated the difficult realities she had to deal with. (Here is one of her stories – “The Mute Slave” collected in the book “The Stories of Sahara”.)  Because of her kindness and courage, she was able to prepare herself to face all the challenges and risks of her adventure. To me Sanmao’s writings mean much more than a travelogue, significantly they stand for her values of life. Therefore, I decided to take Sanmao as the person/source of my inspiration for this “Identity” design project.

As I was quite familiar with her books, in her writings what interested me the most was her fascination with her previous incarnation. In the book “Wan Shui Qian Shan Zou Bian”, she wrote that she had always believed she was an Ecuadorian Indian girl in her last life. When she traveled to one remote village hidden in the Andes, she felt immensely connected to the highland, as if she had come back to the homeland of her previous life.  As she wrote, in her last life she was a Cañari (“an indigenous ethnic group traditionally inhabiting the territory of the modern provinces of Azuay and Cañar in Ecuador”) girl named Hawa. The name Hawa in their language means heart. She was a pharmacist’s granddaughter who lived her entire life happily and peacefully in the village of the silver lake (also known as the lake of heart) till her death.

 

 wan shui qian shan zou bian

“Wan Shui Qian Shan Zou Bian” in Chinese

 

As her imaginary previous life fascinated me so much, I decided to design the headpiece based on her last life story and research on the indigenous inhabitants of Ecuador as a starting point. It was at first difficult to figure out the ethnicity of Hawa in English and there was no Chinese information regarding the ethnic group she belonged to. However, after several rounds of research on the history of the indigenous people of Ecuador, I was able to confirm that Hawa’s ethnicity was Cañari. Research on history, culture  and custom of the Cañari was then further conducted.
Interestingly, I found the Cañari indians loved wearing hats. “Those of you who have been following our South American journey know how important, and ubiquitous, hats are to the people of the Andes. Fedoras are to be found everywhere, stovepipes are not uncommon, and the Cholas of Bolivia have turned blower hats into a jaunty fashion statement of national pride. Many wear straw hats, and in Ecuador at least, have them refurbished by painting them to make them last longer. I must also mention Panama hats, which are not from Panama at all, but are exclusively an Ecuadorian creation”, Alison and Don wrote in their post The Cañari of Ecuador, a ‘palace’ and a pig”. 

 

p1450898 copy 500 canaris loving wearing hats2

Nevertheless, among the different types of hats they wear, I found one kind that was particularly special. The hat is made with a wide brim and many strands of colourful yarns falling from the edge. The Cañaris usually wear it for festivals and celebrations.

 

canaris celebration

On the other side of my research, I discovered the Cañaris created a very unique moon worshipping system using large rocks. “The Incas worshipped the sun, but the Cañaris worshipped the moon. There are 28 holes on the larger rock, one for each day in a lunar month.  Each hole is drilled at a different angle and when water is added, the Cañaris would look at the reflection of the moon in the small pools. This was their way of receiving messages from their god.  The other “holey rocks” were most likely used to hold paint (for painting faces, textiles, etc), “ Mellisajane14 wrote in her blog “Ingaprica: Incas in Ecuador”.

 

ingapirca_calender_rock_small.1 copy

 

After a few rounds of research, I began to develop ideas for the design of the headpiece for Hawa. In the end I decided to make masks for her to wear, as I believed Hawa – the preexistence of San Mao should be a vague figure without revealing a clear face.

 

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Meanwhile, inspired by those bright, colourful yarns and holy rocks, I planned to seek and experiment with similar and relevant materials so as to resemble the Cañari elements. Wood and bamboo were selected due to their primitiveness associated with the Cañari indians. Clay and small rocks were also applied, echoing those incredible rocks.

 

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After the experimental trials with materials, a clearer image of the mask that I wanted to make gradually emerged. The try-outs with the clay mask as well as the small rocks didn’t turn out strong enough to mirror the Cañari moon worshipping system. However, the results of colourful yarns in combination with wood and bamboo were quite intriguing. Hence, I decided to further continue the mask concept mainly using yarn, bamboo and wood. As the techniques of applying yarns I developed during the experiments were different, I was suggested to make two masks using both techniques (yarn with wood and yarn with bamboo). In the first technique, long strands of yarn in selected colours were made and locked to an organic-shaped wooden stick that was found in the street, creating the idea of a mask that could cover most of the body. While in the other one, yarns were applied as components to bind the bamboo sticks.

 

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As I discovered that yarn strands in volume and layers would turn out more visually powerful in the form of masks, and bamboo sticks bound with brightly coloured yarns placing vertically would create a refreshing effect. Therefore, I decided to continue working on the mask of yarn strands by creating more volume in layers. On the other hand, I tried to come up with a few scale models to explore the overall shape of the bamboo mask. I found that a mask of bamboo sticks in different lengths and a more or less geometric shape could be primitive and fit well in the Cañari vibe. I eventually chose one shape that I thought would connect to the story the best and made a paper mock-up of it.

 

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Simultaneously, I kept working on the mask with layers of the yarn strands. In the initial plan, hemp rope was used to coin around both the ends of the wooden stick, building a vast contrast between the fineness of the yarn and roughness of the rope, while small gaps were left between the yarn and the rope for hair fixation, creating a way for Sanmao/Hawa to put the mask on. However, I discovered it would be even stronger to leave out the hemp rope and cover the rest of the wooden stick using only hair.

 

DSCF5217 small 950h hemp rope ard the stick

 

As for the bamboo mask, I continued building and finishing it according to the mock-up and came up with another means of fixation by attaching a few strands of straw rope to tie around Sanmao/Hawa’s body. The process of building was a bit struggling due to the difficulty of binding the slightly bended bamboo sticks.

 

DSCF5178 small 950h DSCF5189 small

Nevertheless, after two months of efforts, the masks were eventually finished. Although there were struggles and doubts, I was quite happy with the process as well as the results. After finishing the works, I decided to try them on for photo documentation. As you can see, the photos were taken in different settings. Wearing the colourful headpiece with the long yarn strands, I thought that it was necessary to feel the wind and frame the yarn flying moment at my balcony. I felt spiritual and  being transformed into a shaman from an Andes tribe. It was incredible. When I firstly put on the bamboo mask, I felt the urge of being completely natural. I wore the bamboo mask naked and did some tribal dancing and humming in my room. I felt happy and free then. In the end, I decided to keep the pictures taken at the balcony original and fresh, while adding some effects to the photos of the bamboo mask, making it a bit strange and whimsical.

 

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I’m certainly glad that my father introduced Sanmao’s books to me at my younger age, when talking about the relations between writing and experiences of life. Without her journeys, I believe that she couldn’t have told so many wonderful stories. And it definitely helped me to rediscover myself and to a certain extend shaped my view/values of life. To me life is a long journey after all. I  made these two masks for her/ her previous incarnation in remembrance of her free spirit. These two masks carry special meanings to me, as they were made for Sanmao – an incurable romantic, a lonely dreamer and a gifted drifter who I feel deeply in common with. 

 

Goodbye Sanmao.

 

 

 sanmao's photo with a white boarde w515

 

 

Physical letters


Monday, February 22, 2016

 

 

A

 

large_Curtain_2

 

This image is from a project of an hanging typeface that René Knip developed with Janno Hahn for the art academy in Istanbul, Turkey. I thought it was quite a beautiful image regarding typefaces and it got me curious with this idea of building curtains through the act of connecting letters.

In the first place I think it is interesting that we are speaking of objects now. Even though this typeface can and does work in an independent way when printed on a flat surface or on a digital platform, its design was developed based on the fact that it needed to work as a physical thing. The letters needed to be able to be hung and to connect between themselves.

 

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A drawing is a different mechanism and makes use of a wider freedom while when you need to construct or build something it is dependent on a big set of criteria. Not everything is possible and it is ok. :-) The material, the craft and the limitations of earthly conditions give some direction on the process of making the design. Possibly they add a new layer or content and richness.

 

There are two artists about whom I can speak shortly in this sense.

 

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Karl Nawrot (x) is a french graphic designer based in Lyon, France. We can say he has a very hands-on approach on the process of developing his designs. The  b&w image above shows two fases of the research for the typeface Lÿno that he designed in coöperation with Radim Pesko: first a sketch of cutout shapes made out of Albert Heijn packaging boxes that were later translated in a flat design. It is indeed a very experimental way of dealing with drawing, to try to find two-dimensional shapes through the making of three-dimensional sculptures.

 

Hiroaki Ohya is a Japanese fashion designer that has been working on the issue of clothing through a more artistic perspective. She transformed old t-shirts into letters (second picture above), keeping recognizable elements of the t-shirt, as neck and arm holes, and making letters that are readable.  They are intriguing pieces to look at, I feel, one doesn’t know if they are in fact still t-shirts or letters already.

 

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B

 

 

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Going a bit further I wonder what does it mean for a letter to become an isolated object…?

Look at that little G lost on the sidewalk…

(Probably nothing very important but) I cannot help myself from feeling a certain fascination, seeing them out of their context and physically engaged in my world. One thing about symbols and language is how abstract and mysterious they seem to be when you don’t know how to read them. And when they are taken out of their function of communication they get some of these qualities back and open up a space for poetic understandings.

 
printing-press-letters

 

One of the first times it did happen was probably with the invention of movable types on the Gutenberg press. Even though as stamps they were not meant to be read themselves, letters started to take up space and had to be organized by shape and volume, not as a message.

Representative of the democratization of books, letters as objects are also very representative of the alphabetization. It only makes sense to shape so many things in the world as letters because so many know how to read. And actually primary schools are one of the places where you are going to see more letters-objects and to hear the actual speaking of the A, the B or the C as individual entities. This is done in certain schools for pedagogic reasons to get the students familiarized with the alphabet before starting to make words and sentences

A possible association of meaning that one can make of letters as things is with the playfulness of childhood and all the memories of the beginning of education for those who can read. There’s quite an abstract feeling in learning and schools if one thinks of it…

 

“Do you know what ‘A’ means, little Piglet? It means learning,
it means education, it means all the things that you and Pooh haven’t got”

Winnie The Pooh

I found this quote in the book  ‘One letter words, A dictionary’,  by Craig Conley, in which he tries to find the possible meanings that each letter can have when used by itself. It is quite interesting to find out a letter can be or mean so much. However I also like the possibility of a more poetic and abstract meaning.

 

 

~~

 

 

João Vieira (1934-2009) was a portuguese artist very much interested in the alphabet as a theme and on the idea of using letters as objects for their poetics possibilities. Like the situation of the second video above: “a runway of letters”. Which latent meanings are at stake? Or is it a formal exercise?

 

joao_vieira_uma_rosa
uma rosa é

Mainly known as a painter of letters,
he said in 2006 “I started to paint letters because I wanted to make poems with painting”.

 

Quite curious to see the way how this Portuguese artist dealt with the canvas since there is not so much tradition of painting in Portugal. There is a lot of literary tradition though. His first paintings were abstract and gestual and depicted simple shapes;  later he started to work also with quotations from famous writers and with the form of the alphabetical letter by themselves. His interest by letters grew into sculpture and into performances. In his first performance The spirit of the Letter (1970) he built several letters in wood that were later destroyed by himself and a group of kids. It was the next year he did the performance Expansions (first video above) where he made giant ones out of foam, plastic and leather and used them to interact and play with the public.

 

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~~

C

 

The Latin alphabet is based on sounds, the signs are phonographs, and I think it is where some of the interest of the topic lays. Each letter only refers to a sound that is a small fragment of a message. Without that it is a very vague and abstract form or thing and we are attributing to it the materialism of a physical thing. What does this object refers to anyway??

These letters are objects that can get old and used, they can be torn apart, they have a space in our bowls and stomachs. You can touch them, kiss them if you like, throw them in the thrash.

The same way that we animate objects in our imagination – as in filling them with life and identity – we do the same with this letters which is a kind of complex thing at this point. A mute symbol of a sound playing its life again.  Yes, complex situation but only an ordinary detail of daily life business.

..

 

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zzZzee you aroud


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

SLOTHOUBER AND GRAATSMA

jan et willliam

Jan Slothouber is a Dutch architect and designer who often teamed up with his colleague William Graatsma who had the same background. We could also call them artists… Indeed, their status isn’t so clear. They both have been trained as architects working for the DSM (Dutch State Mines) in which they had the kind of privileged position to be very free in their buildings and creations. This way they could develop their interest : cubic constructions.
Considering the art movement of the time (i.e Cobra) as too elitist,they were much more interested to work with CUBE a simple, basic and humble shape, easy to reach for everybody. Also, working with such a basic and geometrical shape opens a lot of possibility and a much bigger diversity of work than an already complicated shape, usable only in a certain context.

According to this view on the Art Scene, they liked also to qualify themselves as « anonymous » and to work around social issues. But, they became famous when the Stedelijk Museum asked them to do an exhibition called Four Sides: Size, Shape, Colour, Letter (Vier Kanten: maat, vorm, kleur, letter). From this exhibition started a big enthusiasm around them, including lots of exhibitions and presentations, such as the Venice Biennial from 1970. [x]

Slothouber-Graatsma_vierkantenSlothouber-Graatsma_vierkanten2

Starting this period they built the Centre for Cubic Constructions (CCC) for which they are very famous. But a few years later, when they’ve been asked to design stamps in favor of children charity, and they used their now famous style to give those stamps value, a lot of people were very skeptic regarding this choice : Slothouber and Graatsma were indeed judged too « avant grade » not accessible enough for the average people. Which is exactly for what they were fighting against.

 

RICHARD ARTSCHWAGER

artschwager

Richard Artschwager is an American sculptor and painter. He Studied Science and Mathematics. After studying he worked as a cabinet-maker. He got to be pretty successful with his furniture untill his studio and all his contents was destroyed by a fire in 1958. After this he started to work more as an artist, this was in the time that abstract expressionism influenced the arts.[x]

After the 60’s his work is mostly pop- minimal- and conceptual art.
His work had a dichotomy between painting and sculpture, abstraction and representation, industrial manufacture and hand craftsmanship. The works are on one side sculptures and on the other hand pictures of objects. His craftsmanship for making furniture enabled him to make artworks with an identity and function that brings subject materiality, form and space into a balanced combination. Artschwager experimented with basic forms and materials, for example in his work Handle (1962), a handrail shaped in to a frame. The work is simultaneously pictorial and sculptural. Via an utilitarian and aesthetic approach he creates works that emphasize space.

In 1963 Artschwager starts to work with Formica, a new material, synthetic laminate, which was used a lot in furniture making because it was cheap and resilience. Artschwager: “It was Formica which touched it off. Formica, the great ugly material. the horror of the age, which i came to like suddenly because i was sick of looking at all this beautiful wood.” For Artschwager the Formica is a picture of a piece of wood. If you take that and make something out of it, than you have an object. But its a picture of something at the same time, its an object. By covering box-shaped plates with Formica in different colours and textures he creates a composition of domestic objects. In this way he pushes a painting in to three dimensions. mirror/mirror – table/table (1964) and later on triptych II (1967)

table 1964

mirror-mirror-table-table-1964_800 Table and Chair 1963-4 by Richard Artschwager 1923 - 2013

 

SCALE

This research is about the differences between art and design, we compare an artist and a design couple that both had their artworks in the exhibition ‘Setting the Scene’ at the Boijmans van Beuningen Museum. Both of our artists/designers shared the room themed by scale. To which extent is this the right theme to connect them to?

Scaling down is used in architecture to present large designs for building projects in a manageable format, as a floor plan or a scale model. Design and art also use scale models as way of crystallizing and communicating ideas and research. They can be used to experiment freely with form, scale, material, and details – after all a model does not always have to have a ratio of one to one in the real world.

Scaling up or down need not always be a practical solution; it may be and end in itself. A functional object can be made dysfunctional by enlarging it, reducing it or making it from unconventional material. Deviating from the human scale changes an object’s relationship with the human body. And if you enlarge a recognizable pattern far enough it transforms into an abstract structure of its own accord. The surrounding space is also a factor: you see things fundamentally differently when you see them from a distance or stand very close to the object. Scale changes one’s view of things.

 

CONNECTION WITH SCALE

We think that in Artschwagers work scale isn’t a central point. The alienating effect of modifying scale, is something that Arschwager achieves via material and playing with assumptions. The way he works is different but the result has similar aspects. The work in the exhibition, Counter III, is probably the only work that has a different proportion, but we think his works more relate to form and space. A form that is recognizable for his works is the cube, which is a central shape as well in the works of Slothouwer en Graatsma, our artists relate more in form than in scale. Indeed they’re using the cube for its simplicity and thus the diversity of composition it offers. Slothouber and Graatsma are then able to play endlessly with scale. The cube can be the piece in itself, as well as an essential element (like an atom) to build a bigger form not necessarily with a cube shape. The cube can be the final object or the substance of the object.
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SlothouberGraatsma

There is a clear difference shown between art and design that also matches the common view on this distinction, the works of the artist are not for use even though they look like in first sight, the works of the designer are based on shapes that are not immidiatly recognisble as domestic objects.

 

 

BREAD


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

I spent approximately 3 months doing intermittent research and experiments related to bread making. I looked a lot at the process of making bread, the associations and relationship that we have with bread and tried to think about bread making in a different way from what has become such a stable and set way of working with and interpreting bread. This all sounds a bit silly, and in a lot of ways it was – one of the conclusions I came to was that because bread has been such a common practice for such a long time that the way that it is done has been refined so much that it does not need a design student to come along and ‘re-invent’ it. When I came to this realization in many ways it opened me up to experiment more and in different ways without worrying about the experiments having any particular meaning or significance.

Punch

I started my project by getting up at 4 in the morning and spending a few hours watching a professional baker work and talking with him about bread and baking. I was amazed at how he seemed to always know exactly what needed doing next, he almost never paused to think about what the next thing to do was. A good moment was when I had just arrived, he was pouring out some walnuts from a large bag into a bowl and one dropped on the floor; thinking to be helpful I picked it up and after a pause of not knowing where to put it I set it down on the corner of the metal work surface. Issa instantly picked it up and put it in a small bowl lower down and gave me a bit of a smiley but ‘what an idiot’ look which was fair, I hadn’t considered the hygiene level in a professional food environment!

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One thing that I particularly liked about watching the baker work was the scoring of the bread before it goes into the oven. I originally thought it was just an aesthetic thing but it is an important element as it allows the bread to rise properly and cook more evenly, by scoring in a controlled way it also means the bread does not just split in random places. As a result of these thoughts I decided to do a small workshop with 4 of my class mates where I provided them with a piece of dough each and a razor blade and encouraged them to form their dough in whatever way they wanted and to try avoid the conventional way that bread looks. It was a fun experiment and brought a diverse range of results which I think pose an interesting question to how we all have a very set way of what we expect bread to look like and how it can be altered.

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As a continuation from that workshop I thought again about the lack of experience and in particular tactile experience that we have with bread even though most of us are so familiar with it as the finished product. For my next experiment I decided to teach a friend of mine who has very little interest in cooking/baking and virtually no experience in bread making but eats bread almost every day how to make bread.

Having watched a professional at work and been inspired to go and experiment with baking myself I wanted to pass on the experience that I had had onto someone who was unlikely to have experienced it before. I guided my friend through the simplest bread making and talked to him about his connection, or lack of it, with bread. As I am just learning myself it was enjoyable to guide him though it in an amateur way and work certain things out together at points and the discussion was entertaining. I was not looking to inspire him to become a regular baker but just to share the experience of making bread and hope that it would change his relationship with the thing he eats so often.

I also enjoyed the extreme amateur situation that we were doing it in, we did it in my tiny student accommodation kitchen and improvised a lot of parts where we didn’t have the space/equipment that a professional would use. This extension of the amateur level that we were baking at was something I enjoyed particularly because it shows just how simple bread making can be.

These are just a few examples of experiments that i tried out during my process, the project is ongoing and now I bake my own sourdough bread once a week and continue to experiment with the shape and ways that we look at and use bread.

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Scan 25

Personal Mass


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

I decided to visit a glass factory, I met Just who controls the machines that generates 200.000 beer bottles per 8 hours. I wanted to see the mass production of daily glass objects, wine glass, beer bottles etc. The contrast between the two images that glass has: The cheap, functional mass product and the crafted, expensive, complicated, cultural acknowledged glass, was clearly visible in the factory visiting the production part and the craftsman department. Both in the same factory, two completely different stories.
I decided to learn to make my own hand crafted beer bottle to combine the cheap image of a beer bottle with the expensive one of crafted glass. This process was longer, intenser, more impossible and way more difficult then I ever thought. In the end this process, of searching for  methods getting to know the material (a little bit) and working together with all the elements that need to be just right in order for the glass to do what you want it to do, took over the functionality of the bottle.
You work in service of the glass, if not it will master you. I had to adept towards what the glass needed, the time, the pressure, temperature. I could wish for all that I wanted but there was only one way to go. The focused and calm research of the glass. It feels silly or a bit like a cliche, but the glass forced me to work in a way which I often try but where I also often fail, it made me really be in the process.

 

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Measuring the bottle  Blow a bubble Take glass two times

Blow

Shape it Glass to thin at the bottom Broke when putting in cool down oven Blow a bubble

                                     Take glass two times

Blow

Bubble a bit small

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Shape it

When putting in the oven    Broke

Blow a bubble     Take glass two times   Really hot Blow   Bubble a bit small     Shape it     Put in oven  Heavy

Blow a bubble        Shape it         Really thin glass      Broke when putting in the oven

 

Get a piece of colored glass    Blow a bubble     Take glass two times

 

 

IMG_1149

Shape

                             Blow

                                                   Shape
Bottom to thin
Broke when putting in the oven

Get two pieces of colored glass  Mix them Blow a bubble   Take glass two times

Shape

Blow

Shape

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Open cold wind

Glass cools down

Falls off

Broke

 

Make shape in sand  Make sand wet Poor glass into shape  Sand to wet starts to boil  Making a glass volcano

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Making a mold from plaster  Get glass  Blow a bubble More glass                 Blow  More glass  Blow  More glass

                                                                                                 Blow

Turn a lot

Shape a bit Wait for perfect temperature Open mold Let the mass sink perfect timing closing the mold

Press mold as tight as possible

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Blow

Blow

Blow

Blow

Blow

Press

Open mold Take out the glass

Cool a bit

Make a cutting line Glass to cool for cutting line Broke

Fall down Transfer to cool down oven asap

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Blow Turn a lot  Shape a bit Wait for perfect temperature

Open mold Let the mass sink Perfect timing closing the mold

Press mold as tight as possible

Blow

Blow

Blow

Blow

Blow

PPPPPPPFFFFFFFFF

Press Open mold                 To little glass and to cool                     Take out the glass

Cool a bit and Transfer to cool down oven asap

Get colored glass Making a mold form plaster Blow a bubble

Get more glass Blow   More glass Blow   More glass  Blow    More glass

                                                                  Wait

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turn a lot Shape a bit Wait for perfect temperature Open mold Guide mass of glass bubble into mold Let the mass sink Way to hot and to much glass Drops quickly to the bottom Try to safe glass by pulling the pipe all the up                Pressing the mold

Blowing

Pressing

Blowing

pressing

Glass goes trough the sides of the mold Open mold Glass still soft

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Rest glass on floor get gloves Pick up glass  Bring to cool oven

 

My associations with the Bird chair


Saturday, March 28, 2015

 

So many times I have seen chairs with an adjustable back; but I have never had any ideas where this design came from. To be honest, I was not so much interested in it, because I never liked it. However, when a previous tenant of my flat left a nice rush chair, which looks like a chair from the Van Gogh painting, I suddenly became more interested in it. I was wondering if I had this almost original Van Gogh chair, a chair of one of my favorite artists, or at least a copy of it.

a van gogh`s chair

Than I saw this rush chair at an chair exhibition and I was wondering again. I tried to get more information in the books and found out that this style was brought into fashion again by William Morris. I have never heard of his name before and became interested. I found amazing the way he looked at the world, how what he was making is directly connected to his perception of life.

Being under the strong influence of medievalism while studying Classics at Oxford University, William Morris became significant figure of revival of traditional British methods of production of the textile. He was also designing wallpaper, fabrics, the stained glass windows and so on. In 1861 William Morris and his friends from the the Pre-Raphalites have found  furnishings and decorative arts company Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co, which became later Morris & Co. Moreover, Morris was also known as a poet and novelist. In other words, he was a very versatile person and became a role model for me in some way.

Suddenly, reading some book about him, I found information that he was that person, who has created the first chair with an adjustable back, exactly such type of chairs which I did not like. I also found a picture of this chair ,which is called Bird, and was so amazed by it. How it is different from all the similar latest chairs I have seen!

a chair with an adjustable back william morris`s chair `bird` with an adjustable back

What I liked a lot is that feeling of coziness which this chair gives me. Of course it is very old fashioned and maybe too fancy and frilly, but to me it seems so comfortable and inviting. Usually, I prefer the use of minimalistic shapes and simple colours in art and design. But in case with this chair I feel like if I would have such chair somewhere in my old fashioned library, where I would have the same amount of books as Rijksmuseum does, for example, and where I could feel the specific smell of the books or somewhere on the attic, I would sit on it reading, thinking or just enjoying my sitting. It is making a special atmosphere for me because of the warm colors and a middle age pattern with a lot of small details. All its birds, fruit, flowers create a new world, when you look at it for a while. It reminds me myself at the age of 5-6, watching the illustrations by Russian artist Ivan Bilibin.

an illustration by Bilibin

They were also quite simple, but because of ornaments it was kind of imaginary traveling to the fantasy world for me. This chair gives me the feeling of infinite calmness. I think that only peaceful and calm person could create it.

While reading about William Morris, I realized that most of the times when I like some artist`s works a lot, I try not to read about this person and don’t see the pictures of his face, because sometimes his biography or facial expression ruins all my perception of his art and then I do not like it anymore. However, it did not happen in the case of Willam Morris and I still do not know why.

I found his art so organic and so suitable to his life, thoughts, home and even his face. I could not imagine another person doing such art. I also found him similar with one of my favorite Russian artist and writer of 19th century Konstantin Korovin, who was a good friend of Feodor Chaliapin.

a painting by Korovin

He is the second person of whom I was so happy to read, and who also, in my opinion, did not have any dissonance between his art and his point of view, which was quite similar to William Morris his ideas. Korovin liked the nature and he also was trying to make everything around him beautiful, thinking that natural beauty has a huge influence on people, their lives and behavior.

william morris konstantin-korovin

But continuing about Morris, I found his patterns for wall paper and  the book designs so elegant. Once he said: ‘I began printing books with the hope of producing some which would have a definite claim to beauty, while at the same time they should be easy to read and should not dazzle the eye……I found I had to consider chiefly the following things: the paper, the form of the type, the relative spacing of the letters, the words, and the lines; and lastly the position of the printed matter on the page‘.

a book design by William Morris

His book designs are so fairy and detailed, although not readable at all, at least to me. But it inspired me a lot and also reminded some of the old engravings depicting plants and animals. I felt like trying to do something similar, something really small and precise and I drew a silly painting depicting a beetle with a boy`s face. Of course it was not a serious work, but still after seeing William Morris`s works I had a lot of thoughts and ideas in my head, which I wanted to immediately realize.

a beetle with a boy`s face

I found out later (which was quite to be expected) that I am not the only person who was inspired by his book designs. So many people were trying to continue work in this style later. For example, such as the US artists Elbert Hubbard or W. A. Dwiggins, however some of them had not the best reputation. For instance, a daughter of William Morris called May believed that Hubbard was an obnoxious imitator of my dear father.

elbert hubbard`s book

It can be true, but I see Hubbard’s books more readable, although less decorative and precise. Anyway, I think it is not that bad, when one artist creates something inspiring for other artists, who start using or copying this style in their works. It just shows again the ingenuity of the inventor. Especially, talking about William Morris, who has definitely done a lot for arts and crafts in so many fields.

In this research it was very interesting for me not only to get to know more about some subject that was my starting point, but also to see how this subject brings you to something completely different. As I wrote, even if you have no desire of getting more information about something particular, this something can bring you to completely different field which can do affect you. It gives you this possibility to see the same not interesting from the beginning thing, but from the different angle, and then you are more into it.

I still do not know anything about the rush chair, but just because I started searching for information about it, it brought me to William Morris and now I know a lot about him and also about the adjustable chair, which did not had my interest before, but now.Now I know it’s story, I like it as a design product.

Waterman


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Waterman

Sportsfigures_240_WatermanBrooch

I have chosen the Waterman Brooch from the series, combining a postcard of a Bruce Weber image with the diamond ring of the commissioner. Bakker bought the image as a postcard from a secondhand store in New Orleans, then embellished it with white gold and diamonds that resemble water droplets flowing from the bucket down the model’s muscular back. The movement and elegance in the original image was heightened by the placement of the gemstones. Bakker eventually created two additional brooches using the same image; one is in the collection of the Stedelijk Museum ’s-Hertogenbosch, the other in a private collection.

Gijs Bakker (1942) is a Dutch jewerly and industrial-designer, educated at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and the Konstfack Skolan in Stockholm. Over the years, he has taught at various European art academies and worked on numerous commercial collaborations, creating everything from furniture through jewelry to public spaces. In 1985, Bakker began to use easily available and recognizable images of popular figures for his Sports figure series.

Passing by these items in the museum has made me doubtful about if it’s serious or some sort of joke ending up in the kitschy result. I’ve found this contradictional impression interesting enough to deal with it a bit further.

But what is jewellery’s role in our modern and future lives?

In the late 1960s, Gijs Bakker and Emmy Van Leersum, created a furor with their avant-garde jewelry and clothing that fused fashion, design, and art. They were the first to make minimal jewelry out of unorthodox materials, such as aluminum and plexiglas. The pair set of a real revolution in jewelry design. Bakker and Van Leersum’s breakthrough came in 1967 when they presented their vision of a total concept of fashion and jewelry with a spectacular show at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. It was a provocation after which jewelery totally changed,especially on the subject of the concept of beauty and functionality.

 

MS04foto_matthijs schrofer_lowres

 

The most famous item of jewelry featured in the show is undoubtedly Bakker’s Stovepipe Necklace (with matching bracelet), now an icon of Dutch design. Bakker was the first designer to create a piece of jewelry of such audacity and on such a scale. It was a provocation.

 

The-Gijs-and-Emmy-Spectacle-exhibition-at-the-Stedelijk-Museum_dezeen_3

 

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https://vimeo.com/89612291

Afterwards his role in dutch jewelry design became really important in Holland, it changed the view on jewelry.

 

In 1993 he founded Droog Design, a Dutch collective of designers, products and information, together with design critic and historian Renny Ramakers. Together with Ramakers, Bakker was the selector and art director of all products within Droog. Droog works with independent designers to design and realize products, projects, exhibitions and events. During the Milan Furniture Fair in 1993, the duo presented a selection of sober designs made of industrial materials and found objects. The presentation was titled ‘Droog Design’, because of the simplicity and dry humor of the objects. The Droog collection is curated by Renny Ramakers and consists of around 200 products by more than a hundred designers. New designs are often developed and presented in relation with exhibitions “Saved by Droog” is an element of Droog design that buys up stock and transforms it into something completely new with a distinct voice and purpose. It’s more than sustainable design; it’s a “reflection of the designer’s creativity.

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droog design [x]

In current design projects Bakker investigates the relation between craft and design. Since 2009, he is exploring this theme in his role as creative director for HAN Gallery, formerly known as Yii in Taiwan.His new series ‘Go for Gold’ emphasizes the importance of gold in the competitive world of sports, business and politics. By laser-welding gold on titanium or by laser-cutting gold under titanium, the brooches literally go for gold.

 

 „I am watching football in the same way as I am watching ballet”

 

The Sport figures series used copies of images from various newspapers of athletes in track along with contrasting, valuable materials like gold for example – to emphasize and highlight a particular moment. The practice of this clash of substances ends up in a playful tension that comes from having precious gems combined with an everyday object, bringing focus (or questioning) the borderline between „cheap” and „expensive” materials.

Does the use of valuable material makes something a jewelry (as the commissioner ask for it) or does it become a design piece driven by the vision of the maker himself?

Since he was fluently shifting through content, character, and medium it makes it hard to categorize the Sports figure series. Visual references from sports, automotive, and history are imbued with a trademark postmodern stance: sarcastic, ironic, and unsubtly nonconforming.

All of the works demonstrate his unconventional relationship with his discipline, as Bakker once admitted, „I dislike jewelry. I dislike the behavior of jewelry buying ladies. I dislike ladies jewelry. jewelry shops depress me. if jewelry is only decorative, I lose interest. I like jewelry because it is absolutely superfluous. I like jewelry because it is never a prior functional. I like jewelry because like clothes, it is closest to our body and says something about the wearer. a painting is hung on the wall and can be ignored. a piece of jewelry is worn and creates an impression.”

 

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For the first look the Waterman seemed for me like objects what you find in shops selling useless stuff for tourist, ranging the weirdest combinations of taste and culture.  Yet Bakker’s main approach was driven by the concept over the final product. So instead of the craftmanship’s usual categories, he tried to focus on the driving thought behind the piece, which in this case was the clash of materials, a surprising marriage between the every dayness of the paper cut picture and the stones. For me, this piece is still about the beauty itself (like all jewellery), just inviting a rather unusual form of it, at least within this field. But picking athletes somehow still tells about the beauty, so this piece becomes a celebration of the natural born beauty, combined and emphasized by the diamonds, which becomes a secondary tool for this purpose rather then the main „attraction” or message of the work. Like if it would pass it’s shine to the photo itself.

Yet I think that next to all the importance of conceptual approach, the visual and applied design principle shouldn’t be left behind too much, especially in an originally and historically applied discipline like jewellery. I feel that it’s just not the right tool or way to mediate such a message. Let’s be honest, a jewel is made for wearing, but who would walk around in a piece like Waterman?

 

MODEL SCULPTURE & DRAGONS


Sunday, January 11, 2015

A model is initially an object whose purpose is either to represent the real world or to be translated into the real world, in short the model can be a copy of reality or reality a copy of the model. The main difference is in terms of scale. Usually the model is a miniature of reality. But what more can it be? When we look at a toy car and a car, what do we see? Is the toy car just a replica of the car in a tiny scale? It is hard to analyze such a thing but I think that there is a huge difference triggered by (but not exclusively) the change of scale. When the toy car is made, it has no longer the same purpose as the car does. A child playing with it might as well imagine it just as real as the car and drive it around with his fingers, or see it in a whole new world, making it fly away, fist-fight and dance Rock n’ Roll. The new scale for things sometimes creates a new meaning for them above representation, a new reality even if they are seemingly the same object in different sizes.

model

sketch model of van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam by Gerrit Rietveld [object: SM]

In 1963-1964, the furniture designer and architect Gerrit Rietveld (1888-1964) designs the Amsterdam Van Gogh Museum. In 1964 the architect dies before the project is finished. The building is completed by his partners  J. Van Dillen and J. Van Tricht, and the construction was concluded in 1973. The model exposed in the design collection of the Stedelijk was produced by Gerrit Rietveld in those first two years. It is a sketchy model made of wood, paper, cardboard and glass. The final building is close but does not respect this concept, with a unified color of brick and very little white (from front).
I present this piece for multiple reasons. First, because in my personal taste, I prefer this version from the finished one. Rich in contrast between black and white rectangles overlapping each other, the building has the balanced complexity of the Rietveld style although the shapes which compose it stay simple and limited (only colors: white, black and blue) which gives sobriety to the building. When we look at the final museum’s front view, the unity in brick color makes the building lose its striking composition at first sight, for the overlapping rectangles melt into each other. The second reason why I chose this model is because of the way it was made, without any connection to the building itself. I see in between the other models of the museum [x], well built, detailed and clean; something of a stain. On a dirty piece of wood on which we can see quick pencil sketches for the display, an irregular, clumsy, and worn little building is erected. The colors are simply indicated by a rapid and un-precise use of color pencils ( blue and black). The materials used are cheap, and if we try we might not even find one horizontal or vertical line. And yet it is beautiful, marrying complexity and simplicity in form and color, with a rich diversity of cheap materials. Its cheapness gives it a poetic and rough authentic aspect, we see that it was handmade.

collage-model

 

 

James Castle

This may remind us of James Castle’s sown cardboard sculptures, which are made of scrap which gives them strength, or Bill Traylor’s choice (and no choice) of using cheap surfaces like cardboard for his paintings.

Bill Traylor blue man with suitcase                                                               James Castle

 

 

The model is in addition to this, very close to the final version. That sketchy but precise model shows the talent of Gerrit Rietveld as an architect, like the lines of a great draftsman. Its clumsiness along with the use of paper, lightly put together and slight curved, gives a feeling of fragility and tenderness which contrasts with the strongly built shapes of Rietveld’s buildings or the roughness of the materials.
I love this model because –to me– it is not a model anymore but a sculpture that contrasts with what we usually see, giving a new idea of his work and of what a model can be, even though it was not intended to become a piece of art. A model can be seen in ways that exceed its limits as a technical object.

A perfect embodiment of this idea is seen in the Tim Burton film Beetlejuice. The movie takes place in a small town and specifically in a house on top of a hill overlooking the town. In the opening scene (link here and here for the end with spider) a fake areal shot of the town is taken on a model of the town one of the main characters has built. We are tricked into believing that we are flying over a forest to finally overlook the whole town, then fly over and across it all the way to the house on top of the hill. Although it is possible to see that the scene is really shot on a model, the illusion is strong, and we are astonished to see a real spider (this time) which seems to be the size of a hippo, climb over the roof and be picked up by a real (gigantic) hand. What this illusion does is it gives life to the model, it gives it a new reality, and this is proved later on in the movie when we discover that the model has an “inhabitant”. When the protagonists are changed to the scale of the model, (in this scene) they come to its graveyard to dig up the main antagonist, Beetlejuice. In this case, the change of scale from real world to model is more than representation, the real world and the model are entangled, mingled into each other, whilst the two are different, the real world and the new world of the model. The model can open a whole new world for our imagination to create, a transcendental realm full of fire, wonder, and dragons.

Form follows fact


Monday, December 1, 2014

Cow chair was made in 1997 as a graduation project by the dutch designer Niels van Eijk. It is made from a single untreated cowhide which is stretched while soaking wet around a pre-consisting chair. It is left on the chair for a week until it has dried into a solid form. The idea was born when the designer looked down at his shoes and noticed how perfectly they were shaped around his feet. If this was possible, cowhide must have the quality to take on other forms, he thought, such as the shape of a chair. Van Eijk claims he is not a man of many words, he focuses on material and methods, which is clear in the case of the Cow chair. Despite that I think this chair is filled with relevant messages and comments on how we make and consume the objects surrounding us. It redefines the conventional use of familiar materials, It has strong relation to the discussion of using local recourses and it puts our attitude towards using animal products in context.

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cow chair by Niels van Eijk 

The Cow chair does not try to conceal the single material used in its making. It almost looks like a newly skinned hide, having been laid on a chair at the tannery, waiting for further processing. Even the name of it has a very direct purpose, you are supposed to know that this chair was made of cowhide.
Normally, leather products have undergone such an intense working process that they do not remind us of they’re origin as much as the Cow chair does. As people of modern society, specially in the western world, have managed to distance ourselves from the source of the products we use that when we are exposed to the real thing a feeling of surprise or even repulsion arises. Sitting in a Chesterfield eating a fillet somehow feels more comfortable to most people than snacking on pigs ears and feeling the familiar texture of a cow behind your back.
Since 1997 several designers have experimented with the use of untreated leather or familiar animal body parts and taken the familiarity of they’re origin even further than Van Eijk. The artist Nandipha Mntambo uses the same method of stretching leather to form hides around her body as sculpture material. By leaving the hides unshaven she achieves feminine, yet animal like objects. She wants to address the things we demand of the female body, and how we want to change it, shape it, shave it bare.

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mirror image by Nandipha Mntambo • precious skin by Viktoria Ledig

Viktoria Ledig, a Swedish designer, used the tail, head and ears among other parts of the cow that otherwise would have been thrown away to make a line of products called precious skin. She tanned the body parts with a method that kept all the characteristics of the skin, so the final products had obvious wrinkles and blemishes along with a pale yellowish colour not so different from a humans skin. When describing the reason behind the project she asserts the following:
Leather is dead animal skin. This is perhaps the raw reason behind the human fascination with it. It is beautiful, precious and grotesque at the same time. We sometimes forget that touching leather is to handle a former living being’s hide.

The project and other similar ones for example Rachel Freire´s nipple dresses have caused a strong negative reaction, a louder outrage than is heard every time a designer puts out a more conventional product made from animal products.
When Jan van Eijk later formed a studio with his wife and co-designer Van der Lubbe, they designed a product with a more deliberate intention of discussing use of animal products. They used mole rats that had been killed on golf courses in order to make the experience of golf playing more comfortable. The product was a pair of loafers made from the whole body of the rat, hair, tail, nose and feet still attached. I think this work is a great example of putting our claim on nature into context. Although the making of these loafers used material that otherwise would have gone to waste, wearing them is an uncanny reminder of the animals fate. In the same way removal of an unwelcome animal only for increasing human leisure seems unnecessary or even cruel but it can easily be hushed or forgotten.

 

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leather football shoes by Adias • mole shoes by Van Eijk and van der Lubbe

The method Van Eijk used to mould the leather is very inspiring. The finished object is not soft and smooth but hard solid enough to stand on its own as well as supporting  a human being. I think it invites us to discover endless ways of using hide to construct objects. It isn´t too different from the way many nations made their first books, or the way old drums and other instruments are constructed.

By stretching the hide with water there is no need to use toxic chemicals to preserve the material and prevent it from rotting. This is on the other hand unavoidable when tanning leather, even if it is done in the most eco-friendly way. So in fact using the hide as done with the Cow chair and the other things mentioned above makes far much more sense than using it to make soft articles such as shoes and clothing.

 

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Making of prototype 1 by Garðar Eyjólfsson

Garðar Eyjólfsson uses a similar method of shaping leather while making lamps by pouring hot water over it. Instead of selling the lamp around the world he shares the way of shaping the lamp shade with a video. By using such a simple method and sharing it on the web he makes it possible for people everywhere to make use of it. He transports an idea, not a material, and therefor makes it possible to produce the lamp in different places with local materials. I see that same quality in the Cow chair as well.

In the times where our consumption of material is unsustainable and our sources do not renew themselves fast enough it becomes a part of the designers job to go out of his way to source new solutions. Contemporary experiments with bioplastics, biomimicry and new ways of recycling are a important part of this process. But I think it is equally important to reinvestigate our old materials, our old methods, just as Jan van Eijk did while designing the Cow chair. How can we use them or parts of them to create things in a better way than we are doing now?

Stedelijk Design Show 2015 /Relevant Highlights


Monday, December 1, 2014

 

16 Rietveld Basic Year students visited the Amsterdam Stedelijk Museum to examine the items in the permanent survey of the design collection.

Does the Stedelijk exhibit all these design items simply because they are in their depot.

Do the collection criteria still have any significance today.

Do these design items have any relevance for us, our life or work,now? Is it possible to make a clear statement about that.

If you click on the image a caption will appear –just as a in a real museum– presenting information and a personal reflection on why that item is considered relevant. You can review the whole exhibition in pop-up mode.

 

click on images to visit the exhibit

Gijs_Bakker_Waterman_2_Cropped

modelWieke_stool_SM

PatrickJouinWelcome-To-The-StoreBeowatch_SM2

tafel-stoelunfolded

DSC_0321 Schuitema_300

superstudio_gherpe_flippedVaclavCigler_headband

cow-chair_flipped Paulina_glass

 


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