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"skills" Tag


I TRIED TO MAKE AN ASHTRAY


Tuesday, April 23, 2019
                                                 I TRIED TO MAKE AN ASHTRAY
At the bauhaus exhibition in the Boijmanns museum where many interesting objects and images were exhibited I started taking pictures of all the things that I liked and that interested me. After the exhibition I was still clueless what subject or object i wanted to focus on. I was interested in many parts of the exhibition but didn’t really know how to connect it to myself or to my situation at the Rietveld academy at the moment. 
Every now and then I looked through the pictures I took from the exhibition and also the catalog of the exhibition and noticed that I had taken quite some pictures of ashtrays that where exhibited. I asked myself where that interest was coming from. 
When i think of myself trying out a new material or trying to find a design, the first thing that comes to my mind is making an ashtray and I think that is something many people do in the beginning. It makes sense to start with something small and not so complicated, it makes sense to try something first where only a small amount of skills and abilities is needed, it makes sense to start like a little child by playing with a material and form, for example a vase, a teacup or an ashtray. 
I then tried to think about the students in the „Vorlehre“ in the bauhaus school and imagined that they may also started out trying a new material with making ashtrays. Also an ashtray is a decor object that is often located in the middle of a room easy accessible  for everyone but at the same time function as a design statement.
I choose one of the ashtrays from the bauhaus exhibition, it was a design by Nicolaas Petrus de Koo, I choose this ashtray in particular because i felt like the time in which it was produced was really well represented in the design and color. It took the art language of that time for example Mondrian and translated it into an every day object and at the same time it really represented the motive „form follows function“.
Form follows function was a principle associated with 20th-century modernist architecture and industrial design which meant that the shape of a building or object should primarily relate to its intended function or purpose. I think thats a really logical and sensual approach to not focus on all the „ornaments“ around but to set the focus on the pureness and the beauty of the function.
Nicolaas Petrus de Koo was a Dutch designer , book binding designer and interior designer. In the period 1901- 1905 he received his education at the Rijksschool voor kunstnijverheid Amsterdam. After spending some time in Vienna , he established himself as an architect in Baarn in 1907. In 1910 after his marriage, he became a partner at a Rotterdam furniture company. At that time he designed furniture for fellow members of the Rotterdam Art Circle. 
I imagined to be part of the zeitgeist of that time to experience the process of reproducing an exact and  polished design.
So I went and  bought some clay and started carving it and forming it. While doing that i noticed that it is going to be hard to make it look as precise as the original version. 
i tried to imagin the process of an bauhaus school student. Before they created an end product they must have made several steps and try outs to come to an end result that looked finished and not crafted.
In that sense I think that the Rietveld academy education and the bauhaus school education really differ from each other.
At the bauhaus school one received a quite specific education that would provide you with skills to produce design objects and images. The education started with a different approach, where you first learn how to produce an object, carpet, form etc. and on the ground of these tools developing a design language. 
At the Rietveld Academy on the other hand it seems the way to achieve your goals is more about thinking and reflecting and being aware of yourself and what is happening in the process. If you want to learn skills and abilities, go for it.

  

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I get excited by old stuff.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

 

an old and very shiny little bowl to drink from.

wear a simular creation on top of your head.

a cup with a lid.

another hair accessory from horn, gold and diamonds. fancy stuff. this is a ring. with something like a lock inside. if you do not read dutch you can only emagine what it is for. it looks mechanical. porcelain parrot. no purpose.

a glass model of a big and powerful canon!

for making coffee. made from silver and bone. this is a shiny container for sugar. these are for storing liquid.

i do not know what this is. but i know i like it. someone was ment to drink from this. h 38,0cm × b 61,0cm seal ring. nice. very very old.

this is a porcelain monkey holding a snuff box.

this is for serving gravy. lots of it. this is a cup for something. another knife for food. even older than the first.

this is a tiny eg that can open. and close. finger ring. from back when diamonds where a little rougher. this is a jar with dead stuff from the ocean.

 

Old things are exiting because they are old. These things where made because it was possible, with the aim of perfection. carefully created with perfect skill. looking at beautiful things makes me smile. In the old days, rich people acquired these artifacts, because they could. To show off, and to create a visible distance from the people who couldn’t afford the decadent lifestyle they represented. A similar trend is still present today.  Nowadays they buy overpriced modern design or old and rare stuff, but the concept is the same. Being able to surround my self with beautiful things, of which the design has no practical function, is a privilege, that I enjoy very much. Even if it is just for the time I am hanging out in a museum, or in  a fancy place of someone else. I am fascinated by old things because they are old and rare. They come from another world. One that I can never become a part of.

 

violin. most likely with a crappy sound. watch. this is a glass. it is nice.

this is jewelry. for wearing. it is also a whistle this is a wooden dog. for no purpose.

9 bottles for expensive liquid. in a box that fit!

pocket watch. a whole lot of detail on 5cm. a mug. this, i think, is for storing cutlery.

old and thin container for liquid. pretty cabinet. very locked. this is where to put the salt for the table. there are 2 of them. some one had 2 of these.

birds cage. for tiny bird.

old, heavy and shiny. for tea and coffee. this container is either for soup or potatoes. it is 1 piece of a very much bigger set.

really old guns in a box that fit! put hands in these. to show you dont need to use them.

a little, old, sculpture of a grotesque monster. no purpose. fancy snuff box. made of solid gold. very old and very expensive table. could possibly contain all my belongings. one in each drawer.

items from the collection of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

 

An essay concerning what I think of Design and Art and Crafts and ugly glass objects and Christien Meindertsma and her PIG05049 and her Single Sheep Sweaters.


Saturday, May 25, 2013

I find Design a difficult term. When I think of Design objects, I think of the Museum für Angewandte Kunst in Frankfurt, which I, to my rather substantial displeasure, accidentally visited once during a school trip.
The building contained a few rooms filled with all sorts of glass Design objects, ranging from a little unpleasant to straight up horrible stuff. According to Wikipedia, the museum exhibits “more than 30,000 objects representing European and Asian decorative arts.” All I saw were contemporary glass lamps and mobiles and vases pretending to be all sorts of extremely valuable and expensive.
Having said all these mean things about Design, I myself completed an education in Graphic Design not that long ago. I have caught myself calling myself a Graphic Designer quite a few times.
Christien Meindertsma is also often called a Designer. In her bio a position on this matter is not being made, but in her CV the word Design appears very often. (It also says that in 2010 she was part of the show “Dutch Domestics – Design as Research” in the Museum fur Angewandte Kunst Frankfurt)


Christien is interested in raw materials. She explores these materials in thoughtful ways, making simple books and products that lay bare complex and otherwise hidden processes. If you’d like to hear her talking about her work you can follow this nice link.

I know Christien Meindertsma from her project PIG05049 (or actually from the TED talk she gave about it). For this project she spent three years researching the afterlife of the ordinary pig, and all the products that it ends up in after slaughter. All items are presented at their real scale in a book, a visual encyclopedia. Amongst some of the more unexpected products were: Ammunition, concrete, cigarettes, heart valves, brakes, chewing gum, porcelain and cosmetics.

Only recently I discovered one of her other projects, called One Sheep Sweater. It was on display in the cliché corner Eerlijk (Honest) at the Handmade show at Boijmans van Beuningen.
Christien started working on this project in 2003, when she was still studying at the Design Academy Eindhoven. In 2004, she made a collection of cardigans that were each made from the wool of one sheep.
After a few years of working with all sorts of wool and yarn manufacturers for her poofs and (Texel) ottomans, she picked up the One Sheep Sweater project again. Her goal was now to make them with a 3D knitting machine, to create an industrially made product, that would still tell a story of where it came from. She used Merino sheep from Holland and was part of the whole process from the shearing to the knitting.

I can very much relate to Christiens’ work most of the time. Though I don’t really have a particular interest in raw materials, I am very much concerned with the ways society deals with agriculture, whether it being for meat, wool, seeds, crops or other commodities. We are completely unaware of production processes and I find this very intriguing.

I think some of Christiens’ works I would call Design, for example the poofs and the ottomans and these Designy lamps that unfortunately remind me a bit of the glass Design objects that I mentioned earlier. However, the two main projects mentioned in this essay I consider to be art.
In my opinion Crafts, Design and Art are all the same things, namely words. The word Design reminds me of ugly glass objects, but that is really nobody’s fault, and it will hopefully not stay that way forever. The word Art is something I have more respect for, but I have also seen horrible stuff that was called that. With the word Crafts I mostly think of handwork, (which I use quite a lot in my own work, when I think about it now) but I also associate it with exceptional skill. And, as we all know, skills are awesome.

The words Art, Design and Crafts have different associations, but I think it’s extremely difficult to separate them from each other, if it is even possible to find out what they really mean. Some things that are considered Art can also easily be considered Craft, like some old Mannerism paintings, or more contemporary Hyperrealist paintings or sculptures. Some things that are considered Design may be considered Art. And some things that are considered Art, may by some people be considered Design.

Value is one of the main themes in Christien Meindertsma’s works. Trend forecasters tell us that, as a reaction to mass-consumerism, crafts will be valued more and more in the future. I’m hoping for this trend to develop in a large scale, for I think it has great potential to contribute to shifting our views and beliefs into less destructive and more beautiful ones.


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