1. having lost the physical, mental, or moral qualities considered normal and desirable; showing evidence of decline.
2. technical: lacking some usual or expected property or quality.
1. decline or deteriorate physically, mentally, or morally.
The touchstone of my research begins with photography, often involving macro photography of surfaces that I find interesting and inspiring. The images below show naturally decaying, temporary scenes of degeneration. I try to use macro photos to zoom into the world just beyond the normal viewpoint.
Visually I am drawn to decay as an aesthetic and I find the crumbling & decrepit fascinating. It speaks to me of life and ultimately death, an infinite cycle of cross cultural and historical interest. I believe we all look to find some form of meaning to justify existence and the individual stories told are unique, yet not mutually exclusive.
Record of individual glaze tests. Experiments aiming to mimic temporal surfaces such as mold and decay. The following images show my experimentation to interpret the degenerated aesthetic generated from photographic research. I attempt to create these permanent surfaces in ceramics by using chemical compositions and the firing process to mimic natural formations.
I use a systematic approach to glaze research, my work involves an experimental approach so by recording and re-testing to get results that I can tweak, reproduce and ultimately apply to forms. The test tiles are all on casts of my 3D printed model for continuity.
PDF record of glaze tests & recipes for download, click link below:
History of Ceramics.
Ceramics is one of the most ancient industries on the planet. Once humans discovered that clay could be dug up and formed into objects by first mixing with water and then firing, the industry was born. As early as 24,000 BC, animal and human figurines were made from clay and other materials, then fired in kilns partially dug into the ground.
Almost 10,000 years later, as settled communities were established, tiles were manufactured in Mesopotamia and India. The first use of functional pottery vessels for storing water and food is thought to be around 9000 or 10,000 BC. Clay bricks were also made around the same time.
I researched many vessels to inspire my version of an archetypal vase and the other forms I have developed.
Gallery of inspirational material.
For the analogue side of my work I use manual techniques (such as using the wheel and hand painted glaze) to explore the aesthetics of decay; aiming to create permanent interpretations of temporal surfaces, such as mold and decomposition. For this reason the fixed surfaces I make exist in contrast with the impermanence of organic degeneration.
I feel that ceramics has an interesting relationship with what is permanent & impermanent; it begins life as organic matter & without firing it will just continue to decay, when it is fired it becomes eternal. The ideas of degeneration led me to generative work and physically manifesting objects that exist as code. Ultimately the aim of this was to attempt a digital / analogue fusion intended to test our notions of reality.
These images show a photographic record of throwing & development of large-scale thrown forms. Raw vessels were modified with slip and additions of combustibles, oxides and stains to evolve the surface as a canvas for glazing.
Video time-lapse of texturing a large-scale thrown vessel.
CGI – vessel generation.
The physical construct of generative vessels; forms are generated on the computer and materialised via 3D printing. Where these objects had only previously existed virtually, these now live on two levels; as time based phenomena and also as physical items.
This work addresses the paradox of making digital objects ‘real’. The aim of this was to manifest ‘physical pixels’ in order to represent a simulation of digital technology. This concerns the degenerate use of high technology to produce lo-tech generative forms.
I created many plaster molds to achieve my aims. I casted the 3D printed vessels in 4 part plaster molds; finding the centre lines of these models was a challenge due to the complicated geometry. I created my own method of using projector to beam a cross hair onto the models and traced this by hand with permanent marker. These molds were heavy to use as they each used approximately of 17 kilos of plaster each.
Record of tile making.
I made several tile molds during this project; initially they were drop out molds and then progressed onto 4 part double walled molds to cast the large scale closed tile forms. Final casts involved bone china & black porcelain. Gold lustre tests were carried out before experimenting and implementing the use of gilding gold leaf.
The tiles are designed on the computer to tessellate & are then 3D printed, moulded and cast. The positive and negative geometry alludes back to the initial polar concepts of generation Vs. degeneration and also digital Vs. analogue.
I produced 8 versions of the tiles, initially being mirrored forms that tessellated. These were printed horizontally but did not form sharp geometry, therefore the second set were printed vertically and solved the problem. I then made cuboid tiles that were the inverse of each other, however these were observed to be too small of scale. They were then printed the same size but twice the scale.
To make the double sized final tiles, I cast the positive in plaster 4 times and joined them to make one large prototype which was then moulded. This resulted in double walled tiles of which the dimensions are 12 x 24 cm
Gallery of inspirational material.
Digital development of forms and project space is important to me and the 3D & imaging software skills have taken much time to learn. These techniques have now become an efficient way of visualising an entire installation without the need for build full size physical mockups. It is not a definitive process but gives a good indication of scale, light and shadows in space.
Photography of casted forms.
Results of photographing forms, in many cases they appear to be more like hi-reslution digital images than the digital renders themselves. This in turn exemplifies the concept of Hyperreality.
“Hyperreality is an inability of consciousness to distinguish reality from a simulation of reality, especially in technologically advanced postmodern societies… a condition in which what is real and what is fiction are seamlessly blended together so that there is no clear distinction between where one ends and the other begins”.
Hyperreality: Paradigm for the third millennium. Tiffin, John; (2005).