May 22, 2022

Experimentation in ceramics

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screen-shot-2016-10-04-at-9-47-03-amPartake in Particle Particular at London Design Festival 2016

BY RAY HU From Core77

Two tantalizing takes on material experimentation in ceramics

As one of the oldest craft techniques, ceramics nevertheless endures as [an area] for design experimentation. During this year’s London Design Festival, a pair of independent design studios joined forces to stage Particle Particular at Studio 1.1 in Shoreditch. While Prin London and Studio Furthermore share a mutual interest in pushing clay to its limits, they achieve wildly disparate yet equally beautiful results.
Ariane Prin celebrated the one-year anniversary of her eponymous brand with several new additions to the “Rust” collection. Launched during LDF last September, the collection is characterized by their highly variable, one-of-a-kind appearance, which Prin creates by mixing gypsum and metal dust — i.e. waste materials from other craft processes — into plaster. Born and raised in France but based in London since she completed her masters at the Royal College of Art in 2011, the product designer introduced her latest experiments with copper dust at “Particle Particular”, presenting the verdigris-inflected vessels alongside earlier works.

From the “Rust” collection by Ariane Prin, including the new copper series (center), and “Tektites” by Studio Furthermore (right)

Studio Furthermore, on the other hand, exhibited their ongoing investigation into ceramic foams. Marina Dragomirova and Iain Howlett set out to develop the porous, lightweight material — used in aerospace applications such as space telescopes and insulation — at craft scale. They arrived at a process of impregnating foams and sponges of varying densities with parian, a highly viscous bisque porcelain, and firing the pieces to burn off the substrate.

In contrast to the visible mineral composition of Prin’s “Rust” pieces, Studio Furthermore’s “Tektites” readily evoke meteorites. Alluding to the “particle scale” of the material research, the exhibition presented various pieces by each studio in dialogue. But if the two bodies of work seem to speak a different language, the exhibition was compelling precisely because the vessels and tabletop objects are both composed of earth itself.

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