Beauty of Ceramics
Exploration Challenge with Ceramic
This project was a team project with product designer Kelly Kim.
”What do we know about ceramics?"
Motivated to find a fresh perspective for our cultural ceramic heritage, Kelly Kim and I forged an independent study project together.
By targeting the "means" and the importance of making by hand, rather than "the end" we were driven by the process and found beauty within experimental discovery.
Concept 1 : Appreciation
Ceramic clay naturally contains glass (silica), giving strength to the form after firing. The beauty of this raw material fascinated our brand, H&K. Without glass, an unseen ingredient, the ceramic piece would fall apart.
Why is something devalued because one cannot see it? Why is something considered waste because it has been used?
The story begins with the beauty of discarded broken glass and creative reuse.
UpCycling is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, useless, or unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality.
Taking the “used up” material into consideration, we focused on shifting perceptions of waste glass material, such as coke bottles and broken automobile windshields. After numerous experimentations, we reached 3 different outcomes through: fusing glass and clay as one body, utilizing gravity and creating intentional drips, and altering the visual states of liquid and solid.
Concept 2 : Discovery
H&K appreciates the “memory of touch” -properties that are unique to ceramics. Trial results are unavoidably honest and transparent.
This reality influenced an empathetic approach and a new found respect for the clay material as an individual, responsive body.
Due to limitations in materials that can be placed in a kiln, we discovered a way to preserve the natural results, the emerging moment that air and time bring to clay.
Ceramics respond to air, temperature, pressure, and other natural forces in individual ways, unveiled by our studies with clay, coconut fiber cups, and freezing.
Concept 3 : Reinvent
From the start of this investigation, H&K had strong desire to redefine the craft of ceramics.
By selecting Nerikomi, a Japanese decorative ceramic process steeped in tradition, we were searching for the “fresh perspective on their cultural ceramic heritage.” Nerikomi is used to design dimensional patterns by mixing and layering different colors of clay unique to each artist.
Taking the literal translation, “to mix,” we decided to include an organic material found in their everyday lives: rice. It became a source for creating not only visual texture but a new tactile experience.
The results provided a subtle allure to the touch, and an unexpected physical lightness.
After a rigorous trial-and-error search, the journey is not yet over. We are still seeking the ideal formula for this new rice “mix” that can release its potential as a contemporary ceramic craft.