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A moment of ceramics

Hanne Viehmann Well Being Design Academy Eindhoven No Money Endterm July 12, 2011

Assignment module 1 Within the theme “money”, in this assignment we are researching “richness” in tableware made of ceramic materials. Part of this research is the relation between material, production –method and price. And in addition to this, “value”, which could have something to do with “price”, but also with other things. An important aspect of the assignment is the making of tableware itself. You experience the easy parts and the difficult parts of producing the product. Very often it appears that what seems easy, is hard to make, and vice versa. Hand-made is expensive, machine-made is cheap? Production-methods have a relation with price, but not directly with value. You have to experience that yourself. Doing a lot of experiments, from your heart into the material, is important.


does not grow older like skin or wood. The nature usually shows the age of creatures and plants by their typical signs like wrinkles, size or developed layers.

I would like to translate signs of aging and passed time in my designed products. For the assignment with the material ceramics I worked out the theme by using layers as a metaphor for time, experiences, growth and the impact of vintage classics. I experimented with thickness of the material or the behavior of added layers to a casted piece.

Material - Layers - C

Complexity - Composition - Function My designs encase layers in various compositions and completing functions. The complexity of the expressed layers finds its inspiration in the appealing grace, the nature of the material and the visual clarity.

Grace In the experimental working with ceramics and layering with different pigmented earthenware and stoneware I liked to investigate intensities of color and thickness to realize varying beauties. During the design process I revealed the expression of the cup to point on the inside rather than the outside, why I have chosen a simple shape with a restrained rounding for Grace and the collection.

Nature I explored the natural behavior related to weight and balancing and interpreted the effect into my second cup without a base. The cup moves slightly on the position of the layers and their weight and creates an unequally treatment during the drinking ritual.

Clarity My third cup embraces the possibility of a clear visible line inside the shape which I use as a scale to maximize the amount of liquid. The final design outlines a wine glass with its functions for the demanding liquid and is also part of the family in a simple and inconspicuous outlook.

Models Design Process

My idea about an “aging” ceramics focused at the beginning on adding recycled pieces to increase the total age of the product. In my further research I tried to visualize time in multiply layers and integrate a longer and varying drying process.

In my next steps with a further developed shape I continued with more ways of layering the ceramics in and on each other. The first layering was made by stacking ejected pieces in each other, while the inner ones outright distorted. I went on researching about the behavior of layers related to short and long chronologies of the earthenware.

In my working process I could discover different effects and happenings of the ceramics if I included specific times of the layering and drying. It was great to see how the mold and the earthenware aspirate, stick to each other and dry with tensions to crack and deform.

In my developing steps I was searching for a function and a following shape for the tableware product. To investigate further on the effects in varying shapes, I continued experimenting with a globe as main figure. I found out that the drying and shrinking process moves in another way compared to the straight cylinder and causes changed cracks and lines.

At that point of research I could characterize functions which conclude of the benefit of the material. The globe showed a balanced movement to the position where the most earthenware was layered – weight as function. Another usage followed the clear visible lines of the layers which can be recognized as scale marks – layers to present the maximum of content.

I could attend to the possible content by the achievement of the functions and decided on variable refreshments and one cup utilitarian for wine. I pictured Grace to be for everyday use, Clarity for the time to enjoy a glass of wine and Nature to be part of special occasions in a cheerful surrounding.

Based on the first paper cut outs I designed the final shape in Solid Works to pursue crafting the mold and beginning with the casting cycle. Whilst manufacturing of the pieces I could settle diverse designs of the compositions of the layers.

Conclusion My process of working was strongly attracted by the experiments and experiences with the material. I have learned during my researches about the material, added pigments and the finishing with glaze. It was surprising to see which steps are predictable and which are totally unexpected. I could present different ways of layering in varying contexts till the Midterm and established my production method in my following steps. I exposed the procedure of pouring several layer on top of each other to be best result if the cup is still fixed in the mold and not entirely dried to create a collective shrinking routine. The final shapes were conclusions of the achieved functions with the average of the attitude of the ceramics. The design is kept in a simple and reserved formation of plane lines and a constant rounding with a spared underside part. The collection of the three cups visualizes time on the one hand in a retrospective design and on the other hand the amount of invested time to manufacture the complex repeated layers. The used colors are placed to synthesize contrast between the different layers but shell not be confronting with the contenting substances. I treated every cup in an individual way by distinguishing for example the thicknesses of each layers with harsh edges from the smooth effect of the overlapping runlets. It was surprising to see the unique reaction in the oven of every cup due to the amount of layers and their position. The most distortion happened if the ceramics was unbalanced placed on some spots and even covered invisible layers could, in retrospect, involve the outcome of the cup. I can see my work as a good research on the materials with new explorations of the craftsmanship. In summary, I would have liked me to be more courageous in experimenting on more extreme shapes related to the occurring effects and happenings of the production method.

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Lookbook Layers -- ceramic cups  

Lookbook Layers -- ceramic cups  

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