The importance of on-site coordination
As I often say, SGW Lab’s mission is to explore, in the context of William Morris, the possibilities of beauty made by hand. Among the themes Morris mentions, one that has caught my attention in recent years is the need for craft people to participate in the design process. I believe that breakthroughs can occur through on-site decision making and the involvement of the crafts people who are most familiar with the materials and modelling process.
Modern mass-produced pottery is made on a belt conveyor and according to the instructions written by the designer. The problem with manufacturing is that following instructions is the goal of the factory—the work becomes simple, and the enjoyment of manufacturing is limited. In addition, the knowledge and experience gained by touching the material are not fed back into the design of the work. Designers touch clay as much as they study it, but I don’t think that they understand the texture of clay as much as craftsmen who work with clay for eight hours a day. In addition, the factory often rejects any troublesome modelling ideas from designers. A good design for a factory is one that is simple to understand and error free, so factory operators do not want to take risks following a designer’s whim.
In such a production system, slip casting is understood as a technique for mass producing the same shape. Wanting to challenge this idea in creating this work, we used slip casting as a technique to rationally create completely different shapes from a single mould. Because the slip is poured into a plaster mould that is randomly stacked like building blocks, a different shape is born from the same mould every time. Based on their knowledge and experience, each craft people think about each casting so that it will be just the right shape without breaking or bending too much. In addition, there is no correct shape for this mould, so the craftsman must always think about and explore what a beautiful shape is. This is the key to the fun of making things.
This time, we will update a total of 13 sculptural vases. We hope you will enjoy imagining the 13 completely different shapes and their production processes, all born from the same mould.