Clay and ceramics involves a very complicated process of making from creating the vessels, to drying time, firing, and glazing. Any type of clay that is fired is turned into ceramic which makes the material very durable and reusable. Some examples include our everyday cups and bowls to even our toilets and sinks.
However, anything before the process of the chemical changes in the firing can be used and reused again and again. Clay can be used to create vessels but when water is being contained in a completely dried form, the clay can crack, leak out the water, and eventually break down which is a part of the process I have chosen to emphasize. This process is not showcased because recycling clay is a mundane aspect overall to ceramics as a medium. Oftentimes the focus is on finished and fired ceramic work.
Some ideas that sparked my exploration for this project was that the traditional way of making every day dishes and vessels on the wheel can be overlooked. Tableware is commonly mass produced through the process of mold making which is a very industrial process which in turn, makes ceramics very accessible and inexpensive. In ceramics, plaster is used to recycle clay because it draws moisture out of the clay. Similarly, plaster molds draw out the moisture in the form so the form can maintain its shape. Therefore, I have used plaster as the base to absorb the liquid that seeps through the vessels as they break to reference this process of mold making and recycling clay. The plaster forms themselves also reference organic puddle-like shapes that connects to the liquid creating puddles around the vessel on the plaster. The forms are slightly elevated off the ground creating another worldly atmosphere to it.
I have referenced traditional Chinese ink paintings for the reasoning behind my choice of colour as the marks they make on the plaster is a watercolour/ink-like effect. It is very ephemeral overall from how each vessel breaks, the sounds they emit, to the marks they make on the plaster forms. With these ideas, I have also introduced a sound element to the work in hopes to bring back the anticipation aspect of the work as my work is also about passage of time. Although the vessels themselves break within 10 minutes of water being contained in the form, the residue that remains is what is seen. If earlier on, the viewer might experience a vessel cracking, another viewer might experience an element of shock when they hear a cracking sound yet not seeing anything break.
As of now, the clay vessels are not fired as firing them brings an element of permanency. Perhaps the broken vessels can be recycled to create other vessels to then be put back on to the plaster forms and undergo the same process.