REGOLIT by IKEA

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Materials: paper, glue, balloon, porcelain slip, invisible thread, LED lights, wiring.

The instillation created reflects the “REGLOIT” design by IKEA, one of the biggest retailers in Cardiff. I have been inspired by our need to own “stuff,” this has lead me to explore ideas of consumerism and material values through their community of spending.

The way I have displayed my work echoes the organisation of IKEA, with minimal objects displayed and others waiting, in piles and rejected, waiting to be chosen.

The context of the work is to fit into the IKEA living space that is desirable in the home. It can also be taken out of its context and put into a gallery environment as a piece of fine art.


Let there be light.

 

Finally, I have got my work from the firing at 1280 that took place at the end of the previous week. Two days before the submission date for my project I am delighted to find that the concept I have been working towards actually works. Pictures of the instillation will follow, hopefully tomorrow.


In search of the light.

Over the easter break I went back to basics with my paper mache. Firing my objects is a long process as they must be bisque fired before being fired at 1280, so experimentation with the materials that are lost during firing is interesting. It allows me to play with ideas and positions of my works. This is also useful because the work is fragile once fired.


Nice to handle, nice to hold.


 

The first trial of porcelain is out of the kiln, it has only been put through a combustible bisque at 1000 degrees so it is not as translucent as it potentially could be. The ultra bright LEDs do not shine through the ceramic at the moment, I am hoping this will change after the next firing. However, I like them as objects to hold. Many people have commented on the smoothness of the object and how appealing it becomes when held. They feel fragile, as if they could be broken easily yet their structure is strong and they have a weight to them. I want the final instillation piece to involve light and also be an interactive piece of work. I want the objects I am creating to look touchable and to be held by the onlooker.


Porcelain firing.

 

Porcelain lights. I put these into the kiln today, so they should be out over the weekend. Then I get to play with the lights and arduino, which I have been waiting for for so long. The debris that is left after firing may create some interesting shadows within the work, but we will have to wait until next week to find out.


Porcelain. Finally.

 

My first experiments in porcelain. These forms have been inspired by the Ikea paper light itself, I have dismantled one by taking out the coiled wooden support. It still has a spherical shape,  but this can be manipulated to created more interesting deflated forms. I have recreated these forms using balloons, newspaper and tissue paper.

The porcelain slip is much thicker than the earthenware I have been using previously so I have only dipped the balloons once. They were also harder to coat as the porcelain retains a memory so wants to return to a lump like state. I have more to “dip” ready for firing next week.


Hanging Devices.

Carrying Device for a Goose Egg - Sigurd Bronger

Carrying Device for a Goose Egg – Sigurd Bronger

I want to hang the objects as singular pieces that become a part of a multiple. After a visit to the Design Museum in London, Sigurd Bronger’s collection of carrying devices have become influential. I enjoy the simplicity of them – wire and fittings that allow a fragile object to be carried. I want to apply a similar philosophy to the hanging of my works.


A change of direction.

 

I have chosen to re-assess my original concept and outcome of this project. Originally I was planning to create Ikea inspired lights with a Jacob’s Market twist. Unfortunately I have become so involved in the making of the objects my connection to Jacob’s has become weak. I also think that my love of the place was overpowering my work and enticing me to continue to make reference.

My “new” concept has been there all along –  it has just taken six weeks to work its way out of the abyss. So, now I am focusing on the made object, the raw material. The impurities that are inevitable are an intrinsic part of this. I am hanging a cluster or the lights with ultra bright LED’s inside to give a warm glow. The lights will also contribute to showing the thickness of the porcelain and where it is thicker. From a distance there will be a cloudy appearance to the work. As the onlooker gets closer to inspect the finer details the lights will dim and eventually switch off using a programmed arduino. This created a smooth and lifeless object. I think this will surprise the viewer. I also hope it can delight.

My reason for turning off the lights is simple. As you walk around Ikea your eye is caught by what seems to be an interesting object or piece of furniture that you believe you must have to improve your life. Upon closer inspection the shopper usually discovers the object is plain with no character, just like everything else the shop has to offer. This is because of the mass marketing industry that has become a part of so many of our lives.


Three is a crowd.

 

Finally out of the kiln. The works with a paper base have come out beautifully, I have no cracks in them which I am really happy about and they are just as fragile and delicate as the originals. Now, I need to do further glazing tests. The pieces created on embroidered thread are really interesting. Unfortunately they did crack whilst drying so are not as strong as the other pieces. The textures on the inside and out are wonderful, but I am developing objects that have a smooth appearance and are whole, so they do not have negative space within the surface. The problem with the embroidery is that they were too heavy whilst drying – also not enough clay was absorbed fast enough so they did not become leather hard quick enough. I am planning to make multiple artefacts to display as an instillation using light.  Tomorrow I will begin my adventures in porcelain.


Machine embroidered ceramics.

 

Machine embroidery dipped in slip. After a stitch workshop using “dissolvable” materials and embroidery as a three dimensional object I have chosen to wrap them around balloons and do what I do to all artefacts created at the moment – cover it in slip clay. These experiments were a lot heavier when drying because of the fabric, and they took a lot longer to become “leather hard.” I do not think this method of working will be as successful as using the paper as they began to crack before they dried. The outcome of these and the previous three created will be realised on Monday when I am able to retrieve them from the kiln.