Chance Ceramics, 2015

plaster, porcelain slip

"Chance Ceramics" was a project completed in an "Experimental Ceramics" class at Parsons. In this class we were asked to design a process of ceramic manufacture which would yield different results each time. I became interested in balance dependent slip-casting, where molds would roll in order to distribute the porcelain slip, instead of the slip sitting in stable mold untouched. I liked the idea of this system of manufacture, a type of labor, being fun and performative. The mold could be pushed between two people, like a form of catch, or could be done with a larger community. It could be pushed down a hill, letting the terrain decide it's form, or could be set on a train, where a machine would dictate it's form. Therefore, not only would the form vary each casting, but the form would literally be dependent on, and reflective of it's environment.

This process became more complex by labeling the mold with numbers which corresponded to colors (1=red, 2=blue...)In this way, the mold became similar to a board game spinner. It could be pushed and then it would eventually land on a color. This color of slip would be poured into the mold in a pre-determined amount, and then the mold would be pushed again. Therefore, now the environment was not only creating the shape of the vessel but also the color.

The vessels created are relatively strange in size and shape. It has been found that they serve well as espresso and tea cups. They also can be stacked and arranged for fun. Other functions yet to be assigned and discovered.


This process remains exciting to me, and I would love to implement it in different environments, with different individuals. I see it as an act of labor which is democratic, social, and potentially cathartic. I imagine it being done as a group, where the makers in the group use this way of production as an emotional and therapeutic ritual. The objects made through the casting process could also serve this group in an emotional and therapeutic way.