Else by Michal Fargo
Published on April 29, 2013
‘Else’ was created as Michal Fargo graduation project at the Bezalel Academy. The aim was to create different and authentic ceramic surfaces. Michal was mostly inspired by ceramic design, rather than ceramic sculpting at the making of this project. While examining her immediate environment all she saw were the same old smooth and clear surfaces, usually colored white with a shiny glaze, she felt bored and saw that there is a lack of authenticity in those objects. She tried to figure out what is the cause of that plastic sort of appearance and figured it had to do with the slip casting to plaster molds technique. Designing an object for casting through a plaster mold requires many compromises regarding the shape and details of the object; there are elements like undercuts, parting lines and pouring points that come to mind whenever designing an object for casting. These thoughts restrict the maker and sometimes overtake the aesthetic initial vision of the project.
Else is a project that deals with authenticity, surfaces and the gaps between craft and design. By creating a different working technique that does not require molds she was able to design free forms that are not restricted by mold requirements. By using foam models and dipping them into especially composed porcelain mix the mold was eliminated from the process and a new kind of surface was created.
The ‘else’ project consists on two different series of works:
First, the stone resembled objects. These objects are created by initial sculpting from a block of foam. She shreds the foam with bare hands, in the most barbaric and naïve way and create vessels that resembles rocks, then she dip them into a porcelain tub.
Second, the coral look-alike objects, the technique for making the coral objects is quite simple. She uses a block of foam, and cuts a hole in its center afterwards she casts the porcelain into the hole and let it flow until the blocks bottom starts to leak, and then removes the remaining of the porcelain, just like in a regular plaster mold. The most interesting aspects of this technique are not knowing what’s the final shape of the vessel until after firing; and also letting the materials mass decide on its own silhouette. Michal like the fact that the weight of the porcelain pressured into the tiny air bubbles through the foam creates an organic movement in the vessels.
Photography credits: Studio photography by Mel Bergman and Working process photography by Hadas Shalem.