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Translated Vase_2019 TVW 4, 2019
Ex. Unique
Ceramic shards, epoxy, 24k golden leaf
104 x 87 x 78 cm (40.9 x 34.3 x 30.7 in.)
Courtesy of the artist and Massimo De Carlo, Milan, London, Hong Kong
Photo: Winnie Yeung@Visual Voices

Ceramic is a broad term encompassing various clay-based materials like earthenware, stoneware, and porcelain, with sub-categories including pottery, porcelain, and terracotta, each having its own unique history across different regions and time periods.

Ceramics have evolved from practical items in prehistoric times to advanced functional objects and vessels of artistic expression in ancient civilizations like Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Intricate designs, decorative motifs, and refined techniques like glazing and kiln firing emerged, resulting in visually appealing ceramic wares.

Distinct ceramic traditions developed in East Asia, with Chinese ceramics known for delicacy and blue and white porcelain, Japanese ceramics for simplicity and wabi-sabi, and elegant Korean ceramics that form harmony with nature. Western ceramics, including Greek and Roman pottery, displayed intricate designs, while the Middle Ages and the Renaissance era witnessed decorative styles like majolica. Modern and contemporary ceramics have been the subject of artistic experimentation, blurring the boundaries between pottery and sculpture.

In the 20th century, ceramic art experienced a profound resurgence as artists embraced new possibilities and pushed the boundaries of the material. Pablo Picasso, known primarily as a painter, also delved into ceramics, bringing his innovative artistic vision to the medium. He explored abstract and cubist forms, experimenting with shape, texture, and color, and steering away from traditional ceramic techniques.

Today, ceramic art continues to evolve as artists embrace innovativetechniques, incorporate new materials, and engage with conceptualideas. Contemporary ceramic artists draw inspiration from variousdisciplines, such as fine art, design, and technology, to createpieces that transcend traditional boundaries. They experiment withunconventional forms, explore the use of mixed media, and embraceinterdisciplinary approaches that fuse ceramics with other art forms.

Ceramics offer endless possibilities for the realm of sculpture, with each step of the process contributing to the creation of unique and visually captivating ceramic pieces.

1. Preparing the clay: The first step is to select and prepare the material sourced from natural deposits or commercially available clay bodies. It is then prepared by removing impurities, such as rocks and organic matter, and refining the clay to achieve a preferred consistency.

2. Shaping: The clay is then shaped into the desired form using various techniques such as hand-building (pinching, coiling, slab construction) or wheel-throwing. Hand-building involves manipulating the clay by hand, while wheel-throwing utilizes a potter's wheel to shape the clay through spinning and hand manipulation.

3. Drying: Once the desired form is achieved, it is allowed to dry slowly and evenly, preventing cracking or warping of the clay. The drying time can vary depending on the size and thickness of the object.

4. Bisque Firing: After the clay has dried completely, it is fired in a kiln in a process known as bisque firing. This firing removes any remaining moisture from the clay and converts it into a durable, porous material called bisqueware. The kiln temperature during this firing is typically lower than the final firing.

5. Glazing: Glazing is an optional step but is often employed to enhance the appearance and functionality of ceramics. Glazes are liquid mixtures of minerals and pigments that, when applied to the bisqueware, form a glassy coating when fired. Glazes can provide color, texture, and surface effects to the finished ceramic piece.

6. Final Firing: Once the glaze has been applied, the ceramic object is fired again in a final firing. This firing takes place at a higher temperature, typically determined by the specific clay and glaze used. The high temperature causes the clay and glaze to vitrify, creating a strong, non-porous, and finished ceramic piece.

7. Finishing: After the final firing, the ceramic piece is carefully inspected for any imperfections or flaws. It may undergo additional finishing processes, such as sanding, polishing, or further decorating, to achieve the desired aesthetic and tactile qualities.

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Mixed Media Sculpture

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20th Century Art


Art and Design

Blurring Boundaries

Smooth and Flat Surface

Textured Surface

(Inspired by) Ancient Culture