Mechanical Pots

MediaCeramics / Pottery

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Commissions AcceptedNo

Tuition OfferedNo

Artist's StatementWe are Mechanical Pots.

Ben and Chess have been developing machinery and software to printed pots. Clay is extruded at a pressure of about one tonne to a print head which lays down layers of clay in a sequence of movements that are dictated by a computer program. We relish both the technical (engineering and computing) and the artistic aspects of making ceramics in this way.

Each piece is intricate and takes some time to design, program, set up and print. The mechanical device that extrudes the clay has to handle high pressures and forces (delivered using a hydraulic ram) at one end and, at the other extrude the clay in repeatable layers with a precision of less than a millimetre. Getting everything to work and not to explode in a rather genteel but nonetheless catastrophic ooze of clay and metal can be a frustrating process.

The hardware is backed up by a computer program that allows us to design and visualise our pots. Unlike many commercial three dimensional printing programs printed pieces in clay are obviously layered and controlling the appearance of each layer of clay makes this into a feature rather than a flaw of the process. This means that specialised software is needed and designing and writing software that serves our artistic aims has become something of an obsessional activity at times.

We make our pots out of stoneware and porcelain clays and use both oxidation and reduction firings to glaze and finish our work.

Neither of us is a professional potter. Chess is a retired psychiatrist and Ben a retired software engineer. However both of us have a lifelong interest in ceramics and we have been making pots for many years.

Art Materialsporcelain, stoneware

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