Virtual Ceramics

VIRTUAL CERAMICS AS FAR AS I KNOW IT STARTED IN THE MID 1990S. MY FIRST ATTEMPTS WERE CREATED DURING 1995/6. USING INFINI-D AS THE MODELING TOOL FOR MY ‘FORMS’ AND PHOTOSHOP TO PRODUCE THE ENVIRONMENTS AND SKINS FOR THE ‘FORMS’. IN 1998 I WORKED ON A PROJECT FOR THE EXHIBITION “CRAFT IS DEAD: LONG LIVE CRAFT” WHICH WAS HELD AT THE VICTORIAN CRAFT GALLERY AND FEATURED A VARIETY OF VIRTUAL CRAFT FROM AROUND THE WORLD. 

vitrifying the virtual – 1999

There was some contention at EDGE,the 1999 International Ceramics Conference in Perth WA, about virtual ceramics being called ‘ceramics’. The irony here didn;t escape me at the time as I had’t heard anyone mumbling any objections to unfired clay objects being called ceramics. Ceramics by definition is so called because of the firing process. All that aside, the name for the conference, EDGE, clearly carries with it conotations of the latest inovations in ceramics. I certainly would not have come to virtual ceramics without my deep seated background in ceramics. It was the ‘lath tool’ as analogy for the potters wheel that seduced me into deviating into the realm of the virtual form. The exhibition “Craft is Daed; Long Live Craft” travelled to Perth for the Conference. A number of artists including myself delivered papers on their involvment in Virtual Ceramics during the week. My paper “Vitrifying the Virtual – From Computer Screen to Ceramic Surface”outlined my personal history that allowed me to bring the creations I had produced for CID:LLC and turn them into ceramic tiles with screen printed on glaze decals. This history covered my early decal experiments, my obsession with the panorama, my involvment in computer software and annimation, and the technical skills involved in turning a virtual pot into an image on a ceramic surface.

craft is dead: long live craft – 1998 -1999

The bowl both holds and offers up. The bowl in animated suspension makes that offering more elusive. If a vessel is a subconscious container of secrets, then the secrets of virtual vessels may never be unlocked but paradoxically, in a moment, may also be universally transmitted.

Hobart has been my home for the past year and is a great distance from the familiarity of the far north coast of NSW. In a new place one can see the magic that passes as mundane for the familiar observer. Through photography I collect images of the ‘everyday’ and compose an order out of those random moments to use as surfaces for the virtual vessels that I create. From the interplay of city lights and water surfaces, reflections occur that are real, metaphorical and profound.

My earlier work utilised compositions created from heavenly bodies, images available from the Hubble space probe, the universe is a big place, it interests me.

The work is neither art nor craft. Somewhere within the creation of images I hope to unravel some of the secrets that hold me apart from the universe. Its a personal journey that may be of interest. There is no meaning.

Ken Ford Hobart, Australia May 1998

Above is my artist statement for the exhibition Craft Is Dead; Long Live Craft at Craft Victoria in May 1998. My contribution to the show was a set of large format inkjet prints. “Reflective States I – IV” Ken Ford 1998

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