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1. An ancestral craft
© Broste Copenhagen / Aage and Kasper Wurtz If its forms are multiple today, the origins of ceramics, as for them, are ancestral . Indeed, its crafts date back to the Neolithic period, at the end of prehistory. It is the first “art of fire” to see the light of day, even before working with glass or metal. Even more incredible: ceramic is the most abundant human-made material on Earth. Whether simple everyday object or real work of art, it alone is proof of the technical mastery of natural elements (earth, water, fire, air). Even if in the collective imagination the profession of potter seems intuitive and childishly simple, it is quite different in reality. A clever mix of physics and molecular chemistry, it also involves several technical phases which require dexterity and know how . The term ceramic comes from the Greek “Keramos” which means clay, an essential ingredient for its manufacture. In other words, this name refers to the idea of transformation of an object into earth during cooking at high temperature . Concretely, the creation process has several phases. At the very start, we start by shaping the dough to obtain the desired shape. For this, various techniques are possible: manual modeling, turning, or molding if you want to create a series of identical models. Everyone has their recipe! Then usually comes the stage of decoration then enameling , or vice versa in some cases. Since the ceramic is initially porous, this shiny layer is necessary to make the usable dishes daily. Finally, to permanently seal shapes and colors, we go to the baking step which sometimes intervenes in several stages. That's the job!
2. A multiple and surprising material
© Unison / Lenneke Wispelwey Ceramics is a general term which designates 4 different forms: pottery, stoneware, earthenware and porcelain. Their difference? Mainly a history of earth composition, cooking and vitreous coating (glaze or enamel). Forward for a little light! *The pottery can be identified by generally reddish-brown color , a consequence of its high iron concentration. It is generally found in the form of pots, or even on tile roofs. *The earthenware , porous and very fragile , must be enamelled before use. It is often used in the making of dishes, or in the form of tiles in kitchens and bathrooms. * More resistant than the latter, the sandstone is a vitrified clay after high temperature firing. Generally darker than earthenware in terms of colors, it is reminiscent of rustic dishes from a certain era! It is one of the most popular materials in terms of floor tile , due to its great strength. * Finally, the porcelain , whose cooking is close to that of sandstone, is the densest ceramic despite the finesse that characterizes it. Dazzling white, it has the distinction of being slightly translucent , unlike earthenware which remains opaque.
© Suite One Studio / Aage and Kasper Wurtz Renowned for its common use in tableware, kitchens and bathrooms, ceramics also finds its place in other more surprising fields. In the field medical for example, it is used for dental crowns. It is also found in some paintings, for improve their vitrifying power . Finally, many flat irons are now equipped with ceramic technology to ensure better gliding. Surprising isn't it? But that's not all ! Thanks to that resistance to high temperatures , it is also the subject of technological research in the automotive, aeronautical, military or textile fields.
3. A trend that invites itself on all tables
© Brian Giniewski / Line Klein Adored in the 1950s and then discarded for a long time, handcrafted ceramics now look one of the flagship trends of the moment. Decorative magazines, boutiques for young designers and trendy restaurants , we now see it everywhere. We like his side timeless and the imperfect irregularities that characterize it so well. Carried by a new wave of creators, it is now winning the bet to seduce a city generation in search of authenticity. With the craze for the lifestyle Kinfolk , it has been able to renew itself to sublimate its material through a simple and essential crafts. More than a manual creation, it is a true return to the sources, to the Earth. We focus on its irregularities and its singular grain, evoking the ideal imperfection of the wabi-sabi philosophy. Bowls, salad bowls, saucers, plates and vases, what a joy to let yourself be invaded again by the softness of this material! Sometimes speckled, sometimes moire, matte at times, ceramic reinvents itself like new poetry of everyday life. Over the ages, ceramics have been imbued with different visions and cultures. Whether vintage, minimalist, Japanese or Scandinavian, it is now enriched with new, less earthy colors. Peach pink, almond green or celadon blue… Pastel shades revive its falsely outdated and subtly reworked curves. The dullness of her dress is also much appreciated in her 2018 version. True work of art , the smallest everyday object becomes precious of simplicity.
4. A Slow Life philosophy above all
© Robert Gordon / Aage and Kasper Wurtz Some people practice yoga where the relaxation , others the gardening . Everyone has their own way of coming back to themselves and recharging their batteries. This awakening of sensations, so essential in our current lives, some people get it simply by the art of ceramics. It is therefore not without reason that we see more and more young people turning to crafts and creation . At the time of the advent of organic and “better consumption”, we now tend to favor quality rather than quantity. Natural materials are on the rise, and handmade is in the spotlight, rhyming with movement slow life and Do It Yourself. More and more creators understand this importance. Powered in particular by social networks, we can no longer count the number of workshops that are developing in terms of ceramic creation. At a time vocation of learning but also of sharing , we appreciate shaping the material with his hands. And if creation brings both pleasure and serenity to its author, the spectator is not outdone. A delight for the mind, a feast for the eyes! And you, what do you think of ceramics? Will you also invite him to your table?