The Hand and the Glove... ramblings about making.

07.12.07 - Ceramic Futures & the Future of Ceramics

The RSA project has been the focus this week, though on Monday I drove through very heavy rain to the Ideal Standard factory at Middlewich. The containers had arrived so we filled 6 of them. I hadn’t realised that they would be so heavy, but the slip is 1.9 kilos per litre so one container weighs about 40 kilos.

On Tuesday I arrived at College to Tavs Jorgensen enthusing about the lid of my Wedgwoodnt tureen. I rushed upstairs to Rapidform feeling like Christmas had arrived early! The lid, had turned out really well, far more beautiful than I expected. Alastair was finishing the preparation of the base section on Freeform software though his time is spent juggling other projects as well.

On Tuesday afternoon I had a meeting with Jeremy Myerson in Innovation for advice on the questions that should be asked at Wednesday’s meeting with the French company. He gave me a list of very practical points to clarify. I also asked about how Research Associate positions operate within the College. He mentioned Innovation Fellowships where sponsorship comes from various sources for the project. In this case there would be the French, possibly someone from within the industry here, made {DTI] and possibly the London Design Festival. I need the backing of the Ceramics & Glass department as the project would be based there and there may be some cost implications. Martin is interested in the materials, but needs to know more before committing himself.

Wednesday’s meeting with the French company to arrange collaboration went very well. Both parties are enthusiastic about working together. There will have to be a non-disclosure agreement between College and the company as some of the materials are still in development and haven’t been patented yet. This may need to be mutual in case the RCA develop new applications or products.

Martin Watmough from Rapidform kindly invited me to a meeting with Robin Levien and his team on Friday. They were over at College to discuss Rapid Manufacture, Martin giving them a tour and talking them through the various systems. It was a great opportunity for me to talk about the French ceramic materials and their potential. There was a bit of a disagreement about just how revolutionary they are and whether they are truly ceramic, according to the definition of ceramic [made of clay and irreversibly hardened by heat]. That seemed to pass and when I mentioned my interest in an Innovation Fellowship he offered to be the Industrial partner. For me, that is a very important part of the jigsaw.

In the afternoon, Grace came down from Middlesex University and after having a look round the C & G Work in Progress show we went over to the Serpentine Gallery where there is a stunning show of light installations by Anthony McCall. They are computer programmed moving images of lines and wave patterns projected through smoke. The effect is mesmerising, the light appears as gossamer thin material that you can walk through and engage with. Each viewpoint gives a different perspective, looking from within a shape is quite different from observing from outside. We were both stunned by the magic and beauty of the art. I need to go again, now that I know what to expect and be more analytical. Maybe the exhibition would make a good topic for a research seminar meeting.