It’s interesting to observe that glaze is the most important ingredient here whereas the clay seems to play a secondary role. Ceramic glaze serves a variety of purposes. It serves a purely practical function as a protective layer that makes a ceramic cup pleasant to drink from, renders plates hygienic and enables jugs to hold water. Additionally, glaze can be used as ornamentation to decorate ceramic objects. But glaze also holds form-giving properties.
Glaze is normally applied on ceramic after it has been “bisque” fired and before being re-fired. In reality, it’s also a material that can be used to give form, thanks to its viscous properties. And that’s exactly what Danish ceramicist Christina Schou Christensen intended to showcase with her project Shaping Fluid. The glaze is watched at its melting point-and stopped.
By combining these factors, Christina ventures into new expressive and functional territory in the working of ceramic. The objects already subjected to firing are stripped of their coating that thus transforms into a sort-of gel, apparently malleable but really an element that gives them shape and becomes art in itself.
The concept behind the Soft Folds series below is to show the softness of clay: The dry soft surface is inspired by the way ceramic looks when its been glaze sprayed but not fired. It has a powdery look very much on vogue now with the pastel color trend (see the corresponding trend post here).
Christina Schou Christensen shows reluctance to let her objects be defined as crafts in the conventional sense and are manifestly not limited by restrictions, guidelines and ordinary, traditional regulations.
These last pieces remind me very much of a similar technique I used some years ago when taking some private classes with Joan Cots. We used to stuff clay slaps with paper (which was burnt during the firing process) to mold the soft forms. Sweet memories! G, x