Finding The Materials Limit – Be A Better Designer

Maple Vessel hand turned by Brian Benham

Maple Vessel hand turned by Brian BenhamTo elaborate on yesterday’s post about my ceramic artist friend being obsessed with pushing the limits of the clay, trying to see how thin he could go and how far he could push a curve before it all fell apart.  His theory was that if he found the limits of the material he could design pieces using those limits and his designs would be over the top, and on the edge of what was possible.

In his pursuit, he discovered that he could never find the true limits of the material, that his technique and the limits of the material go hand in hand.  As he perfected his technique he could push the failure point of the material even further.  If nothing is ever perfect, at what point do you say your technique is perfect enough, to say that it no longer effects how far you can push the failure point of the material you are working with?   With that realization he focused more on his technique and how his technique affected the material he was working with.

The vessel above I made from hard maple, if you look closely on the right side, under the lip, just past the shadows, you will see the formation of a crack starting.  Was it a defect in the wood when I started turning it, did I reach the limit of the material, or an imperfection in my technique?

You may also like

Leave a Reply