Culture Victoria

Or else!

By Shepparton Art Museum Posted Under Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Award

By Michal Fargo

 

My works for the Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Award (ACA) are the evolution and refinement of my final project for the Bezalel graduate exhibition.

 

The project’s named Else.

 

Ceramics by Michal Fargo

 

The name Else stands for my search for something else, for different ceramic surfaces and for my examination of the gaps between craft and design.

 

To me, ceramic surfaces seemed sterile and unauthentic. I realised this was because of the moulds. Moulds restrict us designers and artists in many ways. They make us create objects with no undercuts and we always have to consider parting lines and pouring points. These restrictions create objects that are similar to plastics and other mass production products. I wanted to find unique shapes and surfaces.

 

Working in Benyamini

 

By creating a different working technique that does not require moulds I was able to design free forms that are not restricted by parting lines and pouring points. I was also able to get different and diverse surfaces.

 

After receiving the wonderful news about the ACA, the first thing I did was to order many blocks of sponge. The sponge soon took over all my studio space and even my bedroom.

 

Initially I started sculpting shapes by hand, but I also used a small saw and a Japanese knife. After finishing with the sculpting, I then soaked the sponge models into some especially made porcelain and kept it outside in the hot and sunny Tel Aviv weather.

 

Working at Bezalel

 

Firing these pieces was quite difficult as I needed an outside kiln due to the smoke that is caused by the organic materials. I had no choice but to drive to a forsaken place every time I needed to fire, a one hour drive from Tel Aviv. I know that in Aussie terms one hour doesn't sounds so bad, but in Israel it is! :) I was fortunate enough to get the help of Haim, who is an important person here in Israel's ceramic community. Haim is building the best quality kilns in Israel and he was kind enough to move a massive kiln to his workshop's yard for me.

 

After working long hours and a bunch of wonderful white nights (that’s what we call all-nighters in Israel) I was lucky enough to produce 127 objects, some of which are now on display at the Shepparton Art Museum.

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