05. Learning Curve.sculpture

The concept for this sculpture began as a desire to visually express the journey of building a skill.

 

Some skills we learn and build in life can be abstract or invisible. There can be milestones, but it can be hard to always see the process or compare the before and after. But knowing the messy, arduous, lengthy process is what makes the earned skill so satisfying and I wanted to portray that in a very physical and visceral way.

Instead of throwing out the first 40-50 ceramic cylinders I was learning to make to discard of the imperfections, I decided to keep them as a way to visually experience the progress made over a 4 month period. Completed in 2017.

 

"Never Give Up" illustrated by Stephen Schmitz. Inspirational Image.

Ideation & Sketches

To fully convey the concept I designed a sculptural shelf to display the ceramic cylinders.

Making Process 

Wood was chosen as the material for the shelf because of how it compliments clay. Both materials are from the earth and have a raw, warm and grounded look and feel. 

Ceramic Studio 

Wood Shop 

Final Product

The curve in the shelf represents the potter’s wheel as well as “the learning curve”. Everything that comes before it is the hard work and time it takes to develop a skill.

 

The shorter part of the shelf after the curve represents the highest level of skill reached currently.

 

While traveling in Denmark I learned that Wabi-sabi is a Japanese design aesthetic and philosophy. The concept champions the idea that there is beauty in things that are “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”.

 

I think there is a beauty and a power in understanding the process of achievement and that the process is never really over. 

Continuing the Concept with Glass and Metal

Having the unique opportunity to explore and learn glassblowing, I have begun making glass cylinders. Since this medium and skill is much more arduous and time consuming than clay, it will take much longer to achieve the same goal. However, I designed and created a digital prototype of the sculptural shelf I will make to display the glass cylinders. 

For this shelf metal was chosen as a compliment to glass. Again, both materials are from the earth, but through their refinement and making processes extremely high temperatures are used that can result in similar textures.