The era of the Industrial Revolution was a time in which possibilities of what man could produce seemed limitless. No thought was given to the potential side effects of industry; indeed no knowledge of them existed at the time. As a result, many heavy metals were allowed to pollute vast areas near production sites. In an effort to find some potential use for this polluted byproduct, Agne Kucerenkaite collected soil from six different locations. These included samples from a zinc factory in Budel, a soil remediation company in Weert, and waste from companies which clean drinking water. She then experimented with various techniques to use this waste product in a transformative manner. Metals have colouring properties when applied on certain materials. Agne mixed the waste with porcelain clay, glaze, glass and textiles. One result is a set of timeless tableware, she created with this material. One would not choose to create pollution in our current era, but as a practical matter, there is an abundance of waste material available for experimentation at no or little cost. Ironically, the material with the highest levels of contamination may provide the most benefit for this kind of exploration. Toxic materials after firing in a high temperature are captured in glaze and glass and become safe to use. These pieces will hopefully become a thread connecting past abuse with current reuse, and future (blissful) awareness.
Encounter at the End of the World
/ Glazes applied on series of bowls, created from forgotten local materials of Arita town in Japan
Arita is a small town in western Saga prefecture on Kyushu that is famous throughout Japan for its pottery, known as Arita-yaki. The history of Arita-yaki dates back about 400 years, when Toyotomi Hideyoshi attempted to invade Korea and brought several highly skilled Korean craftsmen to Japan. In 1616 one of these craftsmen discovered kaolin, the rock required for the making of porcelain. Consequently, Arita became the first place of porcelain production in Japan. Nowadays most of the materials are imported. During her stay in Arita Agne Kucerenkaite was researching the history of Arita-yaki and collected local raw materials used in ceramic making. She was experimenting with those materials to create own unique porcelain clay and glazes. Research was applied on series of bowls, inspired by Japanese shapes and was executed by the local craftsman. Every piece is slightly different duo to the hand work and limited control of the raw materials, reflecting Japanese Wabi-sabi principle of imperfection. This project shows new possibilities using just local materials and importance of collaboration between craft and design, East and West.
Wooden Objects For Human Well Being
/ Sauna objects with revealed wood grain serving functionality
In Lithuania sauna has deep traditions and is a must for a man’s well being. It relieves stress, relaxes muscles, flushes toxins, cleanses the skin, improves cardiovascular performance, boosts your immune system. List is endless. Sandblasting is an interesting technique, which reveals structure of the grains by removing soft part of the wood. By using this technique Agne Kucerenkaite created series of functional sauna and after sauna objects for man’s well being: massage slippers, body massagers and scrubs, soap holder, comb and a cup with a reduced surface against heat. Sandblasting technique becomes not just a visual element, but gives functionality to the object.