Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Patterned, Extruded Ceramic Vases

This post documents some new methods I've been experimenting with in making vases made by extruding clay. This work is built on previous projects documented here and here. I've been using a new algorithms to generate the forms and applying decorative patterns to the surfaces.

New Form Generator

Some of the new forms are generated using a simple but interesting algorithm. The basic idea is to have a polygon sided cylinder, make a circular array of these such that they overlap a bit, union them together, then twist and taper the final form.

The parameters are listed below:

Here are some computer renderings of type types of form you can generate:

Here's a sample prior to bisque firing:

Here are a few after firing with a clear glaze.

With the view from above you can see the base polygon and the polygon that was arrayed:

Pattern Methods

There are several pattern methods used:
  • Generating random, but repeating perturbations to the surface
  • Bumping out the surface at repeating intervals
  • Bumping out the surface using an image
  • Sculpting a high resolution mesh and using that as the form to extrude

Random, Repeating Patterns

Another technique involves using "noise" to randomly bump out the points, but then repeat those bumps so they produce a noticeable pattern. If you look carefully you can see the pattern swirling around this form:

Bumping Out the Surface

This technique involves bumping out points on the surface at controlled intervals. You can bump out every N points on every N levels. The vase below has every 4th point bumped out on every 2nd level.

There is also a "basket weave" effect. This one uses a sine wave to push the points out and pull them in. You can control how many repetitions of the wave occur in each level, and how many levels to skip between pushing points out. And you can control how far they push out. In the example below it is every other level. Note how the algorithm shifts the pattern alternately between levels. That's what gives it the basket weave effect.

Image Based Alterations to the Surface

You can use an image to map onto the surface. The lighter the pixels the more the surface is pushed out. This one was made by Taubman College student Julia Hunt using an image of a leaf.

The image map can be combined with the bumping. So areas which are white are bumped a lot and area which are black are not bumped at all. The following vases were created by Taubman College students Jasmine Almomar, Teruaki Hara, Jad Ismail, Akshay Srivastava:

By slowing the robot motion as the bumps are pushed out loops of clay can be generated:

Time-Lapse Video

Here's a time-lapse video of the process. The people in the video created it. They are some of my graduate students in Arch509 Robotics at Taubman College. This is the work of students Jasmine Almomar, Teruaki Hara, Jad Ismail, and Akshay Srivastav:

More Updates

I frequently post new work on Instagram. Here's a link.

Other Work

I came across a presentation by Tom Lauerman and Jonathan Keep titled Clay, Computation, & Culture. It was presented at the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts conference. The video is well worth watching.