THE MAKER’S LUNCH
JOAN AND JACK HARDIE
4 MAY 2019
I remember when we began this monthly programme of Makers Lunches, I had some concern that we might find successive discussions about ceramicists and their work somewhat repetitive. What these entertaining lunches have demonstrated is that the creative drive and approach to making pots is underpinned by the personality of the maker and their perception of the world around them and everyone is very different. Joan and Jack Hardie, whom we were delighted to have with us this month, epitomise that.
Joan and Jack aim to make ceramics that are inspired by natural forms and have a sense of life and movement. 3D printing with clay makes it possible to create ceramic forms that embrace these aspirations which are not achievable by other means.
They started making pots together nearly 50 years ago and unusually for mature makers have become heavily committed to using technology to develop their making and thinking about pot design. This time with them gave us the opportunity to explore the path which led to their adopting computer printing as their preferred approach.
The two hours of discussion were truly revelatory. Few of us have a detailed insight into the amount of intellectual effort as well as ceramic skills required to produce original and interesting computer printed pots. Five years ago they became aware of the potentialities of computer aided design and printing and spent a long time exploring and experimenting – to some extent their journey still continues as new ideas are developed and implemented. It was certainly evident that the notion that the use of the computer was simply a matter of pressing the start button and lo and behold you have a pot, is naïve and simply wrong, It is the ceramic skills that the Hardies clearly have and their earlier technical backgrounds combined that serve them well.
They made their own printing equipment and they brought with them fascinating illustrations and a video which demonstrated the making process. Although their work is exhibited under their joint names, in fact Joan emphasised that individual pots were identifiable to one or the other – at least to them!!
They were aware of the controversy that computer printing generates – perceived by some as not craft – that is, not emerging directly from the hands of the maker. Their view is that printing is no more than another process as is casting from moulds, slab making, coiling or throwing for that matter. Underpinning the process is a detailed understanding of the properties of clay and decisions about the use of specific clay types, design skills both in terms of creativity and the technical ability to use and manipulate design software to produce vessels that would be impossible to produce by hand.
During the course of discussion, it was increasingly evident that Joan and Jack had a high level of intellectual curiosity that could only be appeased by their exploration of the technical challenges presented by 3D printing. If you would like to know more about the processes do look at their website – www.printedpots.co.uk
This was a highly enjoyable Makers Lunch providing open and frank exchanges which confirmed for everyone, including Joan and Jack, the value of engaging and open discussion over an excellent lunch.
Thank you to everyone.