Craft is not only about creating forms and products; it enhances aesthetic awareness, and Influences embodied interaction with the material world – through movements and forces.

By Astrid Heimer, OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University

Craft knowledge

A challenge is to communicate craft knowledge in ways that simultaneously engage the sensing, aesthetic body and the intellect. My doctoral thesis, ‘Grip to get a grip of form. Concrete and abstract comprehension of form’, is one project from OsloMet that demonstrates the role of craft in research and how abstractions and other aesthetic tools are used to communicate professional knowledge. 

Articulations of craft knowledge

Craft knowledge is multi perceptual, and a main challenge in research is to transfer and articulate embodied here-and now experiences.  I am a ceramicist and describe my work as a dialogue with clay. This dialogue means the clay has an impact on the development of my understanding of forms and explorative forming processes. With my work I search to articulate craft knowledge in ways that can engage and expand the readers aesthetic awareness.

The thesis demonstrates several aesthetic methods and tools based on works by artists from the Modernistic period, where abstraction was used in systematic and intuitive processes. I use abstract tools to simplify and reinforce the characteristic expressions of complex forms and experiences. Abstraction can also be used as an analytical tool release myself from the fixed conceptions.

Grip to get a grip of form. Concrete and abstract comprehension of form is an aesthetic practice-based research project. The grip serves as a human starting point for forms and form comprehension. The title implies that the perceptions of the hands are central and that the project bridge different types of knowledge rooted in practice and theory.

Today, the most common form theories in art and design are based on abstract principles and formal relations based on geometry. This project complements the visual abstract analysis in geometry with an aesthetic, embodied dimension. Results of this project have been summarized and communicated as concept maps demonstrating the organic forms and new perspectives on perception, formal relations and visual strategies in form theories. ‘Visual grips’ and ‘Lines’ are concepts that intend to promote and communicate exploratory processes and to stimulate the embodied recognition of forms.

The photo, ‘Interaction between positive and negative forms’, and the sketch, ‘The grips dual perspective’ demonstrate two expressions for how the active grip is experienced, in interaction with the plastic clay. 

Image 1:  ‘Grip to get a grip of form’. Photograph demonstrating interaction between the grip and a Hand sketch (porcelain). (Heimer, 2020, cover page).

Image 1:  ‘Grip to get a grip of form’. Photograph demonstrating interaction between the grip and a Hand sketch (porcelain). (Heimer, 2020, cover page).

 

Image 2:  "Interaction between positive and negative forms (materiel-agency)". Photograph demonstrating the clay being pressed through the spaces between the fingers. (Photo: Eva Brænd, 2020). (Heimer, 2020, p. 79).

Image 2:  “Interaction between positive and negative forms (materiel-agency)”. Photograph demonstrating the clay being pressed through the spaces between the fingers. (Photo: Eva Brænd, 2020). (Heimer, 2020, p. 79).

 

Image 3: ‘Dual perspective of the grip’. A sketch as expression of interaction between the active grip and the plastic clay. The grip is simultaneously perceived as resting, enveloping and as a force (felt-tip pen). (Heimer, 2020, p. 144).

Image 3: ‘Dual perspective of the grip’. A sketch as expression of interaction between the active grip and the plastic clay. The grip is simultaneously perceived as resting, enveloping and as a force (felt-tip pen). (Heimer, 2020, p. 144).

Doctoral thesis

Heimer, A. M. (2020). Å gripe form for å begripe form. Konkret og abstrakt formforståelse. (Doktoral thesis), Universitetet i Sørøst-Norge, Bø.

Links

Astrid Heimer – Ceramic artist, Associate professor
Department of Product Design, OsloMet
Astrid Heimer page on Oslomet
Astrid Heimer website