Monday, 6 June 2011


Plaster cast of supermarket foam packaging for pears

Researching pottery fragments for the enclosures project, I was fascinated by the origins of the word 'ostracism' and the cultural links between ceramics and plastics;

"In ancient Greece, when it was proposed that a particular person should be sent into exile for a periodbecause he was becoming a danger to the state, a democratic vote was taken on the matter. The method of registering one’s vote was to inscribe the name of the prospective banishee on a piece of broken pottery. The pieces were counted, and if enough votes were cast against him away he would go for ten years. The fragment of pottery was called an óstrakon, a word related to Greek ostéon ‘bone’ (source of the English prefix osteo-) and óstreon ‘oyster’ (source of English oyster). To cast such a vote was therefore ostrakízein (whence English ostracize (17th c.), and the abstract now derived from this was ostrakismós, source of English ostracism."

In ancient times, pottery shards were so commonplace that they could be treated as disposable voting chits; 

'Pottery was the plastic of ancient times - Just as today plastic can be found littering the countryside, in ancient times it was pottery that was strewn around' - Professor Klaas Worp

I want to explore these links further, contrasting the two materials and the way that they are perceived. The simplicity, economy and beauty of plastic packaging is often overlooked and it is seen as no more than litter and an example of mans wastefulness. Making slip-cast earthenware pots based on disposable plastic packaging will hopefully create more valuable, long living objects and give an opportunity to admire the neatness and refinement of the original packaging forms.

Step one is to gather some interesting packaging and create some plaster moulds...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.