The Decorative Arts of Today

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This project is supported by “Mifal Hapais” the Israel Lottery Council For Culture & Art.

 

[The title refers to Le Corbusier’s 1926 book] 

The project describes a trajectory leading from traditional and modern manual crafts to contemporary crafts which are based on algorithmic design, digital research, and 3D mapping and printing programs. Moving between various disciplines of design, the project opens up political and personal inquiries into manufacturing processes, power relations and gender identity, patterns of consumerism, and aesthetic conventions. The work highlights the Sisyphic aspect of various women’s crafts and investigates their relevance in today’s technological and global world, where the longing for craft, embodied work, local economy and culture, and ecological sensibility, is increasing. 

 

The project began with research on the works of female teachers and students of the Bauhaus, which opened about 100 years ago in 1919, promoted the integration between “fine” and “applied” arts, and declared equal opportunity for women. In its very first semester, one man and one woman were registered for the program. In its second semester, 79 men and 84 women were registered. However, Walter Gropius, the Bauhaus’ founder and first director, testified in retrospect: “...In reality, women held a lower status at the Bauhaus. Most women practiced crafts, not arts or architecture, and few later joined the teaching staff”. 

 

My project follows the works of female weavers who studied and taught at the Bauhaus. I research, analyse, and reconstruct the techniques and methods they used to create textiles and carpets, as well as the particular patterns, rythmes, and compositions that characterize each of them. 

 

The project provides a new perspective on specific Bauhaus works and articulates a contemporary interpretation to what craft may mean in today’s culture and society. It transforms an existing work through material translation, morphological change, and algorithmic manipulation. 

 

The project is composed of 14 pieces, inspired by carpets created by the Bauhaus weavers. The pieces were designed with the help of a digital mapping tool and algorithmic software. The color and brightness scale of each of the carpets were translated into surface topography and transformed the woven textiles into three-dimensional objects. A 3D printer was used to create molds into which the porcelain was cast and the sets were configured.