Transition to ceramics / developing a method to make monumental photographic ceramic reliefs
Inspired by the ceramic works of my father Job Heykamp I decided to try to transfer my visual language from photography into ceramics. I imagine monumental ceramic tableaus in which the skin/ surface plays a big role, just like in my photographic work, combined with the possibilities of the camera obscura. Extensive material studies, especially into glazes, were needed. I started the project by doing a residency at the European Ceramic Work Centre, followed by a period of research at my studio, which led to the development of the Photographic Hammer.
Step 1 / Research at the European Ceramic Work Centre
In 2010 / 2011 I was an artist in residence at the European Ceramic Work Centre (EKWC, a centre of expertise in the field of ceramics in Den Bosch, NL). My goal was to continue my work with camera obscura’s in a different medium; ceramics. At the EKWC I developed a method to make large format ceramic reliefs using a camera obscura. An extremely volatile medium meets the timeless nature of ceramics.
Artistic research aspects:
Finding visual solutions to transfer the projected camera obscura image to a wet clay tableau; translating visual to tactile.
Working with glaze makes me a painter; can I maintain myself as such?
Researching the impact of the difference between a ‘live’ projection in the camera obscura and a projected ‘fixed’ image.
Researching the way color and structure are formed in ceramics as base material and top layer interact. Compared this to pigment in a photographic emulsion.
Finding parallels between glazes and photographic blur.
Researching the role of colour as a time indicator in photography.
Technical research aspects
How to mount wet clay on the (vertical) projection panel and how to prevent it from falling down.
How to make, dry and fire large slabs of clay without cracking or warping.
Glaze research; finding a variety of suitable glazing techniques.
Making the result weather and frost resistant, suitable for outdoor/ architectural applications.
This project has been made possible by the generous support of:
– The Fonds BKVB (now Mondriaan Fund, the Dutch national fund for arts and cultural heritage) made this project possible with a research grant
– The European Ceramic Work Centre (EKWC) provided me with a budget to cover material costs during my research period
– The Jeanette Hollaar Fonds made a contribution for installation costs of the kiln in my studio
Step 2 / Developing the Photographic Hammer
Developing the Photographic Hammer
Returning to my studio from the work period at the European Ceramic Work Centre I implemented the new discoveries in Camera obscura #4. I set up my own ceramics studio (installed a large gas fired kiln, built drying racks, bought mixing equipment and glaze materials) and started experimenting with large format projections on clay. A bigger projection panel inside the camera was build so the works could grow to an architectural scale (3 x 4 meter). Mechanical aides were developed to hammer the projected image inside the camera into clay: The prototype of the Photographic Hammer. As the scale got bigger and the details more refined the work became more laborious. Soon the engraving became exhausting. I decided that if I wanted to continue to develop the work on an architectonic scale while retaining control over the detailed result I needed to scale up the Photographic Hammer.
Together with Machinefabriek Eysink from Deventer NL the plan was born to make a larger and more advanced version of the Photographic Hammer. We were happy to be given the oppurtunity to develop this by winning the =MEER innovation award for co-creation, issued by the Province of Overijssel, NL.
In close collaboration with Machinefabriek Eysink the new CNC controlled photographic hammer was built. It was great to get their support in the design and building phases. Below you find pictures of the building proces. Information on the finished machine can be found here: The...View
Below you can see the process of construction and use of the prototype of the Photographic Hammer. I developed this device to translate the image projected inside a camera obscura into a ceramic relief. Inside the camera obscura in my studio in Deventer a large...View
This project has been made possible by the =MEER innovation award for co-creation
The =MEER innovation award for co-creation is issued by the Province of Overijssel, NL, the municipality of Deventer and municipality of Zwolle.
The competition for =MEER innovation award is organized by Kunstenlab Deventer.