Pieces of π by Dik Scheepers 19.08.11

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I'm not a craftsman in ceramics but I looked at how it's normally done and thought: we can reduce some steps." For his Pieces of π (pi)range, which showed at Ventura Lambrate in Milan, Dik Scheepers has rethought the traditional ceramic mould and replaced it with a modular version that is much quicker to produce. Scheepers says that, usually "If you want to make a really good cup, it can take up to half a year," but his own process goes like
this: "I start today, I pour my mould, I cut it into pieces – let's say eight or 16; those pieces are very small; they dry very quickly." After tying the pieces together, all that's left to do is pour in the clay and fire it twice. The pieces are glazed only on the inside, except for the cups, which are glazed all over.

Scheepers named the collection after the mathematical symbol because "I always start by making a circle-shaped mould and π has everything to do with circles". When he says, "I don't think every product has to be perfectly made", he's referring to the obvious seams where the edges of the moulds meet, but it would be wrong to think of his work as slipshod or unfinished. Scheepers' belief in the value of experiment goes hand in hand with his belief that you shouldn't hide the processes involved. The ABK Maastricht graduate may however be protesting too much about his imperfect technique since he's certainly thorough in testing his materials: "A traditional craftsman is really skilled and starts at the bottom. A modern craftsman hasn't learned his skill but ... today we all have modern machines. I really start at the bottom. I start dipping sponges in clay and then eventually I know enough ... "

Scheepers is putting the range into production himself, on a small scale for now since he has no desire to set up as a manufacturer. There are currently 50 pieces but that may change: "It's a neverending story: the moulds are evolving."

 

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Pieces of π

 

Words

Fatema Ahmed

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If you want to make a really good cup, it can take up to half a year

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