The One Liner Bowls are a series of glass bowls that have their form derived from digitized hand movement. The project was initiated in 2006 by Tavs Jorgensen, a designer and researcher working with digital fabrication to extend the design tool-set. What strikes me about his work is the high level of craft combined with a willingness to experiment with new technologies.
From there the 3D line is extruded and unrolled to create a flat piece of geometry representing the varying height of the 3D line.
The unrolled geometry is then cut out from bendable 0.5mm stainless steel sheet with a CNC laser. The top down projection of the 3D line is cut from stiff 6mm medium density fiberboard (MDF) and used as a collar so the steel sheet can be rolled up again, inserted, and held in place.
Above you can see the individual pieces and the assembled model of the original 3D line is shown below.
The next step is to create a mold that can be used in a kiln. Refractory plaster is cast around the stainless steel sheet ring and the flammable MDF collar is removed. Once in the kiln, circular 6mm flat glass is placed on the steel ring and through ‘free fall slumping’ bent into place with heat and gravity.
After cooling, the excess glass hanging over the edges can be kept as is or trimmed to create the final bowl form.
The One Liner Bowls beautifully combine digital fabrication techniques with traditional craft. It is a refreshing approach to see such an emphasis on the materials used with digital fabrication:
I believe materiality is a very important aspect in all physical creative output. But at the moment there is little focus on the aesthetic qualities of the materials used in the digital fabrication process. This is particularly the case with Rapid Prototyping. Fused deposition modeling (FDM) is perhaps the worst example, with truly awful aesthetic qualities.
Jorgensen’s approach stems from his background in craft, and in particular pottery. However this is problematic for the new generation of artists and designers who lack this background and have learned ‘sculpting’ through digital fabrication.
I believe that intimate knowledge of materials is one of the central aspects that craft skills provides the creative practitioner – both in terms of the structural and aesthetic properties. If you have developed all your work virtually via CAD without any material knowledge then you are likely to get a very nasty surprise when it comes to realize the designs in the physical world.
Jorgensen suggests we must also adapt our skills to the changing tool-set:
On the other hand I’m not a fan of preserving craft skills just for the sake of it. Humans have throughout history developed skills in response to needs, so if a particular craft skill is no longer relevant then I see no reason why we should try to artificially preserve it. Instead we should develop new hand skills which relate to the changing technology. I believe new hand skills could have a great role to play in combination with emerging digital fabrication techniques.
The One Liner Bowls clearly demonstrate how new craft skills and processes can be developed together with digital fabrication technology. The bowls themselves are still being sold and the process continuously refined. Contact Tavs Jorgensen for more information. Thank you for your time Tavs!