Klein Research-Xbowl1

Klein Research | X-bowl 1

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In 1882, Felix Klein (1849-1925) imagined combining two Moebius strips to create a single sided bottle with no boundary. This creates a volume where the interior and the exterior are one continuous surface. No inside and no outside. It contains itself, basically. My interest in containers and in ceramic objects as well as in containment as a concept, is informed by nearly 40 years of working in ceramics, mostly as a potter, as a maker of functional and decorative pottery forms, made by hand or using other analog processes. The Klein bottle concept seemed to be an ideal form to begin the present investigation. The problem consists in creating a ceramic form with a ceramic surface that both could only be made using Computer Assisted Design (CAD) and Computer Assisted Modeling (CAM) technologies.


Klein X-bowl video

Klein Research-Xbowl2

Klein Research | X-bowl 2

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Cross-section of a segment of the bowl design showing one “Klein” opening. A number of strategies were explored in order to insert the “handle” or the “neck” of the original Klein bottle within the bowl form itself, in order to create a fluid, organic, sensual object that would present an interior and exterior aspect with no readily visible relation to the Klein bottle, while nonetheless still operating as one, with a continuous, uninterrupted and unique surface.


Klein Research-Xbowl3

Klein Research | X-bowl 3

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This designed segment can then be rotated 360 degrees to create the full, complete form of the bowl. The bowl consists of two-walled form with multiple inserted tube openings at the rim, penetrating the interior volume, then coming out of the exterior wall and reconnecting with that wall, like the Klein bottle does. This made visible the inner workings of the object and it was decided to add another wall to the exterior shape in order to hide the tubing and simplify the overall shape.

Klein Research-Xbowl4

Klein Research | X-bowl 4

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By doubling the forms and reversing one of them, they can then be joined at the foot to create an even more complex object, whose overall profile, if we connect the exteriors and the interiors as a continuous line, resembles an “X”, hence the name of the double bowl, the “X” bowl. Each individual bowl has also been distorted into an oval, in order to add to its formal and visual complexity but also to alter the profile of the overall form when the two bowls are joined together while shifted by 180 degrees. This adds dynamism to the object by making one bowl appear smaller than the other and vice-versa, although they are exactly the same.

Klein Research-Xbowl5

Klein Research | X-bowl 5

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Two ceramic printed bowls joined together. This object can also be positioned either way, with no real top or bottom, contesting the implied directionality found in traditional pottery forms.

Klein Research-Xbowl6

Klein Research | X-bowl 6

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Since the overall profile is shaped like an “X”, this graphic form can be recombined following the principles of the “Sierpinsky carpet” or the “Menger sponge”, forms within forms endlessly, to create a surface to cover the ceramic object. This surface will be topographical, with a dimensional staircase effect to add texture to the bowl while connecting both surface and form stylistically and conceptually. Other surface solutions will be explored, always combining the two aspects, form and surface to create a digitally produced ceramic object that could not be made in any other way.

Klein Research-Xbowl7

Klein Research | X-bowl 7

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Another surface solution consist in using a wire mesh image of the form itself, with its arbitrary generated computer colors, to create an overall ceramic decal that will be printed digitally as well, then transferred to the digitally printed ceramic form and fused in a kiln. Thus, the surface of the actual object produced represents in a graphic manner the interior workings of the form.