Helen Shanks – an archaeological sensibility

Helen has just launched her web site – http://helenshanks.com

Ceramics connecting quiddities, material engagement, deep history, hylography, the skeuomorph – the life of things – see some recent comments – [Link] [Link]

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the skeuomorph

More reflections upon the ceramic works of Helen (Shanks).

([Link] to hylography)

The skeuomorph – a form that involves the transformation and redeployment of a design feature or quality from one material or medium into another.

This is a common, ubiquitous feature of design, though little discussed until quite recently. Apple received significant attention in and beyond the design community when the latest operating system abandoned skeuomorphic 3D icons for flat graphics – the books app on my iPad no longer pretends to look like a wooden bookshelf.

The skeuomorph is about much more than imitation. Involved is magical metamorphosis, alchemy even.

Here is something of an insight into the design process of a studio potter.

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hylography – terra sigillata

Hylography – the process of emergence and disappearance, intentional or unintentional, of graphical form out of matter – [Link]

Here in a work by Helen (Shanks).

The technique is terra sigillata – employing a fine slip applied to the surface and manipulated in firing to various effect. In antiquity the results were fine and very distinctive, ranging from Greek Geometric, Red and Black Figure, to the glossy red tablewares popular for centuries across the Roman empire.

Terra sigillata – “earth bearing small figures” – “earth bearing a sign or seal” – Roman terra sigillata (Arretine, Samian) was often decorated with applied moulded figures.

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