Utilitarian ceramics helps shape our daily lives: it is an expression of the wish to forge a style of one’s own and a window on the design of the times.
In 1949 the exhibition «Die gute Form» initiated by Max Bill presented a picture of good design in which form and function appeared as indivisibly intertwined and every embellishment was barred as mere decoration.
But how does good form come about? Must it remain bound to historical models, or take a leaf out of the book of classic Modernism, or shouldn’t it rather be cutting edge and provocative?
Margareta Daepp poses this question as an equation with one unknown.
The ceramic as material and the utility item as function are the known factors in the sum, which are to yield a new, up-to-date form.
This is a game in which the ceramicist first has to find her way round unfamiliar materials – rubber mats, foam rubber, wax cloth – as she sets out from design point zero to generate a form.
The material she begins with is soft, but can only be shaped to a certain extent: it waywardly resists the ceramicist’s will to design and sets narrow limits on what is physically feasible.
Thanks to her mastery of ceramic masses, she can enlist moulding techniques to produce astonishing forms which allow us to rediscover the distinctive profile of the original material. And at the same time the finished piece retains its full functionality.
The process of producing forms comes across as wonderfully effortless, the encroachments are minimal and done with a wink of the eye. Through laying out, pressing, clamping and pulling, forms are discovered that are like solitaires in their immediacy and freshness.