Ceramic Samba – Tyler Hopf, Michael Villardi and Sarah Murray

Today we are featuring work by RPI students in the Ceramic Module Workshop.  The workshop is a semester long ceramics studio focusing on the production of ceramic modules with the goal of creating full scale minimal wall systems.  Students learn to design modules, create prototypes for testing, develop slip-cast molds for mass production, and ultimately fabricate a full scale mock up of their system. The featured project was designed and built by Tyler Hopf, Michael Villardi and Sarah Murray

SCHOOL: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Tyler Hopf, Michael Villardi and Sarah Murray
PROFESSORS: Gustavo Crembil
YEAR: Spring 2011
COURSE: Ceramic Module Workshop

“This ceramic tile system is composed of elements that are geometrically derived from the bat-wing typology of triperiodic minimal surfaces. These specific modified minimal surface is composed of a twisted arch that follows the connective logic of the batwing tiles.

The process involved with making each single piece was extremely drawn out and specific, but had to be designed in a way that could be repeated to allow for mass production. Each designed form was first milled in 3D, and then cast in plaster. The plaster mold had to be cut specifically to allow for separation from the ceramic form but not risk damage. The mold was then filled with liquid slip and allowed to dry. Excess slip was poured out and then the remaining slip was set to dry.

This long and intricate process created a never ending set of problems involving uneven drying, cracking, spilling, breaking, uneven mixing, inconsistent timing and more. It forced us to constantly solve problems, adapt, and take every aspect of the process into account at all times. Through this process, we became material experts and developed a deep understanding of the inherent properties of the ceramic, plaster, and external influences.”

– All Images and Text via Tyler Hopf @ tylerhopf.com

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