Zhu Ohmu’s Ceramic Practice Mimics Machine Methods

Melbourne-based multidisciplinary artist Rose Wei — who works under the pseudonym Zhu Ohmu — uses art to explore the relationship between human and nature. For the ceramic ‘Plantsukuroi’ collection, the process of the 3D printer has been mimicked by hand, unveiling a unique interpretation of machine methods.

During the 3D printing process, ceramic vessels are usually stacked, folded, pressed and pulled to fit programmed measurements. Contrastingly, through the more tactile medium of hand-crafting, Rose was able to create each piece with abnormalities and a greater involvement in the crafting process. “Unlike the machine, I am able to detect the slightest change in the properties of the clay body under different environmental conditions,” Rose explains. “This insight into plasticity and workability, which can only be obtained by spending time with the physical matter through play and observation, allows me to work with and manipulate the material. In the absence of firmware or a mechanical process, no two vessels can be the same — this project is a celebration of the artist’s hand in the age of automation.”

"This project is a celebration of the artist’s hand in the age of automation."

Rose’s lack of training in ceramics emphasizes the experimentation in her process — resulting in the organic forms of each vessel. When using these techniques, Rose reveals that breakage usually occurs during the final stages. Yet these imperfections are significant as the final accents. The abnormalities add a charming personality to each individual object and embrace the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi — the acceptance of transience and imperfection. Rose explains, “Further research inspired the project to adopt the practice of kintsukuroi — the art of mending broken pottery with gold lacquer. As the name of the project suggests, plant life is used instead to fill and embellish the cracks; subsequently the works becomes living organisms and will grow and evolve for years to come.”

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All images © Zhu Ohmu

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