London Design Festival 2013: Mexican designer Liliana Ovalle is presenting a series of clay vessels based on the geological phenomenon of sinkholes as part of a group show at Gallery Libby Sellers in London.
Ovalle based the irregular shapes of the vessels on the idea of sinkholes forming below ground, creating voids that the ground suddenly disappears into.
"The black vessels stand as a representation of the geological phenomena of sinkholes, a portrayal of those voids that emerge abruptly from the ground, dissolving their surroundings into an irretrievable space," said Ovalle.
Individually made oak frames that represent a cross section of the ground support the vessels, whose open ends interrupt the flat surfaces on top of the frames.
To produce the clay pieces, Ovalle worked with Colectivo 1050º, a group of artists, designers and makers in Oaxaca, Mexico, that supports artisanal skills currently facing the threat of extinction.
"By making reference to different process of extinction, the Sinkhole project aims to reflect and extend the permanence of what seems to be inevitably falling into a void," explained Ovalle.
The vases are shaped by hand using tools such as corn cobs and pieces of leather and the blackened finish is achieved by exposing the fired clay to an open flame.
Ovalle previously designed a sofa based on the ad-hoc furniture that is prevalent in Mexico City, comprising a wooden bench with a metal frame to which beanbags and blankets can be knotted.
Having graduated from London's Royal College of Art in 2006, Ovalle joined the Okay Studio design collective in 2011, and continues to operate from their space close to the Dezeen offices in Stoke Newington – see more projects by Okay Studio designers.
Photography is by Kytzhia Barrera and Liliana Ovalle.
Here are some more details and captioned images from the designer:
Design: Liliana Ovalle
Production: Colectivo 1050º
The Sinkhole project is the result of a collaboration between Liliana Ovalle and Colectivo 1050º.
The black vessels stand as a representation of the geological phenomena of sinkholes, a portrayal of those voids that emerge abruptly from the ground, dissolving their surroundings into an irretrievable space.
Each vessel is suspended in a wooden frame, alluding to a cross section of the ground that reveals the hidden topographies.
The clay shapes, based in local archetypes for utilitarian pottery, are crafted by ceramists from Tlapazola, Oaxaca using ancestral techniques and skills that are struggling to find a place in the contemporary global landscape.
By making reference to different process of extinction, the Sinkhole project aims to reflect and extend the permanence of what seems to be inevitably falling into a void.
Sinkhole Vessels will be showcased at the exhibition Grandmateria III, at Gallery Libby Sellers, during the London Design Festival.
Sign up for a daily roundup
of all our stories