Catenary Pottery Printer using analogue
parametric design by GT2P


Chilean studio Great Things to People (GT2P) has built a machine to generate pottery objects using an analogue version of parametric design.

Catenary Pottery Printer by Guillermo Parada

The Catenary Pottery Printer by GT2P comprises a wooden frame from which sheets of gauze, muslin or lycra can be suspended and used to slip-cast ceramics.

Liquid clay, or slip, is poured into the fabric and allowed to drip through, leaving a thin layer behind that hardens into a small dish.

Catenary Pottery Printer by Guillermo Parada

Where digital parametric design would generate forms depending on the behaviour of a computer algorithm in response to a set of data, their system generates forms depending on the behaviour of the textile in response to a set of physical conditions.

Catenary Pottery Printer by Guillermo Parada

As with digital parametric design, different results can be achieved by altering the set of variables - in this case factors including the position and number of anchor points for the fabric, stretchiness of the textile selected, the weight and amount of liquid slip, or drying times and viscosity of the type of clay.

Catenary Pottery Printer by Guillermo Parada

"This is part of an exploration on how to create standard machines that generate non-standard results, mixing analogue numerical control with traditional material and techniques integrated in one real-time process," said Guillermo Parada of GT2P, adding that "parametric design is not necessarily a digital computation methodology."

Catenary Pottery Printer by Guillermo Parada

"This project gives us a new scope - more parametric, less digital - allowing us to speak about parametric design without computers and digital fabrication laboratories which generates dialogues from academic contexts to communities of artisans," he continued.

Catenary Pottery Printer by Guillermo Parada

The designers have used the machine to make tableware, candle-holders and lamps, and suggest that the process could be scaled-up to make larger objects like furniture using lost-wax casting or resin.

Catenary Pottery Printer by Guillermo Parada

Photos are by Victor Imperiale.

  • Dan

    Why does everything need to be refereed to as printing? This is clearly not a printing process!
    It is a wonderful exploration of casting resulting in some beautiful objects but it is not printing.

  • Curly3

    The title is misleading.

  • ????

    “Analogue parametric design” equals design minus computers. Printing does not equal casting.

  • Em

    Wahouu so innovating! No I’m kidding…

    When designers are discovering ceramics, this kind of experiment is what you do in your first month of ceramics school. It’s barely design since there is no work on the shape or use of the object. The shapes just happen and I’m surprised to read that their construction is called a machine. It’s not a machine since it doesn’t do anything, it’s a scaffolding, a support.

    There are many ceramists/ artists who are using this technique in really interesting ways. So please designers, stop using ceramics if you don’t do anything interesting with it!

  • boooo!

    Gaudi was doing similar stuff 100 years ago, except with a better understanding of …well, everything. Please use the word “new” with caution or, better yet, don’t use it at all.

  • jonas bjorn

    Casting using fabric and a liquid based casting material? Looks exactly like this which was submitted in 2012, even down to the way that the “machine” is set up.