More about A Small Wedgwoodn’t Tureen, 2009
‘The Wedgwoodn’t Tureen was designed and made to test the software, hardware and revolutionary ceramic materials of a new Industrial Revolution. It is a unique object and the first to have been made in this way.
I decided to take an iconic object from the first Industrial Revolution and produce it in a way that would be impossible to make using conventional industrial ceramic techniques. The design is loosely based on early Wedgwood tureens, chosen because Josiah Wedgwood was at the forefront of the first Industrial Revolution.
Many manufacturers, including Wedgwood, produced ceramics that imitated other materials. I chose to imitate a material with links to rapid prototyping. Artificial bone was chosen for it's interesting texture and because it is produced using RP for experimental implants.
Once I was satisfied with the design on screen, the virtual design was made real through Additive Manufacturing and the piece was manufactured using the latest Selective Laser Sintering technology. It was then hand finished.
The use of these new tools allows me create objects that were previously impossible to manufacture and enables me to inhabit an exciting grey area somewhere between craft, design and art.'
- Michael Eden
'Michael Eden's Wedgwoodn't Tureen (2008) loosely revisits Josiah's distinctive black basalt wares (and offers another version in his pioneering creamware color). Its purpose is initially unclear. Holes make the vessel porous. Yet, the title tells us that it is not a potpourri vessel, a valuable device in the olfactory challenged eighteenth century, as the object it most resembles. So the holes are intrusions. Overall the tureen appears to have been formed by decay and erosion and its mood, far from being celebratory of Wedgwood genius, is that of a funerary urn.
Is it meant to contain the ashes of the great 'Potter to the World'? It would be ineffective in this role but symbolically potent; instability or disrespect for the past is suggested as his remains steadily trickle out through its perforations. The mushroomed shaped death's head of nuclear war, nicely rendered with a subtlety that one might easily miss, also pushes us to think in this direction.
Finally, the meaning that rests most comfortably in this vessel is the demise of the once dominant British ceramic industry. At one time Stoke-on-Trent made and exported more tableware than China. Now this innately English industry is shattered. Spode, Royal Worcester and yes, Wedgwood, have all gone into receivership and Royal Doulton may be just a lien or two away from the same fate. And those that survive now make their wares in China. This offers up a minefield of irony that makes the tureen into a trophy for the cruel vicissitudes of fortune.'
- Garth Clark, Object Factory exhibition catalogue, 2009