More about Flaubert, 2014
“In order for a thing to become interesting, one has only to look at it for a long time”
'I wrote down this quotation in the front of my sketchbook some while ago and it has remained resonant for me. It seems to sum up how I feel about the influence of the Internet on our imagination. For those of us connected to the World Wide Web, we have unparalleled access to vast amounts of information and imagery, we are constantly bombarded through Instagram and other forms of social media and though we can turn it off, it does become a way of life for large numbers of people. There are undoubted positive benefits, we gain an insight in to the lives of others, and we can converse with friends, family and acquaintances almost instantly. But the relentless stream of stimuli denies us the time to absorb and reflect.
Perhaps this is why there is such a revival of interest in making things. It takes time, concentration and effort. Craftsmanship in other words, which according to Richard Bennett is ‘an enduring, basic human impulse, the desire to do something well for its own sake’.
The making of the Flaubert piece, however might be seen as antithetical, as I use computer based 3D CAD software and highly technical Additive Layer Manufacturing [commonly known as 3D printing] to produce the artworks. However, I spent over 20 years making pots by hand, gaining the skills, knowledge and understanding of the 3-dimensional form in the process. Some of this has been adapted and transferred to the new tools that I now employ, alongside developing new craft skills. So the Flaubert piece is a vehicle for exploring these themes, whilst creating an aesthetically pleasing object that will engage the viewer for a long time.
The piece was created by converting the text of the quotation from a 2-dimensional image to a 3-dimensional object that was then arranged around the surface of a vessel. Once I was satisfied with the design on screen, the data was sent to a bureau specialising in 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