The Vermiculé Vase II is based on classical ceramic vase forms that became fashionable at the end of the 18th century. Examples were made on both sides of the English Channel by manufacturers such as Wedgwood and Bentley in Burslem, and the Sèvres manufactory in Paris.
During the period when these and other extraordinary ceramic vases were made there was a strong interest in science and natural history, which was sometimes reflected in surface decoration of decorative objects.
The bringing together of art and science in a decorative object is unusual now, but at the time when these vases were made there was much less separation between branches of learning. Groups of learned people such as the Lunar Society (of which Josiah Wedgwood was a member) would explore wide-ranging interests and treated the arts, humanities and sciences as compatible equals, a view that we would do well to return to.
In order to reflect on this, I created a 3-dimensional vermiculé structure of the pattern that can be seen both decorating some of the Sèvres porcelain vases in the Waddesdon collection and the cornerstones of a section of the Manor’s entrance..
The creation of the Vermiculé Vase II was only made possible by the use of new technology, in particular 3D printing, where a drawing is created using 3D software and used to fuse together extremely fine layers of material, in this particular case, nylon. Since earliest times, craft has evolved, with innovation and the development of new tools enabling makers to create objects and artworks that were previously impossible or extremely difficult. This is certainly the case with 3D printing, as it allows me to produce objects that I could not previously create on the potter’s wheel. However, I firmly believe that all tools have their place and 3D printing does not replace them. As artists and makers, we simply have some new tools to choose from and can develop the craft skills required to fully exploit them.
Michael Eden 2018