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26. July, 2010 / Idun

Translucency

Lately I have been working with translucency in clay, and I have become fascinated by the translucency of wafer thin vitrified porcelain. Combined with my colour explorations, I have for a while had the idea of combining the colours with the translucency to “trap” light inside vessels. Porcelain is highly translucent, however, as soon as the terracotta is added the amount of light that is allowed to flow through the fired clay quickly becomes limited. The presence of colour means the absence of light.

It is quite interesting how this directly relates to how we perceive colour. When we see colours, it is because object reflects certain wavelengths of light (colours), and absorb all other. So a red apple will absorb all colour except red, thus the apple will appear red to us. White objects reflect all colour, while black objects absorb everything. The porcelain allows the flow of light. It is white and translucent. Once colour is introduced the light is absorbed, and the barrier that prevents light from flowing becomes more dense, as shown in the images below.

Tests so far have shown that using the different colours can allow an illusion of light being contained in a vessel, shown in the lower image. I believe that varying the position of colours might allow for the light to escape, to be contained, or to be divided. That shall be the next step in my explorations.

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