Drawing and Ceramics: Pioneering a Digital Solution



Eugene Hön Ceramics Art + Perception 109 2018 Trending, Technical Home

I am a ceramic artist with a passion for ballpoint pen drawing. In the past, I used my drawing as a design tool to create modelled, press-moulded and fired figurative ceramic sculptures. The renderings were executed on acid free paper in bound books as ballpoint drawings fade with time when exposed to direct light. With the advances in ceramic and digital technology, I am now able to capitalise on my ballpoint drawing skills by creating digitally printed ceramic transfers which can be fired onto a range of ready mades as well as expressive ceramic statements.

This was a real breakthrough for me. When the first batch of digitally printed ceramic transfers was test-fired onto commercially produced ceramic plates, my impermanent ballpoint drawings were instantly immortalised. The intricate crosshatching detail was perfectly visible in the fired transfers, even when the rendered image was radically reduced in size. This article sheds light on the techniques involved in producing digitally printed ceramic transfers, focusing on creative drawing opportunities in the field of ceramics.

I am a lecturer in ceramics to Industrial Design students at the University of Johannesburg. Through my work, I am exposed to the latest 3D printing and manufacturing technology. Although I wholeheartedly embrace the advances in digital technology, I do not lose sight of my creativity which is rooted in ceramic craft traditions. I consider myself a ceramic artist who celebrates the handmade whilst exploring a range of digital creative options, seeking new possibilities for this art form.

My first digital foray featured a projected animation of my ballpoint drawings titled …and the ship sails on. My latest work rises to the challenge voiced by Paul Scott in the ceramic handbook series, Ceramics and Print:

The advent of microprocessors and the dawning of the Computer Age has resulted in new developments industrially, many to do with mechanization, but also to do with image production. Much of the development appears to be heavily based on investment in machinery, hardware and software. How much of it is of use to the small-scale producer, or the artist/ceramist printmaker remains to be seen. (Scott 31, 1994)

I am now able to capitalise on my ballpoint drawing skills by creating digitally printed ceramic transfers which can be fired onto a range of ‘ready mades’ as well as expressive ceramic statements.


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