FK chats with Val from the colourful ceramics Melbourne label, Mod Collective
Can you introduce us to your ceramics label, Mod Collective?
The mod collective is a collection of products rather than a people collective. I make tableware, lighting and sculptural objects (when I can find the time) from a range of materials and collaborate with other creatives where necessary.
How did you start and how has the journey been developing your label.
I started making sculptural tiles about 8 years ago before discovering coloured porcelain while studying in the evening at Holmesglen tafe. After completing the Diploma I progressed to a Fine Arts Degree in Ceramics at RMIT. I was able to indulge my fascination for colour, texture and 3D modelling in my final year of study. Many hours were spent in the SIAL lab learning the basics behind 3D printing and design before incorporating the 2 areas of design to create a sculptural body of work. This was then further developed into the functional range including lights and tableware on the market today.
Your range is so colourful, where do you draw your inspiration from?
I love colour. Traditional tableware is predominantly white, I guess my range is my own little rebellion against that! My inspiration is my curiosity. ‘What will happen if I mix a with b and add some c?’ how will it look at half strength and on it goes. I’m always testing and mixing, I can’t help myself. The best part is opening the kiln when there are test pieces inside.
Your work is so detailed, can you tell us a bit about the creative process and how your work is made?
I start by designing patterns on the computer, then I play with them making them 3 dimensional. After applying the pattern to an object I have it 3D printed, this is fabulous, from a design file you get an actual physical object not at all achievable by hand.
Next is the silicone moulding process, this gives me a silicone master that allows me to make multiple plaster moulds and avoid the pitfalls of undercuts. The last step is to slipcast using pigment coloured porcelain slip. Each piece is hand-finished before bisque firing then glazing and final firing to make the objects food safe.
What do you love about working with ceramics?
The possibilities are endless for me. I can throw things on the wheel, design pieces on the computer, add resin or glass, include lights to highlight translucnecyor slipcast the humble vessel to eat from. The versatility is never ending, computer design has added a 21st century bent to traditional pottery practices. Now it’s about the challenge of conceiving an idea then navigating the material and firing issues to manifest it into a physical object. At a time when most of our tableware is imported I am proud to be making objects that will read ‘Made in Australia’ in 1000 years when dug up.
What can we look forward to seeing in the future from Mod Collective?
I am just releasing my first lighting range and looking at adding glass pieces to this range in the near future. I am also adding 2 new colours at the Finders Keepers market in April with a 3rd to follow. I am also looking into a limited edition range.
A large platter is just being fired for release at the market as well, great for those who love to entertain. I am working with some jewellery development, incorporating porcelain and resin when I can find the time and I have a number of sculptural pieces in the planning for an exhibition. Again when I can find the time…