TEI • Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction
Understanding How Material Knowledge is Externalized in a Ceramics Studio
The material turn in HCI has placed a renewed focus on informing design from the relationships found in material-based interactions. While several ethnographic works provide insight into how practitioners converse with materials, it is less understood how these conversations transform into a skilled practitioner relationship with a material. We examine the material practice of glazing that gives ceramics its decorative and functional characteristics and involves fusing mixtures of silica, alumina, and flux onto a clay body through kiln firing. This practice evolves over decades developing from multiple trajectories including theoretical foundations, systematic experimentation, and happy accidents. This work describes virtual site visits with six expert ceramicists and documents how material knowledge is externalized in practice, teaching, and the studio environment as boundary objects. We synthesize our findings into a framework to inform the design of material interactions that moves beyond discrete and momentary material encounters towards lifelong material epochs.
[Accepted to TEI: Publication Available February 2022]