I first met the designer Jonathan Hoop almost seven years ago. I was immediately charmed by his Tel Aviv miniatures, and since then I have been making efforts to follow him. A few months ago I ran into the new ceramics works that he had started to sell at Paul Smith’s stores in London. Once again I instantly found them admiring, especially the unique esthetic he managed to create in his work process – a combination between ceramics and cardboard folding.
Hoop has a studied Industrial design at Rhode Island Design School in the United States, and a has a Master from the Industrial Design program at Bezalel, where he also teaches. In addition, Hoop has a studio/workshop that has been engaging with design, and particularly ceramics, since 2002.
All images: Dafna Gazit
“My conection with Paul Smith started about 5-6 years ago, I was provided miniatures for their stores in London and New York”, explains Hoop. “Coincidentally, I met the guy that I was corresponding with at Paul Smith, at the ‘Ambienta’ exhibition, where I was presenting last February. We wouldn’t have recognized each other if I hadn’t been carrying a few miniatures with me at the exhibit, he made the connection. He was infatuated by the new pieces I was presenting, and proposed that we would do something new together. After a few talks, we got started”.
What was the work process?
“The new pieces began their way in my final project in Bezalel, where I looked for a way to copy the works of other creators, that do ceramics, that I was jealous of. It was sort of a way to claim the things that I love for myself. The copy process evolved to a tool on its own, that allowed me to create objects, in a method that allowed me to work on 3D programs and quickly create casted pieces.
“I started working with 3D development, and then spreading out the shapes and laser cutting them out of large cardboard. After which I would fold up the cardboard to form the model (also a process I know from my experience as an industrial designer) and then cast clay into it. The results were excellent, forming a very clear aesthetic of material, folding, and all sorts of unique details that came out of the process. Later on I understood that I could print ceramic colors on the cardboard and copy them onto the casting as a ‘one shot’, making the coloring an integral part of the casting process”.
How did you choose the pieces for Paul Smith?
“Johnny, the guy I work with at Paul Smith, liked the more ‘sculpturey’ creations; big and abstract. Yet since it’s a store and not a museum, I also wanted to create more useful pieces from ceramics. The result was a mixture of both: vases that are actually an excuse for making something weird and more abstract, alongside bowls, espresso cups, and saucers that are the more functional side. I chose to focus on the color blue, which is a traditional and very successful color in ceramics, trying to create different variations of using the color on the surface. A few pieces are printed with a grid technique – blue lines on a white ceramic, while others are printed fully in blue cobalt, and then burnt with laser rays to create white projecting patterns on their surface.”
Another version of this post was originally published in Hebrew on http://byfar.co.il and translated by Yuval Regev.