There are more than 100 kinds of changing techniques for tie-dyeing, bringing rich and natural effects. It is difficult for mechanical or digital printing and dyeing processes to achieve the effects of these unique patterns. Since the Eastern Jin Dynasty, this unique colouring technique has been used in such carriers as cotton and hemp fabrics for nearly two thousand years. We have started to consider whether there is a new possibility for this traditional colouring technique to be applied to other materials apart from fabrics, and utilizing this experimental method of overlapping integration across technology and materials is also the main way for us to study product design.
Because of our previous experience of making ceramics with cloth，we tried the combination of ceramics and tie-dyeing. The dyed cloth was wetted with mud and pasted on the surface of the ceramic body. After the moisture naturally evaporated to dry, the fibre and mud on the cloth stuck to each other firmly. In the case of high-temperature firing, organic fabrics such as cotton and hemp would be burned out and volatilized, but the halo pattern formed in tie-dyeing has been retained on the ceramic surface through the fabric.
This production form of pasting the fabric on the ceramic surface is similar to that of ceramic decal process: the painting paper is wetted and pasted on the glaze, and then fired twice (decoration firing). In the effect of the final product, we enlarged the action of “pasting” in the design and pasted the cloth strips of different lengths on the ceramic surface alternately. In addition to the pattern, the texture of the fired fabric and the wrinkled texture of the fabric left when pasting and coating can also be reflected on the final ceramic surface.
The particularity of ceramics itself is a good experimental field for us. One of its features is that the material will deform when it is fired at high temperature. For a long time, craftsmen have been improving the production process in order to reduce the scrap rate caused by ceramic deformation. However, we think that the “imperfect” effect brought by deformation is just one of the charms of this material. We used different structures to achieve the deformation effect on the surface of the ceramic bench so that it looks more like a seat after deformation. In other words, we set the starting point and direction of deformation by following the characteristics of the material and reducing the components of unnecessary decorative design. Through the two special dimensions including time and temperature, we made deformation become the catalyst of modelling.