Short individual presentation about the development and context of my practice.
Since my first contact with Kashubian folklore on holiday visit to the polish folklore museum in Krakow, i was very moved and intrigued by the originality and grace and charm of the crafts from this region located in north of Poland in the scenery created by the Baltic sea and ancient forests.
Kashubian people are strongly attached to their own distinctive traditions including; music,dance, clothing, food and a great varaiety of crafts. After this first contact I got myself more into it by reading, following kashubian folklore on the internet and any ocasional exhibition i could attend and even visiting few local archaives. All of wich has helped me to understand a very particular visual language based originaly in the repetition of very schematic, natural chapes to create patterns but that has also evolved to more narrative compositions holding the stories and myths of their culture.
As a designer maker I am interested in the posibilities of translating traditional Kashubian visual language and crafts into contemporary design; but first i had to get familiar with the elements of this crafts including the work with wood as the material i intended to use in my project and also to get a deeper understanding of the ideas behind this language. By practicing different things in a series of testing exercices. The progress of this research it would be recorded in my project blog online so i could use it to keep track of my work and as a tool for desition making. For the purpose of this presentation I have selected some of these exercices to introduce the key element of my research which i believe will help to understand the path that i have followed. The first test i have choosen illustrates the idea of multiplication of single elements to create patterns as well as the use of color to introduce accents that can suggest different reading of the composition. Dinamism is another idea connected with the use of patterns and always present in Kashubian crafts. This exercise tries to go further by using mobile elements to create a pattern.
This two exercises illustrates my first steps working with wood and using simple patterns as one of the basic elements of old Kashubian crafts. I am still quite far from the gracefull lines of more refined samples of Kashubian folklore and way more far from the posibility of using that refined language in a narrative composition.
I needed to find a way of working with wood more eficiently so i could use more complex deisgns without compromising the end result in a reasonable time in terms of productivity. Using the resources on hand i found laser cutting was the answear.With a background as an illustrator my research was much farther achead on paper that it was on wood. Laser cutting helped me kind of bringing it all together. Now i could use hand drawn designs in the way Kashubian folklore does on embroidery, as one of their finnest crafts and translate them onto wood. The challenge of this procces was the need of a digital version of the original hand made design ready for laser cutting:
The original drawing is first scanned in high resolution. This scan is imported onto a vector drawing software to be used as a template. The design is then drawn again using vectors and quite a lot of patience just as a emroidery making. This vector drawing is finally use by laser cutter to translate it on wood.
Once i got more familiar with this technique i could finnaly focus on other ideas of my interest behind Kashubian visual language. As i had decided my final project to be presented as a piece of furniture (a cabinet) i felt that my design should include volume and sense of touch as the esence of any tridajencional object.
The next exercices are exactly about that, using the posibilities of laser cutting for just marking the wood or actually cutting through it as well as different ways of assambeling the cuts. Thanks to these exercices i could notice that different patterns of similar graphic style could be mixed and somehow still create the idea of a pattern. This opened the door to narrative compositions made of different individual elements not necesarly working as a pattern in terms of repetition but still fluid and connected as patterns are.
This is the main idea I am working at the moment and hopefully will come to complete the final cabinet that i have designed as a personal interpretation of the old Kashubian „ Kufer’’ used to hold the dowrles of young Kashubian girls.