Oornament Studio’s porcelain paintbrushes double as sculptures
Jane Englefield | 8 April 2021
Landscape Tail is a set of porcelain artists’ paintbrushes created by Oornament Studio that are both functional design objects and decorative sculptures in their own right.
Led by designer Daniel Huang and artist Su Yu-Xin, the studio wanted to explore the idea of making an artwork out of an object that is normally considered solely as an artist’s tool.
Landscape Tail is a set of sculptural paintbrushes
The resulting project is Landscape Tail, a collection of earthy and pastel-toned paintbrushes created by Huang from kaolin clay, which is fired at high temperatures in a kiln and becomes porcelain.
Each piece of porcelain is fitted with hand-bound brush bristles, attached to marine-grade 316 stainless steel ferrules, or small rings joined together.
The brushes are handmade from porcelain
Informed by conversations with Yu-Xin’s about colour, Huang designed the brushes with nature in mind.
“The porcelain body is inspired by landscape formation, and the metaphoric tail represents the echoing of brush-marks,” Oornament Studio told Dezeen.
“As many artist pigments are made from earth minerals, we decided to create brushes that carried the hint of a relationship with earth – in this case, clay, and the choices of glaze were selected among different tones found in nature.”
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Landscape Tail was created during a two-week trip in Jingdezhen, China. Dubbed the country’s Porcelain Capital, the city has a well-documented history of producing some of China’s most notable ceramics.
Huang crafted the collection of paintbrushes by hand with the assistance of local artisans, and also Yu-Xin’s guidance.
Various handle and bristle sizes form the collection
With bristles varying in formation, density and length, each of the brushes is a sculpture that can also be used for different styles of painting, from large strokes to more controlled mark-making.
The project explores the process of making a tool that is designed primarily to make art but also becomes an artwork itself once made.
The project explores designed objects as artworks
“Tools, by definition, are devices used to carry out a particular function. By shedding off the definition of serving an ultimate function, can expressive tools reshape the experience of art-making?” asked Oornament Studio.
As a designer and an artist with different professional backgrounds, Huang and Yu-Xin exchange knowledge to form new ideas.
“We joked that we only explore projects that might be considered too artistic for designers, and too designed for artists,” said the duo.
A glazed finish coats the brushes
Other recent projects that investigate the boundaries between design and art include a Mexico City exhibition of ambiguous objects presented by Masa gallery, and a series of sculptural furniture pieces by Jonathan Trayte which resemble the American landscape.
Photography is by Oornament Studio.