Air and Mimetics: Making Form, Playing Form and Form in Motion’

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Form and form-making are central to every craft practice, therefore the impact of emerging technologies on craft processes which start on-screen as an approach to form-giving becomes relevant to the fabrication of contemporary objects.

This study investigates the performative role of digital forming in ceramic craft, focusing on the possibilities of generating three-dimensional digital models by using 3D motion scanning and imaging. The research, initiated and developed at the FabLab Made@EU Programme (Plymouth College of Art, 2016) attempted to assimilate digital-making into the physicality of hand-making through a process of metonymy/mimetics. The concept of mimetics (digital metonymy) as a method of form-making in ceramics is approached from the perspective of bodily experience.
Through a ‘photographic’ approach the process of forming is enabled by a reiteration of modelling movements (a graphic embodiment of these), a mimesis. It is argued that through performative actions like curving-splitting-trimming-rotating-slicing, digital representations translate on-screen the three-dimensional, tactile, sensory performance of hand-making. In ‘Sense’, the screen is a performative space where form-giving is a process of form-tracing and form-finding; a series of transcriptions from surface to solid, from form to object. In this visual context, the process of forming reveals the kinetic, performative, experiential nature of clay-modelling. As the hand-modelling process is captured and made cinematically visible into the on-screen context of the image, is translated through code into a digitally-controlled fabrication.

In addressing the possibilities of ‘different kinds of making’, the paper questions the connections between the languages of visual programming and the physicality of making proposing a model of proprioceptive making. The paper was presented at the EKSIG DRS, Experiential Knowledge International Conference (‘Alive. Active. Adaptive - Experiential Knowledge’), Delft University of Technology and the Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam, the Netherlands. 2017 (19-20 June) and published on-line.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEKSIG DRS, Experiential Knowledge International Conference
Subtitle of host publicationAlive. Active. Adaptive. - Experiential Knowledge
EditorsElvin karana, Elisa Giaccardi, Nithikul Nimkulrat, Kristina Niedderer, Serena Camere
PublisherTU Delft Open
ISBN (Print)978-87-90775-90-2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017
EventEKSIG DRS, Experiential Knowledge International Conference : Alive. Active. Adaptive - Experiential Knowledge’ - Delft University of Technology and the Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 19 Jun 201720 Jun 2017


ConferenceEKSIG DRS, Experiential Knowledge International Conference
Abbreviated titleeksig2017
Internet address


  • digital crafting
  • digital forming
  • ceramic craft
  • fabrication
  • metonymy / mimetics
  • materiality

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  • Research Output

    Making/drawing with words: Form as text, text as form (un-writing and re-writing form)

    Ionascu, A., 1 Apr 2018, In : Drawing: Research, Theory, Practice. 3, 1, p. 87-97 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 12 Downloads (Pure)

    Made@EU Exhibition

    Ionascu, A., May 2017

    Research output: Non-textual formExhibition

  • Jerwood Drawing Prize

    Ionascu, A., Sep 2016

    Research output: Non-textual formArtefact

    Open Access
  • Cite this

    Ionascu, A. (2017). Air and Mimetics: Making Form, Playing Form and Form in Motion’. In E. karana, E. Giaccardi, N. Nimkulrat, K. Niedderer, & S. Camere (Eds.), EKSIG DRS, Experiential Knowledge International Conference: Alive. Active. Adaptive. - Experiential Knowledge TU Delft Open.