The Surface 

The world around us is becoming increasingly immaterial. We are now used to write emails instead of letters, to pay online, to download music and touch virtual buttons on touch screens. We live in a society of images, a visual culture loaded with colours, advertisements, television and the internet. The space of physical interaction and the possibility of sensual experience is limited. Surfaces nurture visually the wish to touch material textures, listen to the sound while your fingers are moving and scanning imperfections and patterns, softness and rigidity. It is a behavourial setting which allows a temporary escape of prewritten routines of everyday life and therefore enhances the emotional value of an object. It is the visible result of the creative process of its production, framed in a still moment, which functions as space of display for the inner Gestalt of an object. The naturally grown surface shows patterns of growth and movement. It has the ability to preserve damages from the past, that are shown in the constant process of its changing texture. The produced surface is filled with the vision of it's creator. Time is imbedded through the action of crafting and workmanship to enhance the value of the surface. 

The surface interacts with our memories, everything we have seen and touched is saved in our personal archive. A surface can trigger an image, a visual experience, a feeling of this archive. Furthermore, a surface is able to store memories. This could be the scratch in a wooden tabletop, the chipped porcelain cup, the stain on a piece of textile. One problem of today’s products, especially looking at electronic devices, is that they are at their best state when first taken out of the packaging. From this day the surfaces age rapidly. Some people even leave the protection foil on the displays, to extend the products status of looking brand-new. Therefore there is a need to concentrate on materials which are able to grow old beautifully. This is fundamental feature for products, which are able to last longer.

The surface defines the ’soul’ of an object, ready to be seen from the outside and showing its vulnerability to the world. It is the beauty of detailed organic imperfection, provoking the spectator to engage in a material realtionship in the moment of their encounter in form of a simple touch. 


Glazing clay is one of the oldest techniques to decorate products of everyday life. I developed a specific process to apply the glazes.  The process of firing transforms the liquid suspension of metal oxides and powdered minerals into various glass-like surface-finishes. For the „ceramic-surfaces“ different liquid glazes pool and mix together under the influence of rotation and blown air to leave traces of fluid movement and smoke-like patterns which are solidified in the heat of the kiln. The finished surfaces show traces of gravitiy, colours flow and collide.  In this project the theme is that a fluid material becomes rigid, the movement of liquids are ‘frozen in time’. In this sense the surface functions as still frame in a therefore moving strain of actions. It can be understood as an allegory of a personal archive of memories individually preservedthrough the remembrance of tiny variations and imperfections, bubbles and cracks in the surface.

During the process of glazing the liquid suspenses float and mix together, they form little branches, bubbles, swirls, channels and islands. The patterns resemble satellite pictures of our earth, showing meandering rivers and snow covered mountains tops. Each pattern is an unique landscape, naturally grown out of human control. 

The project results in a range of objects, where the ceramic surfaces merge with functional surfaces, which are mirrors and wooden shelves. Some are wall-objects where two round surfaces overlap and the contrasting materials are placed to each other in dialogue. Another part of the collection are standing mirrors on ceramic surfaces. The surface and it's projected image form a new pattern of symmetry, the real and unreal become one new surface.

Elisa Strozyk - The Surface / Image by Ronald Smith