February 14, 2013

A homage to the ancient innovation – felt vessels by Sahabi

Siba Sahabi is a utterly unique and poetic designer, as her works are on the border of design and art. She is inspired by the European and Middle Eastern history of ceramics, showing how one culture can influence another, leading to renewal and cultural richness. Imperfection drives her process of work, as well as passion for crafts.

From the short film entitled ‘Pallas Athena’ juxtaposes the setting of a Greek pre-antique pottery workshop with the modern techniques of the felt coiling used in Siba’s objects. Made by Siba Sahabi in collaboration with Lisa Klappe and Niels van den Top.

As the crafts are at the epicenter of a design world’s interest „again“ – Siba Sahabi has placed herself right at the top. Her work has been exhibited locally and internationally in galleries such as Direktorenhaus in Berlin, OCT Art & Design Gallery in Shenzhen and Saatchi Gallery in London. Besides the felt, she has been also using the black wallpaper, hand-crafted into a series of vessels named Bucchero.

Siba Sahabi. Photo: Annemarijne Bax. Siba's works has been published in books such as Hands on! Dutch design in the 21st century/d’Jonge Hond, Papercraft/Gestalten and The New Artisans/Thames & Hudson.

Felt coiled on a potter’s wheel

In her new collection of ten sculptural felt vessels „Between Two Rivers“, she finds the inspiration in the birthplace of the pottery turntable – Mesopotamia (located between the rivers) – and Western ceramics culture which developed through these new technologies.

The objects from the collection, that comprise a series of carafes and cups, are made from coiled coloured felt strips (3mm thick) coated with a layer of paint on both sides. In this way, each object shows three colours: the original colour of the felt (surface of the ridges), the inside, and outside of the objects. Photo: Lisa Klappe.

The turntable, that aided potters to design circular objects more accurately and faster, was invented in 3500 BC in Ur, an ancient Mesopotamian city-state located in modern Iraq. Around 2200 BC this invention was introduced in Greece and thus sparked a new style of Greek ceramics called Minyan pottery which Siba has reinterpreted in her felt sculptures.

The dense felt material beautifully translates the heavy appearance of the Minyan ware and exaggerates the appearance of the oversized objects, some of which are up to 50cm high. Photo: Lisa Klappe.

A circular, ribbed finish is one of the distinguishing characteristics of Minyan ware which reflects its production process on a potter’s turntable.

Although the turntable no longer plays a significant role in the production of modern large-scale pottery today, the appearance of hand-turned ceramics is often imitated by producing circular shapes with fine ridges. Photo: Lisa Klappe.

“Between Two Rivers” is exhibited during WinterSALON/ 2013 at Museum Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder, Amsterdam from 19 January – 17 February 2013.

– Image Courtesy: Siba Sahabi.

Tatjana Bartakovic

Tatjana Bartakovic

Editor in Chief of Design Agenda. Works as Design curator and writer but mostly living from the work in public relations, branding and content marketing.

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