The joy of crafting – Sarolt Sógor’s Connections collection
Sarolt Sógor’s items highlight the irreplaceable experience that comes from crafting, touching and physical contact with objects. She is interested in hand crafting and the related craftmanship skills that are increasingly fading out in this age of automated mass production and digital culture. Connections consists of two item series and a standalone item, and is at least as much about the process of creation as about the finished items.
The designer explored aspects of manual crafting and tactile perception in her prior background research she relied on throughout the execution of her collection. This brings into focus the interaction between the human body and the material environment mutually shaping each other, in particular what we can feel directly feel rather than cognitively grasp. Different objects have different material properties, dimensions, weight and temperature. When tapped, they produce a sound, when we lean close, we can smell them, and they can resist or yield to our touch. We can learn a great deal from physical contact with them even before consciously reflecting on them.
“Manual work highlights how our conceptual knowledge is largely based on tactile skills”, reads the description for Connections.
The starting point for designing the collection was material combinations. The first item series was the result of an unusual encounter of metal and glass, each material setting off each other’s character. The second collection explores the relationship between the human hand and the object. The bowl shape proved to be the ideal choice for this, bearing a close association with the palm of the hand both in terms of function and form. The third component of the collection is also a bowl, but unlike the previous items, instead of bearing the signs of human touch, it is decorated with three enlarged palm lines, in a poetic gesture intended to distance it from the proportions of the human hand.
“Consciously monitoring the crafting process, I observed how implicit knowledge and explicit focus took turns in my mind.”
In contrast with the constant daily hustle and bustle of our times, Sarolt’s works reflect a sort of ‘slow design’ approach that leaves time for the artist and things. Manual sheet formation, drawing and embossing, while being physically and mentally taxing activities, can at the same time work as meditation and therapeutic exercises. The resulting long-lasting items are testimony to this intense and immersive process, and can bring something human-scaled and as old as humankind itself into this seemingly post-human millennium without resorting to words.
The diploma work was created at the Jewellery Design and Metalwork MA department. Sarolt Sógor’s supervisor was Flóra Vági, her consultant was David Huycke, and her thesis consultant was Bálint Veres. Partial execution by James Carcass.
Photos: Attila Balogh (object series), Tünde Fodor (workshop photo), Sarolt Sógor (palm bowl)