Chopsticks and Signifiers

When I began making my own press-mold porcelain chopsticks (from previous article), I thought a pair of two same length sticks would be enough to quantify as chopsticks.

The pair of porcelain sticks perform exactly like chopsticks (as seen below), they can lift food from one place to another. But they are difficult to recognise as chopsticks when not in action.

So what signifiers does a chopstick possess that informs the viewer of its authenticity?

This video, following the making method of wooden chopsticks provided some key insights.

In this video the man makes two chopsticks cut from a tree on his own land. Important stages in this process include:

1) two lengths of the same material

2) two lengths the same size

3) tapered ends

4) decoration (somewhat minimal)

So if I am to produce objects that can be recognised as chopsticks I must achieve all four signs.

Potential, and ultimately minimal, decoration could be achieved with a simple enamel glaze in the traditional porcelain style of blue and white.

Similarly I am attempting methods to refine the tapering process in order to achieve desirable objects. Potentially these objects could bring opportunities for ceramics to be used in conjunction with convenience meals.


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