Jill Shah
Jill Shah
Architect and creative technologist, Jill is on a quest to craft new.ances in art, architecture and design by employing technology which is both new and old or, physical and digital. Through her work, she explores joy, material feedback and tangible interactions.
Thesis Faculty
Sven Travis
Loretta Wolozin
Richard The
Anna Harsanyi

NEW.ANCES is a series of critically designed, computationally augmented making experiments in pottery resulting in a collection of vessels with altered, nuanced forms. The new.anced ways of making reside in the gap that exists in the leap from handmade, wheel throwing method of making clay wares to ceramic 3D printing. These experiments seek out the polarities between the machine as a connoisseur of speed, control & rapid iterations, and the human hand which serendipitously imbues subjectivity and self expression to a piece of craft - offering a dialogue between technological production and traditional pottery techniques. The project reimagines handmade crafts by leveraging the benefits and inconspicuous imperfections of computation to demonstrate human-computer collaboration.

Experiment 1: Data Texturing

With this experiment, I intended to build a computational tool that would allow a potter, in this case me, to manifest their own signatures in the surface level form of the vessel itself. Not having to depend on highly complex and expert clay handling and glazing skills, computational texturing would help in layering the thrown vessel with unique patterns which, ideally, would be derived from various types of data and thus give the end product a personality unique to the artist.

Experiment 2: Manu(frac)turing

The earliest known technique to build clay pots is called coiling. Potters rolled clay into long strings and stacked them layer by layer to build taller vessels. Like every other piece of technology that was ever invented to make our lives easier, more ‘automated’, the 3D printer shamelessly replicated how people have always known to build pots and recreated magic that is so rooted, so grounded and so familiar. Could pottery be reimagined in a way which is halfway between the hand coiling methods and the 3d printer, can there be a new.anced technique that is experimental and collaborative?

Experiment 3: Breaking Muscle Memory

Artisans and communities in India are able to produce hundreds of pots everyday and each of them have the same shape; it’s muscle memory really - to make the same things over and over again because it is what might sell. This memory has led to a stagnation in the aesthetics of the terracotta pots most commonly found in the country. What if I could alter their muscle memory? What if I could force my hands to move without the directions from my brain?