Robotics as a Craft-based Tool within the Field of Ceramics



The project focus on the possibilities that robotics brings into ceramic craft practice.
Focusing on practices with ceramics, the question is how and where traditional craft-based knowledge, routed in skills and experience of making three dimensional objects, can meet and inform novel ceramic processes, which utilize robotics?
Craft practice is, in this research, based on the idea that the interaction with a responding material guides the ceramicist (Leach, 1940; Dormer, 1994; Sennett, 2008), and crafting and execution work in unity in a way that is intuitive and humanistic (Leach, 1940; Dormer, 1994; Groth et al, 2013).
The Collaborative Robot
The project focuses on the use of an UR robot, also named a collaborative robot or a cobot. The UR robot is characterized by being easy to program, e.g. by being able to record and repeat movements by moving the arm of the robot. Instead of thinking of craft and technology as diametric positions, technology is here seen as an enabling force—following McCullough’s (1998) idea about a close connection between digital work and craft practice.
Thus, the project focuses on robotics as an extension of the hand. Not based on automation or imitation, but rather on synergy. E.g. advances in technology allow us to bridge from spatial hand gestures to the movement of the robot via a programming platform that transforms the hand gestures and utilizes the ability for precision, repetition and complexity of the robot.
Initial Experiments
The use of a cutting wire is a classic technique within ceramic crafts that often is used in conjunction with other techniques such as throwing, extrusion, or modeling. The cutting wire technique will form the basis for initial experiments with the UR robot. A cutting wire is mounted on the robot arm and examined in the making of 3d and 2d objects such as the tile and brick in relation to an architectural context. The focus is on the patterns produced by the traces of the wire.
A robot is not a tool itself, but becomes a tool when targeted by the user through programming and the design of use. Thus, the tool, craft practice and design thinking are closely integrated and allow for unique solutions.
KADK is characterized by a long and strong tradition within craft practice. This questions how such a new technological development open spaces for new expressions and allow rethinking of traditions within craft practice. Thus, it is of great importance that we take part in developing this area. Nevertheless, the project is not only focusing on rethinking of craft practice in this area, but also on the teaching strategies and the development of the workshop culture in order to prepare the next generation of architects and designers.
Effektiv start/slut dato01/11/201901/06/2021


  • ceramics
  • Robot
  • digital crafting
  • craft