Serial Production is a means of cultural creation which is duplicated over and over and seeps into daily life and into collective memory. The absence of ceramic industry in Israel and the current political and social reality are issues which I cannot ignore as a ceramic designer. These aren’t merely contexts I can choose to work around, but rather they are major forces that shape the way I live, design, and teach design and they influence my work on a conceptual level and on a pragmatic level. They have challenged me to question my role as a designer, and as one who educates others to be designers in Israel today, and to invent new work methods for researching and articulating these questions; to engage in a form of critical design and to examine the context in which this kind of work is to be viewed within. This current reality has also pushed me to learn and adapt the technological tools needed to research and experiment the questions at hand. To aid my creative research, I have developed an alternative ceramic production method based on disposable slip-casting molds made of flat materials that can be printed, laser cut and folded into an endless variety of shapes with an endless variety of surface decorations. By these means I am able to make my humble albeit courageous attempt at formulating a perfectly original formal language, free of appropriated ceramic traditions, archetypical forms or paraphrased ornaments. Within this new production method I am free to explore the historical and political identities constructed in me, or to imagine the ceramic reflection of a clean, perfectly genuine identity.
Digital design and prototyping tools, industrial production methods and manual work are all part of the processes I have been exploring and trying to integrate into my projects. my recent works are a culmination of all these: beginning with the vector based forms created in 3d CAD programs, through manual construction of the molds, screen printing engobes, painting, casting and manually finishing the objects . As opposed to many serial production practices which strive to erase or obfuscate the techniques and processes involved in the creation of a vessel, one of my goals has been to maintain and integrate the various languages and marks of each process within the piece, and in fact to change and tweak the processes involved in order for them to all be apparent in the final work.
— Johnathan Hopp
Johnathan Hopp (b. 1975) was born in Rehovot, Israel. At the age of 3 his family immigrated to the US, and at the age of 7 They immigrated back to Israel. He moved back to the US for his undergraduate degree in industrial design at the Rhode Island School of Design, after which he moved back to Israel, where he lives, teaches and practices design today. In 2013 Johnathan completed his masters in design at Bezalel Academy in Jerusalem, where he has been teaching ever since.
Aside from practicing design and teaching, this last year Johnathan co-curated “Matter of Fact”, an exhibition regarding the conditions that have brought on the lack of ceramic industry in Israel today, and its implications on design practices. 13 designers were invited to create a work-and-experiment based discussion around what they thought that ceramic industry should be today, and what they imagined it could evolve into, taking into account issues of cultural value, economic feasibility and technological advancement. Immediately after this project, Johnathan and Maya published an essay about their research and conclusions.