‘Extrude Side Table’, 2022
BROOKLYN-BASED CERAMICIST Will Coggin often draws inspiration from unlikely sources. His ‘Pseudopodia’ collection was inspired by the appendages cells form in order to feed and move around. For the talent’s latest series – currently on view at up-and-coming Hudson Valley gallery Studio Tashtego – he’s taken this exploration a step forward by investigating the formal qualities of extrusion. Coggin’s fascination with construction rebar, and how this embedded material is often used to support and prop-up complex structures, translates into his new ‘Extrude Side Table’.
Hand-built in stoneware, the functional piece’s interlocking vertical and horizontal tubes achieve a solid base for a tabletop surface while embodying a sense of lightness. Contrasting the mass of these solid elements with the voids they frame was an engineering feat. Avoiding too much visual complexity and implementing just the right amount of material was a labour intensive process.
“I had briefly experimented with these extruded forms several years ago with not much success, which is not uncommon with ceramics,” the designer reflects. “Sometimes, it can take months – or longer – to create and perfect a process in material as old as civilisation itself. Building the tables upside down with a relatively hard slab was an important step. The placement of each tube was also highly considered, building enough mass in certain areas, while allowing visible gaps to give the overall composition enough lift.”
Adding to this unique interplay is the use of age-old lava glazes. As gallerist Julia Caldwell notes, the piece is contemporary in form but takes on ancient quality because of this added treatment. “It pools in different areas, forming a kind of crust,” she describes. “The piece looks like it has just been unearthed from an archaeological site.”
Caldwell established Studio Tashtego in 2019 to express a perspective that she felt was underrepresented in the broader contemporary design scene. The works she chooses to showcase and curate on a rotational basis evoke a sense of eclecticism, narrative and elegance; meticulously crafted sculptural pieces that coalesce texture and form in unexpected ways. “It’s also important that our artists are forging their own paths – whether it’s new forms, new methods and materials, or new ways of bringing tradition to bear on the present moment,” Caldwell concludes.