Chronological story of a co:Operation piece: how I learn I like to do collaborations

Last September the awesome Loring Taoka asked me if I wanted to collaborate on a piece for the show put together by Brigitte Martin and Sarah Abramson called Co:Operation Tableware) (to hear more about the idea behind the show this blog radio interview is perfect

I won’t deny that the idea of working with someone else until that point was a little intimidating for me but Loring’s enthusiasm was really contagious!

So here is the chronometrical (literally word by word) story of our month or so long collaboration…oh if you are wondering why I had to transcript each single word, well first of all as my boyfriend would definitively confirm I’m not very good at cutting to the chase and second because I loved each minute of it!

So grab a cup of coffee or load your moka and enjoy it.

Everything started with a message on Crafthaus

L:

francesca,
it's loring, we met at snag this past year. i am looking for a partner to participate in the show, co-operation tableware, and was wondering if that's something you'd be interested in?

I saw Loring’s work last year at SNAG and I was amazed by his talent, sharpness and craftsmanship so of course I was flatter when I saw the message!

F:

Hi Loring!
yes I would love to work with you!!!!
could you send me more info on the show or a link where I can read more :)

 

L:

francesca,
i wanted to double check and make sure you want to do the cooperation tableware with me. if so, i think we should start plan of attack. let me know!
-loring

F:

Hi Loring!
yes I really want to BUT...well you must know few things about me first :) I always have a BUT in my sleeves or a question, I cannot really say no, I hate writing...these are my three main 'problems'
so now it's up to you deciding if you want to work with me :D
Ok my first BUT is about tableware...I'm not really familiar with it, which I can be good and bad!
Good, because I like challenges and new
Bad because I don't really know much about it in terms of making it.
You're right I saw the dead line is 5th of November, so we really need a plan!!
I guess we would need to decide first what to do here all the questions:
flatware to dinnerware to serveware or none of them or a combo?
Should it be a functional piece or not?
Or shall we rather decide to make something that serves our favorite (or least favorite) meal?
BTW what's your favorite meal and dish?
or shall we address the difference in our cultures in term of tableware?
or none of the above?
What media?
Well these quite few questions, you don't need to answer all of them I'm just thinking out laud...and again if you want to rethink about collaborating after this kind of crazy email I would totally understand!!
Ciao
Francesca

 

L:

Francesca,
Please! I love a challenge. I always think about my work in terms of having no function, but you make wearables which could be a nice contrast. Interesting dichotomy. I've never made any tableware, so this is completely new for me too.
I thought something like a knife and fork. Something simple like that. I think addressing the differences in tableware in our respective cultures is a GENIUS idea. My brain is running a mile a minute now! I am not too concerned with media--I wanted to work with you because your combination of metal and paper is so elegant.
Here are my questions:
How do we make our work similar enough that it shows we collaborated?
Color scheme, materials, doing a combo (like knife and fork)?
Do we trade work half way through? This one might be tough.
Do we just get inspired by the other person by looking at the respective work?
I'd love to go with the culture thing, but let me know what you want to do!
-Loring

F:

I like the idea of making half and half and either trade it in the middle or at the very end only for putting it together, we could even do working together via webcam :)
Fork and knife: I like it and I don't
I like it because as you say is simple, but for the same reason there isn't much to do with it.
On the other end the moment I read fork and knife in my mind I had this idea of a double side fork/knife something that we could do half and then kind of snap together (or using magnets) ... each fork has a knife on the other side
As far as the idea of culture, there is no way I can ask you this without sounding impolite, which is way far from my intentions, so I know you are from here but what about your family? and do you feel the influence of your heritage?
Well now I'm off to work - lab not studio :(
ciao
Francesca

 

F:

Ehi Loring!
How are you?
I have been thinking about the knife and fork, but I couldn't really come up with anything else than what I wrote you before about the double piece.
Otherwise I was thinking today about glasses (or even espesso cups, which are much much much smaller than every coffee mug here in US...which also means smaller piece to make ;P), anyway a simple shape and we could play with the two materials (paper and metal) make half of each glass and then put them together (probably epoxy), we could play with the geometry of the shape and the idea of the half full/half empty glass where full and empty are paper and metal (not necessarily in this order) the glass is half metal/ half paper kinda thing.
What do you think?
Ok I'm off again for some more science!
Ciao
Francesca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

L:

Francesca,
I think the espresso cup idea sounds great. Should we halve it horizontally or vertically? I think if we did it horizontally, it would work more toward the half empty/half full idea, which is nice. Do espresso cups usually have saucers? We could also split it by one of us doing the cup and one doing the saucer? Or both the saucer and cup? Too much?! Hahahaha. I am getting ahead of myself.
Good luck with all that scientific stuff--I'll stick to metals!
-Loring

 

F:

Hi Loring...how is the weekend treating you?
This is my attempt of half of the cup
measurements are H 1" D 2"
let me know what you think, I can send it to you to play around, if you want
ciao

 

 

 

 

 

 

L:

whoa, francesca! my eyes literally just got so wide! that's so so so beautiful. yes, please, send it my way! i will finish it as soon as i can and then we can talk about coloring? i think doing traditional colors would be a great idea. my mailing address is:
i am so happy to be working with you!

L:

also, once i get it, do you want me to make half of the saucer? and then send that to you?

F:

I'm still thinking about the saucer, I like the idea of half and half but I don't know how to make half circle with my technique..I'll have to think a bit more a guess
:)

L:

we can always just leave it at the cup, I’m fine with that. if you want, I can always make the saucer and you can modify it?

 

L:

Francesca,

I will be sending out my portion tomorrow morning. I kept the design as refined as I could. I made the cup and saucer have a small indentation so they fit together. I wanted to avoid a ring soldered onto the saucer--you'll see. I think it's quite clever. When you have it glued together, will you be taking photos so we can submit our piece to the show? Or do you want to send it back to me and I can take care of the entry stuff? I have no problem taking the photos, so let me know either way. I hope you like it!

-Loring

 

F:

I can take photos,
but most importantly I can photoshop :D
Thanks Loring, only the description of your cup make me want to start a coffee!!!
ciao
Francesca

 

And this was our finished piece

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The piece was selected along with the work of other 35 collaborations piece and the show opened on May 5th at the Fancy Gallery in Seattle and it was a huge success.

And here you can see my two awesome guys together :)

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