The ‘Shape’ collection is a series of objects created simultaneously over the course of two years. They have no common theme or inspiration. It is more of a record of a way. An element loosely connecting this set of furniture is a process of creation, different from the way Anna has worked so far. Studio’s previous collections, such as ‘Fossil’ or ‘ESW’, were inspired by objects from nature and preceded by an in-depth analysis of such forms as stones, mushrooms and fossils. Although it is still present here, this time, each of the objects has a completely different genesis. They share the abstract name ‘Shape’ which does not mean anything. This selection of objects is the result of both the frustration of a constrained mind and the sheer joy of becoming free from that limitation.
The design of the ‘Shape N.1’ screen is based on a small model made of plasticine by Mela, the artist's six-year-old niece. The girl was playing with plasticine while the designer was creating her models. Since few months at that time Anna was working on a very complex project of a table. And she was struggling, trying very hard to find the ideal shape. One day Mela was spending time in artist's studio, playing with plasticine. She recreated artist's models by making her own sculptures. Anna got intrigued. The way her nice made the objects was pure expression, with no hesitation, no intention, no justification or explanation. Anna got frustrated and inspired at the same time. She never finished the table. Instead she decided to stop and start over.
The artist has been working with children for a long time and is fascinated by their approach to creation: ‘Children are uncompromising (...) when creating, they rarely hesitate; they do not reflect or analyse. They don't try, they just do.’ The designer decided she would not only produce an object based on her niece's idea, but also try to adopt her method of creation. The screen was thus created without a design prepared beforehand. Anna was making all design decisions on an ongoing basis, working on the material right away. ‘Kształt N.1’ is the result of a struggle, a record of numerous attempts, changes, corrections, hesitations; it is also an ‘exercise in the freedom of creation’. The screen has been entirely hand-carved in alder wood.
The ‘Shape N.2’ chair was designed, so to say, at leisure. The artist, frustrated and disappointed with failures in her work on the table, that was mentioned before, began to play freely with the form in 3D software. That was how, in just a few moments, the design of the chair from the ‘Shape’ collection was created. Obviously, after the moment of enlightenment, the project required remodelling and resolution of many technical problems; however, the object became a product of pure expression, having no initial assumptions nor resulting from any specific reflection or inspiration. Its general form is an outcome of frustration and sheer joy at breaking free from limitation. Despite its unusual proportions, „Shape N.2’ is a full-size usable chair. The object has been hand-crafted from glued alder wood.
The ‘Shape N.4’ and N.5 cabinets are, in turn, part of a larger project of a case furniture series which is being executed under the scholarship of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage. Here, the starting point was the idea of an object whose function is determined by the state of being empty inside. Work on this project was based on the analysis of different ways of using a hollow tree or timber in a log, beginning with the most primitive forms of intervention. The first clues were examples of work of animals, the way in which they adjust a tree to their own needs, i.e. forms of a hollow, a lair or a wild hive. Another thread came from the analysis of human intervention, from wild beekeeping, through cooperage (barrel-making) techniques, to the dugout technique and other traditional methods of producing wooden utility objects in old-time households.
Kampinos National Park
log bee hive from Orawa Ethnographic Park in Zubrzyca Górna
hive, Nature and Forest Museum in Białowieża
Concept, design and making: Anna Bera
Photos: Emilia Oksentowicz
Zrealizowano w ramach stypendium Ministra Kultury i Dziedzictwa Narodowego [Realized under the scholarship of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland]