The research and work of Jeoung-Ah Kim evolves from the process of reinforcing the use of paper-composite porcelain – a type of paper clay which is made by combining any kind of porcelain with paper or paper fibres. Paper is added to clay to improve its poor green strength and plasticity, two of the main practical problems of working with porcelain. Despite widespread interest in the material, the characteristics of paper-composite porcelain have remained undetermined. The aim of Kim’s research was to obtain reliable knowledge of the properties of paper-composite porcelain, and with this information, further reflect on the artistic applications of this material.
The research involved a combination of practical artistic experiments and laboratory-based material science experiments. In the laboratory, the qualitative characteristics and microstructures of the material were elucidated using X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy. With these methods, the effect of different casting body recipes, production methods and firing temperatures could also be determined. Quantitative studies were used to measure and analyse the properties of porcelain and paper-composite porcelain.
The artistic experiments investigated the workability and applicability of paper-composite porcelain. In this stage, a series of tableware models were made using porcelains with different proportions of fibres from waste paper. A more environmentally friendly slip casting method was used, which recycled the excess water from the process.
Slip casting of various tableware models showed that there was significantly less cracking, warping, bending and deformation with paper-composite porcelain than with the original porcelain. Furthermore, sharp angles and fine lines and surfaces could be obtained even when paper fibre content reached 90% by volume. Paper-composite porcelain had the same whiteness as ordinary porcelain but showed a silkier lustre and was more translucent when glazed. Fibrous structures were identified in both green and fired states. Kim’s research showed that the presence of paper fibres, the paper type, and the paper-fibre content were responsible for the increased green strength of the paper composite porcelain. In comparison, paper-composite porcelain has higher green strength, lower shrinkage, lower deformation degree and wider firing range. These results provide new knowledge of paper-composite porcelain by identifying the reinforcement role of paper fibre in the formation and fabrication stages. The research also demonstrates a practically tested and documented method for slip casting, which shows some of the potential application of paper-composite porcelain in artistic practice.