The Alluvium Series by Elinor Portnoy
Updated: Dec 10, 2019
Elinor Portnoy was invited to take part in exploring the connection between art, design and industry as part of Kohler’s residency program. The factory is known for its enamel-coated cast iron sinks and bathtubs, the fabrication of which is a trade secret developed over two centuries. “Alluvium” is a series of decorative bowls that are made of enamel-coated, sand-cast iron. With the help of professional staff on the factory floor, she explored the methods and special techniques that distinguish Kohler’s process. Taking inspiration from the way water streams through Kohler’s products, she used water in this project to create a unique, natural pattern, by sifting a second coat of enamel powder on the surface, and dribbling water to create artificial streams that carry away the enamel grains. The bowls are then heated for the final time to affix the pattern of trickling channels and tributaries. The result is a combination of her prior experience in enamelwork with Kohler’s technology in a way that expands the boundaries of the process and its possibilities.