Born in 1984 in Israel, Michal Fargo went on to graduate from the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem, specializing in Ceramic Design and Pottery, following her heart’s desire to enter the world of Art. Currently employed at the Adama Ceramic Studio in Haela, Israel, Michal divides her creative time between her personal projects as well as work, pouring her heart into moulding abstract showpieces. A project born from her dedication to create imaginative as well as innovative pieces is Else, a collection that earned much renown due to its unorthodox yet unique approach. The Else project is an extension of Michal Fargo’s final project at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem.
Michal Fargo’s collections are exhibited in The Shepparton Art Museum’s collection, The Materials Library Holon, The Holon Design Museum collection, and at The Marge Goldwater collection while her latest exhibitions include Kapfenberg Ceramic Biennale, Austria  and “Shift”, group exhibition curated by Shlomit Bauman and Ravit Lazer at the Binyamini center, Tel Aviv to name just a few.
Else is described by the artist as “a project dealing with the gaps between craft and design.” And as such the objective of the project is creating different and authentic ceramic surfaces departing from the usual mode of using a mold. The creations take on a life of their own that depict free forms “not restricted by parting lines and pouring points” enabling the artist to obtain diverse surfaces. As such the aesthetic perception of the masterpieces are enhanced, unhindered by the inhibitions found when usually using molds.
“My theme for Else is very material driven,” said Michal Fargo relaying the objective behind the creation. “It’s about getting interesting sufaces and because of the sponge I have much freedom in the sculpting stage.” As such, soon after her graduation she was assigned by PCM Design in Spain to do a collection using the concept of Else but switching the material used to resin instead of porcelain. “I tried to get away from the plastic-like rigidity in the porcelain pieces but ended up creating a collection with resin, which is like plastic which is like going backwards. And I chose to do it,” Michal further revealed.
Else focuses on mainly two distinct models, the objects that resemble a stone and the ones that mimics a coral-like surface. The stone-like vases are created by first taking a block of sponge or foam and then sculpting, cutting and shredding it spontaneously. Then, immersing them in a specially concocted porcelain mixes or resin—that may differ from one another, and letting them absorb and solidify through the pores. This creation is then fired on an outdoor kiln, which hardens the vase while destroying the foam mold. The ultimate creation is a reflection of the mass and weight of the liquid material used and is based on physics and not a predesigned selection where a random and natural impression is encouraged on the internal and external surfaces that retains some of the characteristics of the foam.
“I mostly enjoyed the process of making,” affirmed the artist. “I really love the coral series. The shape of the object is very organic. I have very little say as I rip the inside and the final shape has more to do with the mass of the porcelain and I think it has more to do with physics.”
“Else was about doing something new. It’s not about copying nature and in both collections, the coral and the rock, my main focus was on the process of making”
The coral-like and moss-like designs are achieved by taking again a block of sponge or foam and cutting and shredding hole in the centre where a rubber mould is cast inside. Then a resin mixture or porcelain is poured in, letting it absorb through the sponge while the excess is left to drain out from the bottom. It is then left to set allowing the vase to retain the ‘bubbly’ texture that renders a coral-like appearance. Partial to vibrant yet unique colours the resin is fused with hues to create more eye catching creations.
“It’s about getting interesting surfaces and because of the sponge I have much freedom in the sculpting stage”
“Else was about doing something new,” said Michal. “And it’s not about copying nature and in both collections, the coral and the rock, my main focus was on the process of making.” The most exciting aspect of this mode of creation is not knowing the final outcome where ‘the organic flow’ of the foam dictates the shape paving the way for a pleasant surprise at the end of the design.
“My theme for Else is very material driven”
“I have now started to work on new projects,” revealed Michal talking about what’s in store for the future. Ever since graduation it has been a smooth ride as I have been given one opportunity after another with Else. But now I’m trying to do something new and to get more creative.”