Focusing primarily on single-material objects, Shai began classifying over thirty items by three themes. ‘Variations on a blank’ is about repetition, featuring items that share a starting point or a common and uniform repeated part. Examples include two jugs and a bowl made in 1998 by Gwyn Hannsen-Pigott – objects that started with the same elements, but became different typologies by the addition or omission of a simple action, like creating a spout in the rim. Meanwhile ‘disrupting a process’ incorporates items that show mind and machine working together or a deviation from the rules to challenge the limits of tools and technology. She cites the experimental work of Peter Collingwood from the 1980s.
Lastly, ‘Off-plinth’ includes items or making techniques removed from their expected birthplaces (a factory floor or foundry workshop, for example) into new environments that shift the focus from outcome to process. Among them is Shin and Tomoko Amuzi’s Wire Frame Reversible Bench, 2006, which takes cues from the manufacturing processes used to make shopping baskets and trolleys, and Jane Atfield’s 1992 Felt Chair and Footstool, which harnesses the cushioning qualities of industrial felt – usually used to buffer impact between moving parts of machines – in the context of furniture.