You only had one job…..

For the interdisciplinary studies, we were put into groups of three, each assigned a task to make a table setting- either a plate & bowl, cutlery or wine glass.

The idea was to approach it with a Dadaist mindset, to subvert or otherwise disrupt the use of the items to render them dysfunctional.

The Dada movement started in 1916 as a reaction against the 1st World War, and the bourgeois and bureaucratic functions of society that had enabled such an atrocity to occur.

The founder Hugo Ball started the movement at the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich. Icons of the movement included Francis Picabia, Hans Arp, Hannah Hoch, Man Ray and Andre Breton who went on to found the Surrealist movement which marked the dissolution of Dada.

The underlying objective of Dadaism was to question the role of the artist and the purpose of art in society.

For the task at hand, I was given glass to work with. I bought a piece of glass had ahead to be an ornamental piece shaped like the bowl of a wine glass in cut lead crystal, and appropriated a small wine bottle from a café.

The idea of the crystal was a nod in the direction of upper class tableware and I decided to make an object that is aesthetically pleasing and to all intents and purposes looks like a functional wine glass, but on closer inspection, it is easy to see that the bowl had been cut in half and small pieces of glass inserted, so that upon trying to take a drink, the wine would escape before entering the mouth.

I am interested in deliberate subversion in art as a genre; that one has to look twice to understand what I’ve is looking at, to engage in alternate thinking and to mislead,  to change a presumption which is ever present with arbitrary looking.

Hence in the spirit of Dada, one could, in theory, fill the nice looking crystal glass with wine and present it as a functional object and have the last laugh as the wine dribbles down the dress or shirt front of the drinker.

The image below is of the glass in its deconstructed state, cut and ground ready for the next stage, which will be decoration and adding float glass for balance, perhaps to widen the base. I will cut into the glass on the stem with a diamond lathe to imitate the cuts on the crystal bowl. Three triangular pieces will form the gaps between the bowl sections.


There is a need to grind the sections down slightly in order to make them less obtrusive.

Of course, a true Dadaist would probably chuck the whole lot in the bin along with the assignment brief and call it a day, but I will continue with the work next Wednesday!! Such a conformist……


The project went well – in collaborating with the other in my group we came up with an elegant but totally unusable dinner service – the glass itself looked usable, but the slits would mean the liquid would pour out before the thirst was quenched, I was happy with the final aesthetic. Using mainly the wheel grinder and lanisher, I smoothed the edges and created some patterns on the base of the glass


As a collaborative project, it was interesting to see the other table settings and the characterisation that different groups brought to the table, as it were. It was a great sense of achievement to create this work in such a short space of time.


The Art Story (2017) Dada movement, artists and Major Works. Available at: (Accessed: 23 January 2017).