Care for Milk: Designer uses dairy waste as glazing for ceramics

Young designer Ekaterina Semenova shares with designMENA her graduation project Care for Milk, which explores the effects of different dairy waste when used as a glaze on ceramics.

“Care for Milk project is an attempt to reclaim the value of this characteristic Dutch dairy product,” says Semenova who recently graduated from Design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands.

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Care for Milk project is an attempt to reclaim the way milk used to be valued prior to its mega industrialisation. During the research she explored the effects of different dairy products and waste when used as a glaze on ceramics, which makes the clay both more durable and waterproof.

“Overproduction and continuous price drops have seen our appreciation of milk sink to an all-time low,” she says.

Focusing on waste reduction, she collected leftovers from neighborhood households to experiment with new uses. Taking the advice from old Russian craftsmen, she applied it to ceramics. By dipping earthenware into different dairy products, various shades of silky brown appear after baking. Depending on the type and fatness of the milk she can achieve different color result.

The tableware set glazed with dairy leftovers explores the unexpected aesthetic potential of milk and exposes an unseen side of it.

During her internship at IKEA strategy department, Semenova says she acquired experience in trend forecasting and developing concepts of future living, as well as experimenting with techniques.

“A skill that helped me a lot in the research process for my graduation project Care for Milk,” she explains.

Originally from Russia, Semenova says she finds inspiration in her native culture as well as material research.

“I find my inspiration in my cultural background as well as passion for material research. I’m fascinated by colours and textures, ceramics and textiles. My passion for material research brought me to design study at Design Academy Eindhoven where I discovered how to experiment with different materials but more important how to connect history, culture and experience in order to create something unexpected,” she says.

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