Val Shammer is an artist who predominantly works with ceramics, so he created his part for Project Egress from STONEWARE CLAY ... and then decided to make the linkage so it was moveable to boot.
Read on to learn more about Val and to get his thoughts about using a material and process that were so vastly different from those used to create the original hatch component
Bio: I am an artist predominantly working with ceramics to create sculptures that evoke the simultaneous fragility, strength, permanence, and ephemerality of objects that possess specific mechanical functions.
Artist Statement: "To create my assigned piece for the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission and Project Egress, I began by sculpting the general shape of the linkage from the stoneware clay I typically use to make sculptures.
As I formed the piece of clay into shape, I thought of how this material and process were so vastly different from those that would be used to create the original component that my part was based on. The process of sculpting clay by hand on a small scale while needing to be precise to the nearest millimeter with final measurements is not typical; aside from jar and teapot lids and nesting bowls, tolerances are not normally in the mind of a ceramicist or potter.
When I decided I wanted the linkage to be moveable, the tolerance of the two parts fitting together and having the ability to move was a new challenge for me. The uneven shrinkage of the material was another factor I needed to be aware of before I began the forming process; every relevant dimension of the component needed to be multiplied by 1.08 to account for the shrinkage of the clay as it moved through the process of two kiln firings.
This project challenged me to approach clay in a specific way and it put my method of making in the context of a long history of advanced machining and design. I'm honored to have been chosen to form a raw fragile yet strong material into a model that looks and acts similar to the original component from the Apollo 11 module."