Local clay production/Feminine Rural Production

24 - 26 May 2010 in the village of Höfen, Southern Germany

We are running a three day workshop in the village of Höfen in Southern Germany, which is organised as part of RHYZOM and in collaboration with Celine Condorelli and her current involvement with a42.org. The workshop is also a continuation of the "Höfer Goods" which was started by Kathrin in 2006 and is part of the our villages series of myvillages.org.


Kathrin Böhm from public works/myvillages.org started in 2006 to work with the women in her home village Höfen on a long-term project called "Höfer Goods". The "goods" are results from collective brainstorm and workshop sessions with the women from Höfen and at times external contributors. They reflect on specific local narratives, skills and materials associated. Items so far include a butterspoonstamp, doyllee bags, jar lamps - you can watch short documentaries that show the producers and production online. (www.toadball.tv/works/village.produce.films)

The project is addressing how women in the village see and define their forms of production, and is trying to collectively explore narratives and techniques that can be used to create new outputs. The project is part of the International Village Shop, and initiative to network local producers and goods across an informal network of rural and urban places.

The Rhyzom workshop

The workshop brings together three groups, and aims to result in concrete ideas and prototypes for new "Höfer Goods", which will be launched and traded locally but also across the network of the International Village Shop. The workshop will focus on clay as a local material resource, the history of clay in the village and its traditions of manufacturing and usage. The idea is to brainstorm and develop either new tools or goods which make use of the material and/or refer to its different aspects in regards to female forms of production. The workshop will take place in the village, and the programme will include presentations on the history of clay and local particularities, conversations and mapping, clay digging, ad hoc prototyping and presentations. The group of women is organised very informally, and involves around 15 women between 40 and 80. The village itself has 200 residents.

10.30 - 12.30 Introduction to RHYZOM and Höfer Waren as part of the International Village Shop.

Issues of local cultural production, collective production and trans-local distribution.

14.30 - 16.30 "Clay Reading" with Alexandra Gaba van Dongen.

Coffee and Cake drop in session, with the invitation to the women of Höfen to bring clay or clay related items/stories/photos. Alexandra is the curator of the ceramics collection at Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, and can read items within their historic cultural and design context. This session will lead to a first survey of local goods and knowledge in context.

17.00 - 18.00 Wrapping up and outlining first themes for new products.

Tues 25th

09.00 - 12.00 Clay digging and processing. Michael Back who is a clay specialist and runs the historic Brick Factory at the open-air Museum in Bad Windsheim will join us to dig clay locally and process it for first product prototypes. He will bring tools and equipment to process the clay into first products and prototypes.


Group session to assess product ideas and themes so far.

Break out groups, developing articulate briefs for new products.

Sketching, 3D model making, filming or photo diary, etc.

19.00 Public event with

Thomas Gunzelmann, local historian, on the history of the village within the region.

Alexandra Gaba van Dongen, on findings and observations from the clay reading and the workshop so far.

Wed 27th

9.00 - 12.00 Conclusion day one and two.

Refining product ideas and prototypes.


Group presentation and discussion on the economy of production and the different value systems involved in their production and distribution.

14.00 Preparing workshop material and outcomes for and informal public exhibition

15.00 Public presentation

16.00 End

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