List of Physical Visualizations
and Related Artifacts

2015 – Life in Clay: Sharing Memories through Data Pottery


Alice Thudt, a PhD student in Computational Media Design, crafts pieces of pottery that embody data about moments she shared with her loved ones.

Left image (2015): cereal bowls showing Skype-call history between Alice and her parents. On the front bowl, each line represents a day where they skyped. On the other bowl, each dot represents 10 min of call time. She offered a bowl as a present to her parents and kept the other one as a reminder to stay in touch every time she has breakfast.

Middle image (2016): teapot showing instant messages containing the word "love" that Alice and her boyfriend exchanged since they started dating. Each dotted line represents one year; one dot stands for 10 messages. The teapot shows how they went from a long-distance relationship to recent years when they were geographically closer and texting was less necessary.

Right image (2016): bowl showing the productivity of Alice's boyfriend over the course of one year, offered to him as a birthday gift – the outside surface shows git commits, while the inside shows the number of emails sent per month.

Life in Clay explores turning data about my life and the lives of my loved ones into functional pottery. By making objects that can be touched,  loved and used every day I want to give our elusive personal data a physical presence. The pattern of each handcrafted artifact represents a precious memory, experience or relationship that I want to remember or remind others of. The data pots create opportunities for the stories hidden in my data to be serendipitously reencountered,  shared over dinner with friends or silently reflected upon with a cup of coffee on the couch.


  1. Alice Thudt (2017) Life in Clay.
  2. Alice Thudt, Uta Hinrichs and Sheelagh Carpendale (2017) Data Craft: Integrating Data into Daily Practices and Shared Reflections.

Added by: Pierre Dragicevic. Category: Passive physical visualization  Tags: hand-made, mementos, memories, personal data, pottery, self-logging