Sorry I'm a bit behind posting these on this blog. I'm still doing a Symposium post a week over on Crafthaus, but I'll be wrapping it up in the next couple weeks.
After all the workshops were over, everyone took a quick break before heading back to the auditorium for Nicole Jacquard's lecture, Technology and the Politics of the Handmade.
Bob Ebendorf, Nicole Jacquard, and Linda Darty, photo credit Dejan Jovanovic
Nicole gave a fascinating talk, and while I have a little experience with 3-D modeling and rapid prototyping, some of the things Nicole covered were completely new to me. When Nicole gave me her brooches to put in our faculty display, and I was amazed at the colors and patterns that had actually been digitally printed onto the material. So I was super excited that she covered this process in her talk.
Nicole Jacquard, Frost Pins, SLS nylon, silver
Nicole uses the 3-D modeling program Rhinoceros, and exports the digital files to various types of printers. The one she uses the most is a Zcorp machine, which is able to print over a million colors. You can also project images onto the surface, which is how Nicole produces certain effects on her pieces, such as the urn pictured below. Nicole also uses Fused Deposition Modeling - where ABS plastic is extruded through a nozle that is heated and the plastic filament is bonded layer by layer as it builds up the form, Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) where a laser fuses nylon powder together (see Frost Pins, above), and a process similar to Stereo Lithography, where ultraviolet light is used to cure a photo sensitive resin.
Nicole had great process shots in her presentation, both of making models in Rhino, and of the various printing processes she utilizes. I know a lot of metalsmiths tend to get scared off by technology being used to make work sometimes, but I think that Nicole has an excellent approach to combing both traditional metalsmithing with these new technologies. You use this type of technology because there is no other way to get this type of results. 3-D printing is just another tool at our disposal.
Nicole Jacquard, Moon 4am, Zcorp
She covered how her family, their lake house, and her Aunt's bar influenced her work. People who make work about their family always interests me. I sometimes feel like as artists we're supposed to make art about lofty social, historical, political topics and I love it when I come across an artist who is dealing with incredibly personal subject matter and putting it out there for everyone to see. It's like saying that this personal thing is just as important as commentary on the war or the environment.
Nicole also talked about her time in Australia, where she earned a doctorate from RMIT, although she didn't originally intend to. She also had great process shots of this body of work which show just how much handwork still goes in to finished pieces that utilizes a 3-D printing process. Even if is cut out with a milling machine.
Nicole Jacquard, Letters and Notes, Zcorp
I can't speak for everyone, but she left the students at ECU VERY excited about the possibilities of using these technologies. We currently don't offer any type of 3-modeling which I think is a bit of a disservice to our students, especially since we have a 3-D printer on campus. Hopefully, inspiration from Nicole will help us to make steps towards intergrating some of these practices in our own program.
For more on rapid prototyping and 3-D printing check out these sources: