I want to join the Society for Printable Geography!


I wish this was a real Society that I could join.  The Society for Printable Geography creates jewelry using real satellite data. It’s pretty cool. Here’s their ‘North Island of New Zealand’ cufflink. I can even get a cellphone cover with the terrain of Australasia.

I found a beautiful new addition to my sea sponge collection this morning on the beach. The question is – how to convert this image into data, then into a 3D printed object.

Lately, I’ve been trying ‘displacement mapping’ on Blender.  I make a 3D bowl, then map a black and white image to it. Then ‘displacement map’ turns the darker parts of the image into depressions, and the lighter parts into hills, bumps.  So you’ve got a 3D texture, derived from your 2D black and white photo.

At the moment, I don’t understand how this works though.  I thought if I made a black and white dot 2D pattern and map it, then it would make a bowl with raised bumps all over it.  NO! Its not so easy.

If I took this sponge to Massey University Fab Lab and scanned it using their 3D scanner, I would have a 3D image of it that I could print.

I don’t know where it comes from, the desire to recreate a sponge shape in ceramics or plastic.  Its a mysterious, nonsensical thing to do.  What’s the point?  It’s not as if it had a practical application.  A sponge is such a complex shape –  think I want to understand its form.



Corinne Hansen made the ring below – I found it here on Shapeways.  She helpfully includes the software she used in making it.  Created in rhinoceros, edited in Magics, colored in Z-edit.  What I want to know is, does it print in all those different colours and textures?

I want to try i.materialise.  For the record, here are some other 3D printing sites to try out, at some articles comparing them. The sites I’ve found are i.Materialise, Kraftwurx, Ponoko, Shapeways and Sculpteo.




I never thought I would ever do computer programming in a million years – just shows you never know what’s going to happen!  I’m learning how to use the Processing language, and I just got my first two little programs up on my website http://www.louiserutherford.com.

I love all the examples of code that the processing.org site gives http://processing.org/examples/

There are tutorials, forums and also a Learning place http://processingjs.org/learning/

These amazing tools from Nervous System http://n-e-r-v-o-u-s.com/tools/ were all written with processing – mindblowing.  Maybe one day I’ll be using it to generate my own jewellery with algorithms too.

My next step on Processing is to use a data source as input data to move an image on the screen.  First data visualisations here we come!

Molecular Aesthetics

My most exciting moment in Sydney was pretty geeky.  My wanderings through the city took me to the NSW State Library (thanks for the tip Shelley!), to the bookshop (via a 2 hr stop in the library to investigate “60 Innovators: shaping our creative future” where I found THIS:IMG_20131203_152728 IMG_20131203_152749


The coolest thing about this book was its contents page – an pre-compiled set of course materials for me in my most exciting subject – science mixed with art.  It actually makes me smile with joy… I can’t stop smiling!!!

These names and phrases, typed into the wonderful web of knowledge that is the internet, is taking me on a crazy journey that leads off in so many different directions that it’s intoxicating.  Here are a few:

Joanna Aizenberg and the The Aizenberg Biomineralization and Biomimetics Lab:


I loved Joanna’s lecture at Harvard on “Natural Glass Houses in the Deep.  She moves smoothly from Ernest Haekel (one of my favourite artists) to chemical structures, to sea sponges (one of my favourite items to collect, gaze at and draw), to nature, to biomimicry, to 3D printing, to 3D modelling, to the structure of bones and shells (also favourite objects!). It feels so beautiful; a drawing-together of so many of my disparate interests into a coherent whole. : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_hLD9pu7rY

This is amazing too: http://wyss.harvard.edu/viewpressrelease/112/beautiful-flowers-selfassemble-in-a-beaker


This place has an artbase of projects by artists all over the world that employ materials such as software, code, websites, moving images, games and browsers as artwork. http://rhizome.org/artbase/

This is "Boolean Nature" by Hugo Arcier, which I found on the rhizome.org artbase

This is “Boolean Nature” by Hugo Arcier, which I found on the rhizome.org artbase.


Rhizome.org have a conference…Right now, I feel like I have NEVER wanted to go anywhere more in my life than I want to go to this conference: http://rhizome.org/announce/opportunities/59821/view/

I mean, just look at what the subject matter is!!!


The Transdisciplinary Imaging Conference at the intersections of art, science and culture seeks papers that explore the theme of the cloud and molecular aesthetics.The third international conference on transdisciplinary imaging at the intersections of art, science and culture will focus on:

~ What is the new objectification of the imaged world around?

~ What are the aesthetic and artistic – the theoretical and the practical – implications of this new topography of data?

~ What alternative idioms exist to critically consider imagery and image making?

~ What is our contemporary understanding of clouding, assembly and camouflage in a post material age?

~ How does the cloud phenomenon precipitate thinking about new ways of curating, publishing and configuring modes of engagement?

The aim of the conference is to bring together artists, theorists, scholars, scientists, historians and curators. The conference invites papers that respond to the above provocation in areas related to: Painting, Drawing, Curating, Installation, Film, Video, Photography, Computer Visualization, Real-time Imaging, Intelligent Systems and Image Science.”

Next stop, Victoria Vesna, James Gimzewski and UCLA

Here’s a link to a promo for the UCLA Art|Science Centre & Lab  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2QXL5u85AQ

Victoria Vesna and her research partner found that the live cells they were studying were vibrating.  They took a digital file of the vibration pattern and converted it into a sound file, enabling them to ‘listen’ to live cells.

(The iridescent blue in butterfly wings has no pigment – it’s made up of nano-optics: textures and patterns)

They wanted to measure the vibrations of a chrysalis turning in to a butterfly, and to listen to the vibrations.

By throwing a laser on the chrysalis they could measure the vibrations of the metamorphosis over about 2 weeks. They realised that rather than being slow and gradual, change in the chrysalis happened in sudden bursts. The experiment became a piece of art; a metaphor for the drastic disruptive change going on in the world  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4n242FwID2s  wow – the sound! so haunting and spooky.

Victoria and James made zero@wavefunction



The Zero@wavefunction installation and interactivity is based on the way a nanoscientist manipulates an individual molecule (billions of times smaller than common human experience) projected on a monumental scale. When a person passes by, they cast a larger than life shadow on the molecule and activate responsive buckyballs. The visualizations are of buckyballs that respond via sensors to the movement of the person’s shadow and the possibility of manipulating the molecule emerges.

THIS is how the technology behind it works (hmm this pretty visualisation make it look so easy but I bet it is a little more complex in the background, maybe good for me who is just starting with the basics though!):




“The atoms and electrons in a rock are as subtle and alive as the ocean is.”

My first 3D printed object

Meet diamond_vase, my very first 3D printed object!  The beginnings of success after a frustrating 2 year journey trying to figure out 3D printing… attending Fab Lab 8, visiting a hearing-aid manufacturer in Auckland with my box of wax ring models, wrecking Rich’s desk with my resin experiments, being practically the only girl at the 2012 Engineering and Manufacturing Technology Trade Show, discovering Maya, then Sculptris, then Ponoko, then Shapeways, then Blender, finding the Wellington Makerspace, then FINALLY, finally, I have a 3D vase in my hand.

And this is just the beginning…

I made it myself

I made it myself!: Diamond_vase – blue ceramic.  It took about 6 weeks to get here, and about $30, but it’s all worth it.  It has very fine ceramic sides.

3rd International Open Print Making Show at Wharepuke


The 3rd Art at Wharepuke Open Submission Printmaking Show opened on the 5th of December in Keri Keri.  There is some amazing work here – I feel privileged to be among it! Luckily there are selected images from the show at http://www.flickr.com/photos/art_at_wharepuke/sets/72157638269769386/ for people who can’t get to see it in person.

Here’s one of mine: http://www.flickr.com/photos/44097615@N05/11166193364/lightbox/