It all comes together! “turn data into things and things into data.”

The world is exciting these days.  Two of my big enthusiasms: information management and creativity; come together in a compelling beautiful and headily complex mixture.  I took many, many pages of notes at Fab 8 (held in Wellington!!!) and I just realised that Fab 10 is coming up very soon in Barcelona.

I mean, just listen to this:

“…3D printers are just the tip of the advanced manufacturing iceberg, noting increasing potential for the creation of

– Manufacturing processes for digital fabrication at different length-scales, from molecules to buildings;

– 3-D “assemblers” that can build functional structures in the same way that complex proteins are assembled from amino acids;

– Programmable strands of DNA that can serve as the “glue” for assembling materials and devices at the nanoscale; and more!”

One great advantage that people interested in things digital have over people who love… incunabula, for example, is that digitophiles are much more likely to be distributing their thoughts, videos, conference presentations, images, musings and projects over the web. I’m hopeful that I can get a huge amount out of Fab 10 without leaving my computer!

Here’s Gartner’s 2013 “Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies“.  It’s quite interesting to look at where 3D Scanners, Consumer 3D Printing, 3D Bioprinting etc come on this graph. So in 2013, Consumer 3D Printing was right at the peak of inflated expectations … mine included, maybe?!




The more I explore 3D printing, the more I find that the difficulties are in the detail of what I want to do. For example, the organic, freeform type of objects I’d like to make are difficult to achieve in the ‘polygon’ oriented software I can get free access to, while I find the more ‘sculpt’ style software that is designed for more organic style forms very frustrating to work with.  I’m getting there slowly however!

I sent off my second set of files for 3D printing off to imaterialise a few weeks ago, and I’m looking forward to  getting those back soon.

I’m also learning more about the right tools to use for the things I want to do.  Quite a few projects I have in mind are actually more appropriate to do with a laser cutter than with a 3D printer.  Wellington is lucky to have Makerspace, which runs intro sessions for using their exciting tools every thursday night.  I went to the laser cutter intro a few weeks ago, and I’m preparing some files for laser cutting now.  I’m planning to use laser cutting to make etching plates that I can print in a traditional way in the print studio.

This 2011 White House Report on Digital Fabrication is a bit old now, but it has some cool recommendations, including putting a personal manufacturing lab in every school!  Innovation in manufacturing is still a big thing for the Obama administration – the US’s FY2014 budget apparently includes $2.9 billion for advanced manufacturing R&D, including $1 billion to launch a network of up to 15 manufacturing innovation institutes.

Here’s an EU Roadmap for Digital Fabrication.

oh wow how great is this!  The NIH (National Institute of Health in the US) has a 3D Print Exchange, where you can download 3D Print ready bioscientific and biomedical 3D models!! “generate high-quality and scientifically-accurate 3D printable models in only minutes, simply by uploading a file or typing in a database accession code”!!!  Imagine if Statistics NZ had this for societal data…

I also like this quote:

“The creative impulse remains the same whatever tools an artist uses, but it is liberating and exciting to explore a new vocabulary of shapes – part mechanical, part organic – made possible through innovations in technology.”  – Bruce Beasley

Rachel Park wrote this great review of a recent (March 2014) 3D printing conference in Berlin… she’s editor-in-chief of 3DPI, a 3D printing news channel.

Anna Wilhelmi makes 3D printed clothes!


oooh… Lionel T Dean:

“The potential to translate the virtual direct into real-world products still seems magical to me… Combining computer scripted and CAD software I see my designs as living things evolving and mutating, the flora and forna of an alien landscape.”

WOW I love his design work!

Visiting Janet Hughes, a Wellington printmaker

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be invited to visit the printmaker Janet Hughes and see her beautiful new printing press.

This press was made (and personally delivered) by John Mulvay.  He’s an etching press manufacturer based in Waihi who is also an artist himself.  I’d just love one of these of my very own one day.  John posted about this press on his own blog too.

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Janet also showed me some of the prints and beautiful artwork she has around the house.  Being in Janet’s house was a beautiful experience.  It made me want to write Imagist poetry, or do Japanese calligraphy, dressed in a silk kimono.

The quality of the light makes me feel like gently lifting a horsehair brush, dipping it into the inky dimness in the stairwell and drawing an ink wash line onto linen paper.  This line will perfectly describe the clean silhouettes of the bare winter trees outside.

It’s a house made of clean lines in deep yellow, Japanese lacquer red and many shades of subtle greys in textures of tile, wall, delicate paper lampshade.  A soft pearly light filters through glass surfaces.  I’m sort of in love with it.

Janet’s work is similar; subtle and thoughtful, with beautiful detail.  I can see the Japanese influence.  I’m looking forward to seeing her new work on the new printing press!

Here are some of Janet’s pieces (thanks for sharing Janet, and apologies for the  photo quality!):


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