When Isaac Budmen asked me if I’d be interested in showing with The Compound Gallery in their SUPERSTRATA: 3D Printed Art Exhibition I immediately said yes and jumped back to this project I had been developing over the past 18 months. I was doing research and education in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Digital Media Lab sharing my professional experience in CAD, design, and production while simultaneously developing new projects around a robust collection of important works.
This decorated anklet from Thailand grabbed my attention and had me in a wonderfully meditative state. The more frequently I visited it the more I pondered its creation and development. I decided to adapt the design using a mix of modern digital and traditional hand tools. I see a lot of printed scans being made currently. My approach here was to look at scanning to create a set of parameters to then draw around.
I scanned a model, Rachel Hardin, and made a nurbs curve around her neck that was custom fit to her (or others having a 14” collar with similar shoulder and chest dimension). Using a variety of tools in 3Design, a jewelry specific software, I created an appropriated version of the Thai designs and patterns. To fit around the neck with that 3/4” sliver of gap in the middle, I created the piece as a 2 piece with magnet, locating pins, and hand made hinge for a lock. To print and for casting flasks, the piece had to be printed in 4 pieces and later soldered together in the bronze. I use Billanti Casting in NYC for a variety of highly detailed castings as they use jewelry investment that works exceptionally well.
After printing on the formlabs printer and casting came the assembly. The two left and two right sides were soldered and the whole piece was sanded and prepolished. To maintain the essence of hand technique in a CAD based sculpture the surface was hand engraved with hundreds of fine lines. Finally, 10-12 layers of patina and wax were applied, rear lock shaped and tightened and finally, ready to wear.
Scanning, CAD, printing; I look at these as starting points, a place for the hands to take over and enrich, express, and give breath. Adapting an old bronze anklet and changing it to a custom fit modern necklace using a variety of tools and techniques ties together how we made, how we make, and presents a sameness over millennia. We use tools. A chisel, a printer, the potential for the tool is in the hands of the craftsman.
AT THE COMPOUND GALLERY OAKLAND, C.A. JULY 18TH - SEPTEMBER 6TH 2015