Digital Fabrications

platonic solids, folded in paper
The gorgeous symmetry of these polyhedra inspired the likes of Plato and Kepler – today they inspire UVM digital fabrication students.

It is an exciting year filled with transitions. My teaching appointment moved to the Department of Art and I’m delighted and inspired by its vibrant community. The switch gave me an opportunity to redesign my courses in the context of art curriculum, and the class roster includes both art and engineering students.

An icosahedron, fabricated using a slicing technique with clear acrylic. Fabricated in the UVM FabLab
An icosahedron, fabricated using a slicing technique with clear acrylic. Fabricated in the UVM FabLab

This spring, teaching ARTS 244 we’re focused on digital fabrication from the perspective of experimental architecture. Guiding this course is the text Digital Fabrications by Lisa Iwamoto. It is a thoughtful and engaging journey across concepts of forming, folding, tessellation, sectioning and contouring. In class we’re engaged in fabrication and prototyping, using ancient techniques like origami, and new astonishingly powerful Autodesk digital fabrication software and machines such as 3d printers, laser scanning, laser cutting and engraving.

My art practice has also gone through a significant transition. In the five previous years I prioritized public speaking and rapidly produced work for exhibitions and maker faires. In the past year I took a step back and slowed down; I’m experimenting in the studio and integrating ideas from sculpture, parametric design and architecture into my sound installations. I hope to show work publicly again next fall, but only if it is ready.

The FabLab moved into a larger space as part of the STEM Complex and Votey renovation. Our numbers are up, we’re serving more courses and students and new equipment is on the way. I’m grateful to UVM CEMS for entrusting me to direct and grow the UVM FabLab, and the faculty and staff in both the CEMS and the Art Department; both communities bring dynamic projects to the lab. The FabLab is run by the bright and energetic team of engineering students who run the lab’s day-to-day operations and whose ingenuity and optimism routinely make my day. Very promising seeds have been planted – and spring is just around the corner.

 

Sound Orb made from clay, styrofoam, copper and brass wire, safety pins
Sound Orb made from clay, styrofoam, copper and brass wire, safety pins

 

Sound Orb and Rhizome

 

Sound Orb on Water. Paper, clay, styrofoam, watercolors

 

Sound Cells made of copper and brass wire, aluminum mesh, styrofoam, clay.

 

“One must still have chaos within oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star”- Nietzsche