“I don’t think I could do this without my previous experience as a studio potter.”
“But what am I actually doing on the laptop? Am I drawing or making?”
Designed in California, assembled in China, my tool is a MacBook pro. There must be millions of them around the world. The Mac book is actually a tool box, rather than a single tool. The machine is powerful, sleek, inviting and very seductive. It’s cool to the touch to start, but warms up as you engage with it. Working with it can be engaging, but sometimes very frustrating. When it is going well, it is easy to enter a state of flow. I become oblivious to my body, unaware of my hand movements—totally engrossed in the emerging object on the screen. It is akin to working on the potter's wheel.
But what am I actually doing on the laptop? Am I drawing or making? The software I use is called Rhino 3D and it allows me to convert the lines and curves I create into a 3D model. I can rotate and inspect my creation in great detail. But I am only creating a virtual object, which is then produced for me on a 3D printing machine—through additive layer manufacturing. I create the information that is necessary to build the piece. This information is sliced into thousands of layers and each layer is laid down as a powder that is sintered with a laser, and incrementally built up over a period of about 10 hours.
I don’t think I could do this without my previous experience as a studio potter. I have to transpose the object into the real world. That, to me, can only be based on my previous experience. I don’t think I could do this without my previous experience.