This is a new piece that I have just finished which I hope will be going off to an event in Chicago in November. I have submitted it for consideration to the juror and am keeping my fingers and toes crossed that they will like it!
It was really interesting to make as I was playing with some new gadgets - different types of 3D printers. I have been reading a lot about them recently and wanted to see what they could do and whether they would be a useful addition to my toolkit. As you can see, you can make some very cool-looking shapes!
3D printers use a filament that is melted and then extruded in layers from a print head to form whatever shape you wish to create. The printing process is done either by a 3D printing machine or more simply, a 3D printing pen. With a machine it is possible to print solid objects, such as a chess piece or a cup,for example. With the right kit incredibly large or complex objects can also be printed, such as prosthetic limbs and a team of researchers from the University of Maine have even printed a boat! You can read more about that here:
Whilst a huge printer that can print a boat would have been fun, I decided to try out somehing a little simpler - a 3D print pen. Toy type pens are fairly cheap if you want to have a try, starting at around £20 or so.
What I have discovered that they are very easy to use - but difficult to use well!
The filament I chose to use is called PLA, which stands for polylactic acid. PLA is a vegetable-based plastic material, which commonly uses cornstarch as a raw material, so is therefore non-toxic and biodegradable. It comes in the form of wire filament on a spool, which is fed into the pen or printer where it is heated then extruded out of the pen tip / printer head and deposited in a continuously extruded thread.
I did a lot of playing about to see how the pen works and after making a lot of blobs and lines I eventually made some small pyramid shaped cages.
The PLA is surprisingly strong and it is possible to make pretty much any shapes you can think of, so there is a lot of potential.
Using the same pyramid shape I also tried some other more delicate lines and produced another set of cages.
The lines of PLA are much finer in this set so placing a fabric pyramid beneath the printed structure makes themmuch more visible. The complimentary colour makes for a very vibrant combination don't you think?
From there I continued to add more pyramids and embroidery as you can see below. The luminoscity of the combination of colours I used meant it was easy to name this piece.
I also had fun making a short video which shows the finished piece - I hope you enjoy looking at it.
I hope you like it too - and maybe even think about trying out some new tools - it can lead to interesting and sometimes surprising results.