Mud and Fire and 3D Printing

Tayo Heuser's 3D printed ceramic sculpture

Tayo Heuser’s 3D printed ceramic sculpture

3D printing is fascinating, witness the media hype (3d printed guns?) and artists are not immune.  I got the bug early and have been 3D printing since working on the Ascent Project back in 2010. Ceramic artists are doing it too.

I spent a few days at the NCECA ceramics conference in Providence RI where I saw two presentations about 3D printing ceramics.  3D printing is a broad term that covers all sorts of technologies. And the ceramics people have tried several – FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling – which is like the PLA resin process I have been using) where a slurry of ceramic slip is extruded into the sculptures.  This is much like old fashioned coil construction that potters are familiar with.  But more common in the ceramic arts today is a powder which is solidified by a binder which is sprayed on the powder layer after layer.  When the shape is completed the un-sprayed, un-bound powder is removed (and can be reused) revealing a piece of green-ware ready for bisque firing, glazing and final firing.  This process allows for much more complex shapes thanks to the support provided by the un-bound powder.  Another 3D printing process I saw was using the 3D CAD file to define a shape which was CNC milled (subtractive manufacturing) in aluminum which was then used to cast a plaster mold which was then used for conventional ceramic slip-casting.  In theory they can simply FDM print in PLA and then use it for a “lost PLA” mold like the traditional “lost wax” molding technique.

ceramic robot

Marnia Johnston’s TE+ND ceramic robot

The first lecture was by Marnia Johnston, an artist and educator in San Francisco who talked about her project to build a ceramic robot. The robot is inspired by Theo Jansen’s strandbeests. She did some very sophisticated CAD designing in Rhino and Grasshopper and Solidworks which was rapid prototyped in a FDM PLA process until it was ready to be CNC machined in aluminum that was then used to create a plaster mold for slip casting.  It seemed a long way around the barn, but I suppose it was necessary to use the aluminum castings instead of PLA models to ensure the molds were precise enough to make the functioning robot sufficiently robust.  The slip-cast parts were fired and glazed and assembled with real bearings, motors, and a computer to guide the robot to follow the sun.

The second event was a panel discussion centered on “HIfire RESolutions – 3D Printing in Clay” an exhibit of 3D printed ceramics at Chazan Gallery . The show included work by Kate Blacklock (curator), Jonathan Bonner, Chris Gustin, Tayo Heuser and Andrew Raftery. They used a variety of approaches, but mostly used the powdered ceramic technology. All of the artists worked with a digital tech to realize their visions.

Chris Guston tea bowl

Chris Guston’s wood fired, 3D printed tea bowl

I found Guston’s work most appealing because it combines his non-digital aesthetic with the new ways of working.  He started by recording the resonant tones of a song being sung into one of his traditionally created urns.  Then he used the wave-form of the song to create a shape which was then repeated to become a cup shaped form.  Finally he digitally deformed the cup form to be more like a tea bowl like those he makes by hand.  The piece was 3D printed and wood fired.

I continue to be amazed at how each artist uses the technologies in their own personal ways. Affordable 3D printing for artists is in it’s infancy so there is going to be a lot of experimentation and learning.  I left NCECA with a lot to think about.

Las Vingeles comes to Jersey City

My panoramic landscape “Las Vingeles” from the Borderlands series will be included in the “After Image” exhibit at Art House Productions in Jersey City from April 3 to May 29, 2015.  The show was curated by Arthur Bruso and Raymond E. Mingst of Curious Matter.

Las Vingeles

The print is 24″ x 110″.  ArtHouse is at 136 Magnolia Avenue, Jersey City.  The opening is Saturday April 4th from 3 – 6 p.m. I will be there, please come by to say “hey.”

Photonic Drawing at CORE New Art Space

My photogram tintype “Photonic Drawing #10″ will be part of the “Rendered” show at CORE New Art Space March 26 – April 12, 2015.  Juror Lesha Rodriguez selected only 23 photographs from the 250 submitted.
Photonic Drawing 10

Photonic Drawing #10 is a photogram on a 8″x6″ collodion wet-plate “tintype” on powder-coated titanium.  Lenses were balanced on the wet collodion surface and exposed with a hand-held light.

The gallery is located at 900 Santa Fe Drive, Denver and the artists reception is Friday April 3 6-9 p.m. Unfortunately, I cannot attend.

Borderlands at Hinterland

I’m thrilled that 2 of my large Borderlands prints are included in the “WHAT HAS NEVER BEEN …IS” show at Hinterland Artspace in Denver. Curated by Valerie Santerli of Rule Gallery and Bobbi Walker of Walker Fine Art, the show of surrealistic photographs opens March 5, 2015 and runs until April 3.  The panoramic landscape prints are approximately 12″ x 100″.

Massoura Breaks


The gallery is located at 3254 Walnut Street, Denver, CO 80205 and the opening is Thursday March 5th, 6-11 pm.   Unfortunately I can’t attend.

from the Hinterland website: “Surrealistic explorations deep into the terrain of the subconscious mind are the theme of this call. Revelation of psychological forces hidden just beneath the surface of reality are wanted to be seen. Surrealism can mean a lot of different things for the individual photographer.”

Other photographers in the show are:

  • Brittany Carol Moore (AL, USA)
  • Freddie Levenson (CO, USA)
  • Greg Dyro (CA, USA)
  • Jody Akers (CO, USA)
  • Katie Kalkstein (CO, USA)
  • Kia Neill (CO, USA)
  • Kyra Weikle (CO, USA)
  • NancyMcGee (WI, USA)
  • Mandarine Montgomery (Victoria, Australia)
  • Mark Schmidt (NY, USA)
  • Stacie Smith (CO, USA)
  • Skott Chandler (CO, USA)
  • Sam Nguyen (CO, USA)
  • Tom Carr (CO, USA)Phil Waters (CO, USA)


Gallery Director’s Choice at Abecedarian Gallery

3d printed book

Wm. S. – The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

See some amazing handmade artists’ books – including my 3D printed books “MANUAL” and “Wm. S.” The Complete Works of William Shakespeare at Abecedarian Gallery at 910 Santa Fe Drive in Denver’s Santa Fe Arts District curated by Alicia Bailey.  The show opens This Friday November 7.

Garry Winogrand at the Met

New York ca.1962 - Garry  Winogrand

New York ca.1962 – Garry Winogrand

Garry Winogrand produced numerous iconic images in his chaotic career and they can be seen are among all the others in the show of his oeuvre at The Metropolitan  Museum in NYC (through September 21, 2014.) It is a big show and must have been a monumental undertaking for the curators.  It is hard to imagine a more prolific shooter than Winogrand and people love to write about him  reciting the statistics of how many pictures he shot, how many he never even developed, etc, etc.

From the Museum’s website: “Dying suddenly at the age of 56, he left behind proof sheets from his earlier years that he had marked but never printed, as well as approximately 6,600 rolls of film (some 250,000 images) that he had never seen, more than one-third of which he had never developed at all; these rolls of film were developed after his death.”

Having seen the show I walked away with my head spinning , partly from the quality of his work and partly from the statistics.  Truman Capote famously said about Jack Kerouac’s work, “That’s not writing, it’s typing.”  And I will adapt that to say this about Winogrand’s work: “That’s not photography, that’s editing.”  When a person produces that many exposures and that many great pictures it is a monumental undertaking to sort out the ones to frame and hang.  It is often said that Winogrand didn’t edit his work but asked curators to make the selections.  He was too busy shooting, or perhaps his trigger finger was too tired.

In any case, I recommend seeing the show as a way to better understand Winogrand’s work, his troubled personality, and the stupendous accomplishment of the curators that sifted through the wheat and chaff to make the selections.  Winogrand deserves his exalted reputation, but the curators’ accomplishment in pulling together a great show from all that stuff should get equal credit for making the show superb.

Jay Maisel: New York in the 50’s

Jay Maisel NY in the 50s cover

Jay Maisel is known for his lush color images of the world, but his newest book is black and white photographs of New York in the 1950’s. He has been prowling New York capturing the pulse of the city longer than most photographers have been alive. He is still out there photographing New York with the same enthusiasm today.

He writes….“I have been shooting New York for over 60 years now. And though I have achieved age, I can safely say I have never made my way to maturity so I have never been jaded or bored. I think all this is due to the grittiness and hectic quality of the city, you never capture it, it captures you.

His New York in the 50’s book is a wonderful counterpoint to his gorgeous color work. These insightful black and whites evoke times gone by without sentimentality but with sensitivity. It is a really great book. You can order it on his website:

The Great Fredini

The Great Fredini

The Great Fredini with his scanner and one of his Makerbots

The Great Fredini has created a 3D printed model of Coney Island’s historic Luna Park.  This first came to my attention in 2013 through his Kickstarter campaign to fund the project  – and scan supporters to populate Luna Park.

Since I was deep into using 3D printing for my Ascent Project I was fascinated and wanted to support it and be scanned.  Lisa and I visited The Great Fredini at his Manhattan scanning studio and had a great time with him.  He made 3 scans of Lisa and I together.  Fred created his own “Scan-a-Rama” scanning system and a great workflow to be able to scan lots of people fairly quickly

Fredini's Scans - Bill's prints

Fredini’s Scans – Bill’s prints

The artist’s reception for the show of his Luna Park is Sunday July 6th 2014 from 2-6pm at The Coney Island Museum 108 Surf Avenue in Coney Island (duh!)  We plan to be there live and in 3D.

The Art of War

A classic of ancient Chinese literature Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” takes a new form in my 3D printed edition. This 3D printed book is 5″ x 3.875″ x 1.125″ printed in translucent PLA resin and contains the text of “The Art of War” on a USB flash drive and plastic toy soldiers.  There is a profile of a toy soldier wielding a bayoneted rifle debossed on the front cover, and the my signature is 3D printed on the bottom of the “pages.”  The flash drive also is signed, numbered and dated.  Like my other books, this one cannot be read without destroying it.



You can read more about this classic book and the author on Wikipedia   From the wikipedia text: “The book is not only popular among military theorists, but has also become increasingly popular among political leaders and those in business management. Despite its title, The Art of War addresses strategy in a broad fashion, touching upon public administration and planning. The text outlines theories of battle, but also advocates diplomacy and cultivating relationships with other nations as essential to the health of a state.” 

I was pleased to see that the historic Chinese form of a book is quite different from what we recognize to be a book today.


ancient bamboo book of Art-of-War

Artists Book Cornucopia V

A great show of contemporary artist’s books at Abecedarian Gallery in at 910 Santa Fe St. in Denver includes my 3D printed book “Wm. S. – The Complete Works of William Shakespeare” The opening is Friday April 18th until 8pm for the Third Friday Art Walk.

The online catalog is a great way to see the fantastic range of superb books being shown.