3D Printing, Janne Kyttanen & New Inspirations

Sometimes it happens that life delivers inspiration at exactly the right time without me even actively looking. I really like when this happens, since it feels like someone switched on a light bulb in my brain and the jungle of ideas in my head that could make up a new project suddenly magically unsnarls.

Today this Aha-Moment was given to me by Janne Kyttanen who decided to follow me on Twitter. I had never heard of him and I looked him up… and I was stunned. He is a designer, based in the Netherlands, who is very much interested in 3D printing. He started to investigate and work with this technology since the mid 90’s and his portfolio is very impressive. From his designs, over to founding his own business ‘3D Systems‘ to collaborations with shoe-designers, interior architects, jewellery artists (like Ted Noten) etc. Janne really likes to dip into multiple design disciplines. A fact that I find highly refreshing and inspirational.

Screen Shot 2014-03-15 at 9.14.27 AMJanne Kyttanen Designs

Andreia Chaves invisible shoes, 2011Janne Kyttanen in collaboration with Andreia Chaves, Invisible Shoes, 2011

Screen Shot 2014-03-15 at 9.21.30 AMJanne Kyttanen in collaboration with Ted Noten, Fashionista Necklace, 2009

There are quite a few things that kept my mind busy lately. One thing that I have been thinking about for quite a while is that I would like to have my artistic work run in a new direction again and 3D printing is one technique that fascinates me. Back when I was still living in Shanghai, I purchased a 3D printer from Makible, a start-up company based in Hong Kong that offers a very price-tag friendly 3D printer, the MakiBox. At the time when I purchased the printer, I was not aware that they were just starting of (completely my misunderstanding) and that it would take some time for the product to be finished, so I could not yet try to work with a 3D printer. But some things are worth the wait and now, almost two years later, it seems like my MakiBox is finally in the post and I should receive it any time now. I so cannot wait!

Another thing is that recently I feel the urge to explore other art and design fields. For the last ten years I have mainly been working in jewellery and as of lately I feel like the small scale almost seems to ‘suffocate’ me from now and then. In order to get my mind free, I find it helps to work big sometimes or do something completely unrelated. (This is also one reason why I decided not to go to see the Schmuck 2014 exhibition in Munich this time.) Right now, I would love to indulge in making chandeliers and lamps and I would like to dive into sculptural art.

But to get back to 3D printing… As mentioned before, I am fascinated by the technique but I find it very controversy at the same time. A lot of artists have dipped into the field already, like jeweler Arthur Hash or the design team from Nervous System and I admire their work a lot. But for me, I love making things by hand, it forms an essential part of my designing process. Using a technology that is solely based on a machine fabricating an idea might not be enough for my bench-experience and it also raises a lot of questions as to how the making process in art and craft should and can look like. Does the artificial making process ‘water down’ the quality of work, since a 3D printer might soon be a house-hold stable in every home for everyone to use? Will art soon be something that every person can do by the mouse-click? Can suddenly everyone be an artist? Or will in the end the artistic mind take over and even in such an easy, approachable technology, the creative idea will determine the quality and level of the work? I assume the latter will be the case. In order to create objects, one needs to have a mind that can think accordingly but the question of whether art should actually be made by the artist and not necessarily a machine will remain. Also, is the sole idea of a piece of work enough? Individuality might get lost in the machine-making process, uniformity might take over. But then again, this can also be a very interesting approach to a body of work.

Arthur Hash NecklaceArthur Hash, Necklace

Screen Shot 2014-03-15 at 9.39.28 AMNervous System, Kinematics Jewelry in 3D printed nylon.

In fact, this approach is one point that I am quite interested in at the moment. I have a few ideas turning around the symbiosis of hand-made and 3D printed structures. I think that combining two different forms of making, in their process and the choice of material, will add a very interesting contrast to my future pieces. Another thing that I will add is a new topic that the work will turn around. In the spirit of contrast, that has always been a major motivator in my work, I have recently looked into the relationship of nature and humans again. This is an issue that has always been in the back of my mind. (Have a look at my ‘Booming Blooming‘ and ‘Globalores‘ series.) In my opinion, the modern human primarily takes from nature and does not give much back. There are major man-made natural catastrophes happening all around the globe, gene-manipulation in plants and animals becomes bigger and bigger etc. … and all in the name of consumerism without people thinking about the consequences. What will happen if humans ‘win’ and nature is gone at some point? Will we have to fabricate nature too? Will nature be a reminiscent of the past with all those new technologies ‘improving’ the natural ways of being?

Tech BeeThis image was recently sent to me by my sister-in-law. Will nature and technology work as one or will technology take over nature?

I will see where this path will lead me. It might take a while before I can show some actual finished pieces. Since I have never 3D printed anything before, I am not familiar with any 3D modeling programs. I am good in Illustrator but learning 3D will be a new task that might take a while. If anyone knows of any good, easy-to-learn and free 3D programs, please let me know! I appreciate all the help I can get.

But for now, thank you Janne Kyttanen for following me on Twitter this morning!

I apologize for the length of this post… I hope you made it this far! Until next time…

Thank you for reading!

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‘XinCheJian’ Hacker-Space Shanghai

Yesterday night I was invited to visit the studio of XinCheJian, the first real Hacker-Space/Maker-Space in Shanghai, China. On Wednesdays, they usually host several speakers to come and talk to the community about their projects. Min Lin, the Co-Founder of the space got in touch with me to inquire if I would be happy to give a talk about ProonK at some point too, since she thought that the electronic components being ‘wrapped-up’ in an art & design concept would be a great topic to present. So, I went there with my boyfriend last night to check out the space and see the format of their presentation-nights.

Usually, they try to invite two to three speakers to come and talk but last night, there was only one. A very nice American young man, who was very handy on the guitar, introduced us to the workings and wonders of Apple’s Garage Band. It was an interesting little presentation about the making of music, based on traditional means being introduced to the world of computers. Pretty impressive program actually!

After the presentation, Min Lin gave us a tour around the space, which was seriously impressive! Before I went there, I had no idea about hacker-spaces and how their concepts worked but I felt like having entered paradise! I have to admit that I am a little bit of a fiddling and making geek myself, although my making knowledge in the electronics area is still pretty limited. I learned that XinCheJian also offers workshops for the public to attend on the weekends. I am SO going to test the waters in the near future!

The studio space.

Min Lin also showed us some of the projects some members work/worked on, such as…

…little robots, which are built for a race that takes place every four weeks in the studio…

…a little robot that is connected to a web-cam, showing real-life scenes on the web…

…a moody tree, which frequently tells you to hug and love it more when it starts to feel neglected…

…an arcade machine that is built from a TV screen located in the bottom of the construction and a mirror that reflects the image of the TV screen onto the viewing area…

…a high-tech mouse-trap ‘The Ratmotel’ , which is equipped with a sensor to lock the door once the mouse is in…

…this one made me laugh quite a bit, the ‘Useless Machine’ that once you pushed the switch has a mechanical finger coming up to push it back in the starting position and the game starts all over again…

…a modified e-scooter that has a holder for a smart-phone in the front, which is connected to the machine to have it report to the driver about it’s well-being…

…and finally, for me the highlight of the night, a DIY 3D printer! How awesome is that? For a jeweller this is one of the machines that make me enter heaven! How great would it be to play with a machine like this in my studio and see what kind of things I can create for my artistic practice! Tons of new possibilities opening up in a flash! 😀

Min Lin got me even more amazed when she told me about a HK based company that offers DIY 3D printer kits for about $300+$50 international shipment!! …and there we have another addition to my workshop-wishlist!

The company is called Makibox and next to their awesome 3D printer, the MakiBox A6, they also sell other little really useful gadgets. Check out their website or follow them on Twitter @makible for more info.

When reading through the MakiBox A6 product description, I stumbled over the following:

‘We are just getting started with both the A6 and other devices that will help people build things they need. The next features we will build for the A6 are multi-color printing and plastic recycling, laser cutting and marking, and PCB routing. These new addons for the A6 will turn it into a desktop manufacturing system, not just a 3D printer.’

SERIOUSLY???? When is this going to happen?? I SO CAN’T WAIT!!!!

Another tip Min Lin gave me was to check out the website of ShapeWays, a USA based 3D-printing company, that made my day with the selection of materials they have on offer. Ceramics and Alumide!!! We’ll be in touch soon! 🙂

I guess it is pretty obvious that I went to bed last night with a HUGE smile on my face, dreaming of all the future design-possibilities ahead of me!

If you would like to join my talk at XinCheJian, please come around, possibly on the 18th of April (yet to be confirmed) at 7pm. I guess the studio might have moved to the new location by then, down Wulumuqi Lu, Chang Le Lu. I am pretty excited to see the new space and I can’t wait to attend the workshop with Mitch Altman soon! See you there!

www.proonk.com, www.lisa-juen.com; Please follow my blog or join me on Twitter and Facebook. Thank you!