Digital Chinese Whispers

Digital Chinese whispers explores the translation of a traditional making process to digital fabrication. The experiment uses an iterative process as a device to explore the relationship between an artifact and its material. In this case, clay throwing and 3D printing were combined to create a new and exciting process. Throwing clay is one of the most hands on and skill dependent forms of making. Digital fabrication on the other hand is automated and can be completed with minimal knowledge of the process. Although ceramics are often seen to have a more premium finish than plastics, 3D printing, like all other forms of fabrication has its own characteristics which should be celebrated. Scanning and printing repeatedly allows for a form of digital evolution. Each process has its own glitches and idiosyncrasies which is then translated through iterations.

We have certain expectations of what characteristics materials will lend a form. What happens when we break it? Reproducing an artifact in another material often drastically changes the impact it has on the user.

Having a material in front of you that you can mold, change, shape, and reshape with real time and real-world feedback simply does not exist in the digital world. Similarly, the ability that digital methods have to instantly analyze and reproduce with immense accuracy is astonishing and unchallenged. Combining the two opposing methods was full of potential.

Altering parameters of scanners and printers provided a wider scope of results and gave glimpses of what may come from repeating the process multiple times. The more abstract outcomes often resulted from faster print settings and lower resolution scans as things were picked up or missed which gave the object the chance to evolve. Even the most subtle changes of texture or material between prints made you revalue the whole artifact. Furthering these experiments, I would delve deeper into the curious world of materiality and exploring the relationship between artifacts and their material.

New Making

Intertwined Threads and Materials

During this course, my work was strongly inspired by weaving patterns and basketry making. By using colour threads and copper wire I was able explore original patterns for unique structures, which I then made using laser cutter, plasma cutter and 3D printer. 

I began my research process by looking at pottery and ceramics. I was fascinated by creative and unique forms that can be created with this craft. 3D ceramics by Oliver van Herpt were quite innovative, because his work is focused on the development of a new technique for 3D printing medium and large-sized ceramics. By changing the settings of the 3D printer, the textures, surfaces, shapes and sizes can be varied. 

I was interested in combining 3D printing and/or laser cutting with a traditional handcraft. This inspired me to create more intriguing shapes for pottery and ceramics. I then chose a form I thought was the most successful and 3D printed it. By using Meshmixer I created a ‘fake glitch’ in order to then sew up the ‘glitched’ part of the model. That first attempt of sewing up a space within the object encouraged me to test weaving on 3D printed pieces.

As I continued my exploration of pottery and ceramics, I realised that processes such as creating molds and slip casting would be very time consuming. Which is why I decided to change my making approach. I looked into weaving and basketry patterns as well as Hybrid Basketry by Amit Zoran in which the designer uses 3D printed structures to explore new ways of advancing this traditional hand craft practice. 

I came up with many ideas and sketches of frames that I would weave around with colour threads and copper wire. I wanted to make my designs practical and also encouraging me to experiment with new ways of weaving a flexible form. For instance, the spiky ends of the frame would be used to hook on the thread, while holes would help with holding the wire in place and preventing it from sliding from side to side.

I chose the forms that I thought would balance freedom of exploration and practicality well and used Fusion 360 to create construction frames for my weaving designs.

My first results of 3D prints weren’t successful, but after adjusting some of the printing properties I manufactured all of my CAD designs in approximately 7 hours. I came to conclusion, that this way of producing parts is too time consuming and decided to try some of the alternative machinery. 

I used laser cutter as well as plasma cutter, both of which worked nicely with my designs. I had to simplify some of the CAD files for the plasma cutter, but in the end I was pleased with the results.

Most of the weaving with copper was done by hand without any pliers, which was challenging. I learned that the hooks do ensure an easier weaving process and leave a lot of room for creative pattern exploration. In comparison to acrylic and 3D printed frames I found it more satisfying to work with plasma cut mild steel ones. The final object ended up having a more pleasing overall feeling in the hand because of the extra weight. It was also very flexible and resilient. On the other hand the acrylic parts were easier to manipulate and bend, while the 3D printed part with the hooks was too fragile to stretch or rotate.

Testing flexibility
Final design
New Making Projects

Experiments with concrete and 3D printing

How can I challenge the material properties of an old media? In this case, how can I take an ancient material like concrete – used extensively by the Romans – and test the boundaries of what is conceivably possible? Initial thoughts drove me to where I have seen concrete used before, particularly in building construction and the use of rebar to create reinforced concrete. The way in which steel and concrete support each other and cancel the others weakness shows why it is important for there to be amalgamations of material. Concrete has a relatively low tensile strength, but when joined with steel – which has excellent ductility – the concrete structure then has the tensile strength of steel within.

With this in mind, I considered how it could be possible to take concrete, and create forms which shouldn’t really be made with it. How could I take a particular aspect of one material and combine it with another so they are both supportive and dependant on each other? 3D printing ‘skeletons’ (or frames) is a great way to generate quick, complex and delicate forms. On the other hand, concrete is used in its masses as tough, strong, building blocks to establish towers which loom over cities. When combined we get objects which are fragile yet stiff, convoluted yet solid. The idea seems paradoxical yet interesting.

I made some test pieces which would give an indication of how both concrete and 3D printed skeletons would combine. I printed out a simple sheet of PLA with 5mm² holes in a grid pattern. Having holes makes the form much quicker to print. Dipping the PLA in fine aggregate concrete for different times – 3 seconds, 5 seconds, 10 seconds, 10 seconds with mixing – had changed adhering effects on the plastic, although not much of a difference. In each case, the holes were filled and ‘fleshed’ out, but the smoothest and best result came from mixing. I printed a Meshmixer version of the Stanford bunny which also had a lattice effect, but with holes around 10mm². This time, the gaps were too large for concrete to fill, resulting in only the frame being coated.

The first fully closed form to be made was a simple cylindrical cup shape. As with before, I used Meshmixer to lower the resolution and turn the solid piece to a mesh-like frame before 3D printing. Adhering concrete filled all the holes and gave it a solid, complete skin.

To test the boundaries, I created a helix form in fusion and then used meshmixer to turn the stl into a frame, then printed it. This form was a challenge as it consisted of compound curves and overhangs – neither of which are commonly possible with only concrete. Using gloves, I mixed the concrete by hand, then spread it over the 3D printed frame, resulting in a complex form made from concrete.

I’m not sure what the real life practicalities of this method of making is, but initial findings show the concept works and so can be pushed even further.

New Making Projects

Exploring possibilities with the 3D printer

Although in many ways this course was for me an exploration into combing materials to create new structures, new forms and new textures, it was also  about exploring the possibilities and limitations of the 3D printer. 

Before this course I had never attempted to use a 3D printer, its rigid style of formatting data into a physical thing was unsettling. 

I had always believed that the 3D printer lacked the organic and natural flare of craftsmanship. 

During the exploration period of this course I found myself drawn to the idea of natural forms and organic shapes which were closely inspired by artists such as Antony Gormley and Margaret O’Rorke who had played with this idea and transcended it through there use of sculpture. 

Antony Gormley
Margaret O’Rorke

From being inspired by this I then discovered the possibilities of organic shapes and forms that I too could create using 3D software. 

I converted simple primitive shapes into their wire frame version which I immediately took note of its similarities to a cell like structure. 

It was this organic scaffolding that I believed to be too complicated for the 3D printer to create without using support material. 

The slight over-hangings of the shape itself was also a worry of mine, would the print fail? Would the PLA droop down causing residing gaps which would deform the shape? 

Many Failed Attempts

After many attempts at printing this simple form I began to notice the changes that occurred with each iteration of the print. Although all attempts were programmed on the same file, not one iteration was the same, they were all unique. 

This could be for multiple reasons but I  believe that there is something organic and natural about this event which I believe to be quite interesting. 

To further enhance these already organic prints I combined it with a plaster mixture to explore the ways the two materials would react to one another.

The plaster in its most liquid state merely leaked through the holes of the wire frame and created a puddle beneath the structure. However as the plaster began to thicken it linked itself on to the frame creating  a thin coating which can be seen taking shape of the actual frame it self. 

With the combination of 3D print and a traditional practice I was able to further explore the possibilities of creating an organic form. 

New Making

Generating Architecture

I began with an idea of structures, architecture, and computer-generated forms. While the term “Hybrid Materialities” (as the assignment was titled) might suggest something essentially material, my interest quickly changed from the immediately tangible to the again, more structural. To me, it became about understanding the 3D-printing process to the end of more efficiently being able to implement it into my own design process; to see what could be automated, refined, or streamlined. 

Initially, given my inexperience with the tools, I looked at concepts varying from fashion and the likes of Iris van Herpen, to the massively extensive work of Neri Oxman. What I ultimately found most inspiring (also given the scope of the assignment) was this idea of varying structures and I was particularly inspired by a NASA-hosted competition calling for conceptual 3D-printed habitats. What structures and conceptual forms can be inspired from this indeed very futuristic tool? How could the device be used in earlier parts of the design process (concept generation) rather than towards the final stages? Surely enough, the competition demanded more thorough analysis and proposals. Yet the very idea given by NASA of how a different aesthetic can be generated, or shaped, from the tooling that the printer offers, is interesting. The 3D-printing revolution has been anticipated for some time however its effective use is still limited. In the design process, its actual use is indeed very effective within the rapid prototyping stages, yet I wondered, given the tone of the assignment, whether it could fit elsewhere in the design process equally well. 

I began by sketching out a selection of shapes. Very few parameters existed at this point in terms of how they looked and even in terms of their probability. My idea was to make shapes, or “typologies” as I ended up calling them, that left the 3D-printer with having to “fill in the gaps”, or generate support structures, to use the more technical term. Within the popular CAD-program Rhino I interpreted the loose sketches and tried to stretch the limits of actual probability further. By leaving obvious cavities in between groups of objects, I envisioned how new structures would generate, signifying movements or patterns within say, a building or a structure. Going back to the source of inspiration, being the Mars architecture competition by NASA, one could imagine using these artefacts as guiding visuals.

After making a broad range of objects in CAD, I exported each one separately to then import them into Cura (the software for printing on Ultimaker 3D-printers). Initially, I had planned to evaluate the generated support structure back in 3D, counting polygons etc., however I discovered that wasn’t possible. Instead, I opted to evaluate them visually. Criteria for evaluating the shapes were quite informal, meaning I basically looked at them and analysed them visually. What had happened to the shape? Why did the support structure look like that? As the technician in the laser cutting workshop pointed out to me, the groups of shapes ordered in space, going against gravity as it were, would generate far more structures. All but left for the designer is then to interpret them, and assign them meaning.

I find that the patterns created by the printer is interesting from the perspective of spatial design and say, urban design. The models signal movement and ways of creating a unison structure or form through techniques that appear intuitive and logical. The structures are optimal in many ways. For future work I would like to see what this aesthetic, or conceptual design language, could potentially look when applied to actual product design.


Tensions with old and new…

(Final artifact)

For this project, we looked at how 3D fabrication and traditional craft methods could be combined to purpose a new and experimental materiality from it.

Initial thoughts and ideas…

(image 1) CNC cut Half-lapped Dovetail Joint in scrap wood

I decided to explore the theme of having a traditional craft, and then experimenting with how that could then be 3D printed using a variety of machines. I Found Japanese joinery of particular interest as it takes a great amount of skill and craftsmanship to create the intricate details and precision that is required for buildings or other structures. There is also an aesthetic as much as there is a function, there needs to be strength but equally a small amount of flexibility for the joints to move should there ever be an earthquake.

(image 2) Half-lapped Dovetail Joint – 3D printed

The images, show my attempt at using both CNC and 3D printing to create a half-lapped dove tail joint. I wanted to explore how two modern technologies through the method of traditional craft could combine together as one joint. I used Fusion 360 for the modelling and had no issues, until it came to the CNC machine. The CNC is limited to how much it can cut away due to its X, Y axis and round drill bits. This creates curves (radius depending on size of drill bit) and so it meant I could not fuse the two processes as one without there being some small curves.

(image 3) Curves can been seen in the corners
(image 4) Fusion 360 japanese joinery ready for 3D printing

Since realising the CNC machine is limited for what I wanted to try and achieve, I decided to experiment with some more complex forms to then 3D print.

(image 5) finished cross joint

I decided from here to avert my attention elsewhere as I felt slightly limited with my ambitions and the limitations CNC for woodcutting presented.

(image 6) Plasma Metal cutting stainless steel and 3D printing combined

As I adverted my attention away from Japanese Joinery, I started to look at how metal can be worked, and what is often considered possible in terms of size and scale on such an industrial piece of machinery.

I decided to further experiment with this juxtaposition of intricate pieces (joinery) and how that can be assembled in new ways whilst operating with robust machinery such as the Plasma cutter. I used AutoCad for the shapes and then proceeded to use the CNC plasma cutter.

Initially, my first experiments failed and fell through the gaps from the force. Still, I wanted to see how small and fine the detail could be until I achieved my goal (see image 6). however, I was still limited with fixing the pieces together as I had initially plasma cut the central circle piece out of stainless steel. There were no grooves for the pieces to slot into and so I commenced my ideas of how to hold the two together as follows:

  • weaving thread around each metal piece
  • gluing
  • sawing
  • soldering

None of these worked for a variety of reasons- the weaving was not strong and the pieces did not stay in place, gluing metal, even with super glue serves no purpose, sawing sort of worked…however it was extremely inaccurate, solder does not stick to steel as it turns out.

One other exploration I wanted to develop was how things can be joined but without the help of welding or combining two things together as one.

As sawing was my best option, I then thought about how other printing methods may just so happen to be extremely useful. As the steel is only 1mm thick, it meant that in order to create a slot, the other material also needed to be 1mm thick.

(image 7) TinkerCAD 3D printed disks

By using the 3D printer I did not need to create an infill due to the thinness of the steel structure being 1mm thick.

Final artifacts

(image 8)

Once I was successful with slotting the pieces into the 3D printed disk, I could then explore materiality and further investigate methods of weaving whilst using natural materials seen in image 8. A mix of wool roven was twisted and woven in and out of the metal piece then I secured the wool with hemp thread, which is a tough thread unlike twine that I used earlier on in the combining process. I used a back stitch technique that not only secures the wool but also creates linear lines up the sides, defining the structure.

(image 9) delicate ultra fine handmade paper

Still keeping the structure, I still wanted to investigate the relationship of how something robust and strong such as metal, can be interlaced with a material as delicate as fine handmade paper. It was difficult to pierce the paper with a needle but managed to successfully thread it through the small holes are the ends.

For me these two final artifacts are extremely valuable to my broadening of how traditional craft and modern 3D fabrication techniques can be combined to create something new.

New Making

Folding Fabrications

In the New Making course I was exploring digital fabrication using hybrid materials. At the beginning of the course, we were asked to choose either a traditional craft practice or a material and explore either by looking at the hand or machine techniques or processes that are involved with it. We were also asked to investigate how it can be combined with digital fabrication techniques such as 3D printing, CNC milling and laser cutting. For this project, I chose to explore origami.

Origami is a traditional Japanese craft of paper folding. The idea is to transform the flat sheet of material into a finished 3D sculpture using folding and sculpting techniques. Originally, the structures were achieved through trial and error method. However, nowadays it is possible to create complex forms using mathematics to produce pre-engineered crease patterns. 

In theory, any flat material could be used in making origami, although the only requirements are that the material needs to be flexible and it should hold the crease and remain its shape after folding.

I decided to choose this craft because I’m very fascinated by the idea of transforming laminar materials into complex 3D structures.

Initially, I experimented with a variety of materials, which included cartridge paper, tissue paper, polypropylene and textiles. The aim was to try making a simple paper crane structure from the materials, without the use of any other fabrication techniques either than folding the material by hand.

As a result, I found out that the polypropylene sheet that I used was too rigid to fold comfortably, and the textiles and tissue paper were too soft, that they couldn’t retain the folds and the overall shape of the structure.

Subsequently, I became interested in the idea of manipulating fabric using digital fabrication, specifically 3D printing. I began thinking of ways to make support for folded textiles and how to make them retain its shape.

Then I tried to use a hot glue gun as a form of a simplified 3D printer to create the support for origami, as both methods create solid plastic material, though hot glue gun method is much faster and more energy-efficient. The accuracy of the hot glue gun, however, was much lower than if I were to use a 3D printer because the nozzle is larger and the material is extruded at a faster rate. Even then, I still got some useful insights on how the fabric would behave when 3D printed and what the distance should be between each block.

After that, I created multiple 3D models of origami crease patterns using Autodesk Fusion 360 software and then prepared the files for print in Cura. I let the printer do a couple of layers, paused it to add the fabric, and then resumed the print. This way the fabric is trapped within the 3D printed structures. As a result, I got a 3D printed enhanced fabric that is now easily foldable into origami shapes.

To further develop the project I explored 3D printing on pre-stretched textile material. However, all the prints were not as successful as I hoped as I could not get the fabric stretched enough so it wouldn’t be moved by the nozzle when printed. Even still, the fabric did bend when it was released.

The next step would be to further develop the idea of self-folding origami structures.

New Making

Exploring Dialogues using Material Flexibility

In my task to explore hybrid materials, I decided to focus on making use of acrylic and string. My task explored the creation of hybrid materials whilst incorporate flexibility into a material which is normally rigid and fragile. I then built upon my previous sewing experiences and use sewing as a joining method to explore and experiment with.

I chose to work with acrylic due to its natural rigidity, and its ability to create contrast through laser cutting which incorporates flexibility into an otherwise brittle material. With laser cutting, I created living hinges which allows for a large variety of movement based on the selected cuts. Using the laser cutter also allowed me to create the necessary holes used for sewing which would normally be created by a leather punch.

I then began experimenting with combining the materials in unique and interesting ways which create intriguing dialogues between the duality of movement and constraints. I the first range of pieces which I produced had a limited the range of movement and the complexity was low. Hence I moved on to create pieces which incorporated more dynamic movement through a larger number of combined components. 

It proved to be a tricky process to sew the pieces together as the hinges had a natural tendency to lay flat, whereas I was attempting to restrict their movement by forcing them into odd shapes. It took many attempts of trial and error to create the desired stitching within the pieces, whilst ensuring that I do no exert too much pressure on the hinges.

I also created pieces which captured the movement of the hybrid materials and allow the user to understand the material’s flexibility simply through the material’s static shape. Therefore, I created this structure which is sewn to an acrylic base with a living hinge top piece which highlights the multi-directional flexibility of the hinges without requiring physical touch.

The exploration of Hybrid Materials over the past 6 weeks have been filled with my own almost child-like enthusiasm when I was able to interact with materials in ways I could not imagine. It has provided me with valuable experiences in research, brainstorming as well as hands on prototyping. Although the results of my Hybrid Materials do not currently have any real-life applications, the number of possibilities for further exploration seem endless and certainly could have real life applications in the near future. 

New Making

Sewing through Glitches

In the first six weeks of the New Making course, we were tasked to combine a form of digital fabrication with a traditional crafting method. I chose to combine 3D printing, specifically relating to printed glitches, with sewing.

Initially, I tried different ways to combine the two mediums. I did this by either pre-printing holes into the print and then by using a candle to heat up either a needle or a piece of metal wire and melting a hole through the already formed plastic. 

For this exploration, I took inspiration from Matthew Plummer Fernandez. Fernandez takes objects and uses a 3D scanner to digitize them. He then digitally repairs the mesh and prints the finished product. This work explores the transformation from a physical to a digital and back to a physical object. 

Using this as an inspiration, I 3D scanned a theatrical pin badge. I then used MeshMixer to reduce the resolution of the scan by reducing the triangle count. In my continued exploration, I have used the reduced resolution version of the scan. 

To ‘fix’ the 3D printed glitch through sewing, I looked at different ways to stitch over the eyes of the pin. For my first try I pre-printed holes and used thin black thread to sew over the gaps. When sewing in a straight the thread would not stay taught, therefore going in different directions was more successful. The aesthetic created by sewing over the eyes has radically changed the mood of the piece. It is no longer a replica of the original pin but has become a new piece in its own right. 

To develop the use of sewing over the eyes, I looked into different stitching techniques. I looked into cross-stitch and tried it with unusual materials. I stitched through a piece of wire mesh using thick wool. Placing this behind the eyes created a very different aesthetic to the previous try. 

Finally, I created a print of the pin which included thin scaffolding over the eyes. This was then used to weave through to fully cover the eye area. I first tried using thick wool, but it was too strong and broke the delicate strips. It worked best with thin thread that could be evenly weaved through all of the gaps. I think this is my most successful experiment because rather than just adding thread to a 3D print, I have actually adapted the print to allow for the sewing to be effective.


Beneath the surface

Exploring the combination of digital fabrication with glass making

Frank Ren

In this project, I apply topology optimization and parametric design to explore the possibility of digital fabrication in product design. Then I use 3D printing and some traditional glass techniques to experiment and produce products。

Through the smooth glass surface, we can see the incredible structure brought by the digital design that flies in layers.

Firstly, I built a normal column in rhino and generate a triangle mesh. After that, I set a series of supports and forces with the material I wanted to use in the product developing.

Secondly, I use a plug-in software called Ameba to evolve the model. This app applies topology optimization to generate random structure under the restriction of supporters and forces that users set. However, the result of that is often an imperfect surface with many non-manifold edges, and it took me time to repair the mesh.

Thirdly, I use Meshmixer to further improve the model. I filled holes and polished the objects. I attempted to reduce the number of protrusions and amplitude of protrusions to minimize the amount of supporter used in 3D printing, in order to speed up the printing process.

After I got the 3D printed model, I went to the casting workshop to cast. The process was quite complicated. Simply speaking, the technique takes the advantage of the difference of melting points between plastic, plaster and glass to transform an object from a plastic form to a glass form.

After melting the plastic mould, I cleaned the plaster mould, then placed the prepared funnel and the measured glass together as shown in the diagram and put them in the furnace

Glass moulded after up to a week of firing and cooling. I removed the plaster and cleaned the model.

The most import step was polishing. Glass is very fragile, so I had to be careful.

The final output looks like a crystal!

The glass is delicate but also fragile, it is prone to accidents during the manufacturing process and causes it to be damaged. I was inspired by the traditional Chinese Kintsukuroi process to repair cracks with silver materials.

New Making Projects

A Stitch in Hyperbolic Space

I find the hybrid materiality aspect of this course fascinating, even if it was a little hard to get my head around at first. I was really interested combining both traditional and modern techniques and experimenting with their outcomes.

I knew I wanted to experiment with crochet as it is one of my most favoured crafts, but also because it is one of the only traditional handicrafts that remains unmechanised due to the complexity of its stitches. I love the juxtaposition between this craft in particular and digital fabrication.

I originally wanted to work with cork as I love how versatile material it is, but it ended up just crumbling and the more reinforced cork I could get was unsuitable for laser cutting so I decided to experiment instead with 3D printing and laser cut MDF & acrylic.

I began working with the 3D printed shapes, experimenting with winding and slipping the yarn round the shapes but the fastening was never secure so I settled with attaching the yarn to itself surrounding the shape with a slip stitch and a single crochet.

For the purposes of clarity, I refer to crochet in the American terminology as I feel it is the more clear naming system. British terminology refers to the number of loops pulled through on the hook to create the stitch; whereas US terminology refers to the number of loops on the hook at the beginning of the stitch. So US single crochet (SC) it is the equivalent of the UK double crochet (DC), US double crochet (DC) is the equivalent of UK triple crochet (TC) and so on.

I first began with this shape, placing single crochet stitches on the 3D printed frame and moving around the shape. Then I wound yarn in and around the posts. I found it quite interesting. It reminded me of an old style coffee table my gran used to have. Minus the looped yarn round the legs of course.

I continued with my exploration of the 3D shapes with the single ring. I again attached the yarn with a slip stitch and enclosed it completely in single crochet stitches. I continued in a round with this shape rather than slip stitching the end of the row to the beginning and then beginning a new row. Instead, I continued in a round without stopping, drawing the shape outward to create a bowl-like shape. I liked this as it was quite similar to the way a 3D printer creates a shape.

The 3rd 3D printed shape I created with very small sections so used a thread to crochet in and around the form which, as I crocheted I thought it looked like the centre of a flower so decided to crochet single, double and triple crochet stitches to form petals and created a 2nd layer of petal like shapes in front with double crochet. Due to the fine nature of the thread, the finished experiment was not as effective as I would have liked.

After experimenting with the 3D printed forms, I began playing with the laser cut shapes. Again I found attachment of the yarn needed to be around the object in order to properly secure it. For each shape I stitched around the form, trying variations of stitches to create differing shapes shown below including single crochet, half double crochet, double crochet, treble crochet, double treble crochet and puff stitch (five double crochet stitches in the same stitch and closed together with a slip stitch.

I preferred the look and feel of the laser cut MDF in conjunction with the crochet yarn to the acrylic, however it was brittle by nature of the thickness, and by laser cutting the thin material it weakened it further; causing some parts to snap. The laser cut acrylic was much more sturdy and supportive throughout my experiments so I experimented further with the acrylic pieces than I did with the MDF ones.

No matter which material I used, it always gave me a solid structure to stitch around and added a secure base to the crochet which would have otherwise been limp even when done in the tightest stitches.

One of the most interesting experiments was when I decided to create an elongated tube off acrylic stars, I chose to use a smaller star in the centre and used single crochet to keep the resulting fabric tight together. I especially liked the way the shape of the fabric changed when the stars were twisted. It’s a lovely piece to look at.

During my explorations I became fascinated by the work of Christine and Margaret Wertheim who created the crochet coral reef. Unfortunately I cannot link any of their images without paying a fair usage fee however their work can be viewed here.

Their work concerns a response to global warming and the bleaching of the coral reefs using crochet to form hyperbolic space. Hyperbolic space is commonly seen in coral, sea slugs, lettuce, the way the brain is formed and other such natural occurrences. For centuries mathematicians have struggled to recreate the shape until in a project in 1997, Dr Diana Taimina discovered how to recreate this geometry in the medium of crochet.

The Wertheim twins took this discovery and used it to create the organic shapes of coral in yarn. I was deeply inspired by the work of the two sisters and it prompted me to finish my work in this flavour using the hyperbolic space shape.

In this part of the final artefact I attached three of the experiments adding the hyperbolic space theme through curls running along the sides of the yellow triangle.

This main piece of the final artefact was created with one of the large acrylic circles stitching loops from chains and working in a round in the same way I created the blue ‘bowl’ I worked on this one completely freehand, with no plan and no uniform stitches. One of the things that the Wertheim sisters noted was that their mistakes, missed stitches and freehand work created more organic and real looking work and I carried that into this piece.