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