Digital Adventures in Contemporary Craft

While crafting may still – somewhat unfairly – have connotations of antiquity, homeliness and twee domesticity – the Lab Craft touring exhibition opening its Yorkshire leg this week  proves there’s more to crafting than doilies and crochet.

Lab Craft: Digital Adventures in Contemporary Craft will showcase crafted items made either wholly or partially using digital technologies.

 Bravais Armchair Lazerian Liam Hopkins 2010

Source: Photo Nick Moss

Bravais Armchair Lazerian Liam Hopkins 2010

The Crafts Council touring exhibition, curated by Max Fraser, has been designed by maker Tomoko Azumi. It includes work from designers including Tord Boontje, Michael Eden, Gareth Neal, Timorous Beasties and Nina Tolstrup in disciplines including textiles, ceramics, furniture, jewellery, glass and  lighting.

Assa Table Loop Light, Assa Ashuach 2010

Source: Photo Nick Moss

Assa Table Loop Light, Assa Ashuach 2010

The beautiful range of pieces on show proves that ‘craft’ and ‘digital’ are far from mutually exclusive. While some argue that the ‘humanness’ is what makes craft-objects unique, new technologies are used in a highly original and innovative way through means such as rapid prototyping, laser-cutting, laser-scanning and digital printing.

Babel Vessel ,1 Michael Eden 2010, Nylon with Mineral Coating

Source: Photo Nick Moss

Babel Vessel ,1 Michael Eden 2010, Nylon with Mineral Coating

For instance, materials can be etched and cut from computer controlled lasers and milling machines, and 3D printing technology has been used to create objects three-dimensionally printed from a bed of nylon powder.

Digital Shibori, Melanie Bowles 2010, Silk Organza

Source: Photo Nick Moss

Digital Shibori, Melanie Bowles 2010, Silk Organza

The endearing slip-of-the-hand errors in handcrafting, too, can be translated into the digital world, with new technologies randomly generating shapes form sound waves and movement.

Shine, Geoffrey Mann 2010, Bronze and Silver Plate

Source: Photo Nick Moss

Shine, Geoffrey Mann 2010, Bronze and Silver Plate

Lab Craft will run from 1 December – 20 January 2012 at The Gallery at The Civic, Hanson Street, Barnsley S70

Woven Wood, Gary Allson and Ismini Samanidou 2010, Oak

Source: Photo Nick Moss

Woven Wood, Gary Allson and Ismini Samanidou 2010, Oak

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